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Folk Physics for ApesThe Chimpanzee's theory of how the world works$
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Daniel Povinelli

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780198572190

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198572190.001.0001

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Escaping the argument by analogy

Escaping the argument by analogy

Folk Physics for Apes

Daniel J. Povinelli

Steve Giambrone

Oxford University Press

This chapter exposes the logical weakness in assuming that the similarity in the natural behavior of humans and chimpanzees implies a comparable degree of similarity in the mental states which attend and generate that behavior. In short, it formally challenges the argument by analogy. It shows to how the nature of psychological evolution may virtually guarantee that many of the behaviors that we share in common with other species are associated with radically different mental representations. In doing this, it sets the stage for a complementary account (Chapter 12) of how both chimpanzees and humans may use and make tools in similar ways, and yet develop very different understandings of why they produce the effects that they do.

Keywords:   mental states, argument by analogy, natural behavior, tools

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