Progress in the Study of Chimpanzee Recall and Episodic Memory

Charles Menzel

in The Missing Link in Cognition

Published in print February 2005 | ISBN: 9780195161564
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199848386 | DOI:
Progress in the Study of Chimpanzee Recall and Episodic Memory

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This chapter provides philosophical perspective on self-consciousness contributing a historical grounding for modern theories. The chapter assesses the extent to which animals might be self-conscious by applying two epistemological criteria to their behavior: episodic memory and metacognition. In the case of moral responsibility, the chapter asks whether an animal could think back to a past action that was punished and try to make amends if given the opportunity. In the case of epistemic self-improvement, the chapter asks whether animals can notice when they lack sufficient information to solve a problem and proceed to obtain that information. Modern philosophers regarded self-consciousness as marking the fundamental divide between humans and other animals. The central normative tasks assigned to self-consciousness by the moderns have either analogues with animal capacities or components in common with animal capacities. Modern philosophers believed that in self-consciousness they had finally found the key to human uniqueness.

Keywords: self-consciousness; episodic memory; metacognition; moral responsibility; central normative tasks

Chapter.  15518 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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