To Understand a Cat

Methodology and philosophy

| Haifa University
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ISBN 9789027252067 | EUR 105.00 | USD 158.00
 
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ISBN 9789027292094 | EUR 105.00 | USD 158.00
 
To understand a cat: methodology and philosophy rests on the realization that the everyday behavior of a cat (but other animals too) should be understood through a new approach, namely methodological dualism. It appeals to mechanistic explanation models and to mentalistic explanation models. It puts up the methodological idea that these models have to be combined in one theoretical structure according to the scientific game-rules. This approach shows that specific mentalistic explanations are generated from explanation models or schemes, which meet the demands of the scientific games-rules; and it proposes a new theoretical structure called the multi-explanation theory to generate particular theories, which provide us with efficient explanations for behavioral phenomena. The book delves deep into anthropomorphism, and the complex question of whether a cat has consciousness and free will, and examines the intricate relations of the mental, the computational, and the neurophysiological.(Series A)
[Advances in Consciousness Research, 70]  2007.  xviii, 253 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
Preface
ix–xvii
Chapter 1. 'Scientification': Placing anecdotes and anthropomorphism under the umbrella of science as the first step
1
1.1 An ambush for a night moth
1–5
1.2 Some methodological thoughts: Anthropomorphism and anecdotes
5
1.2.1 Scientific observation and anecdotes
5–7
1.2.2 Scientific explanation and anthropomorphism
7–13
1.2.3 A methodological proposal: 'Equal hypotheses testing'
13–15
1.2.4 Mechanistic explanations and mentalistic explanations
15–20
Chapter 2. Anecdotes and the methodology of testing hypotheses
21–22
2.1 The living space of Max the cat
22–24
2.2 Pros and cons of observations of Max the cat
24–29
2.3 Construction and testing of hypotheses from anecdotes
29–32
2.4 Test of the hypothesis that Max ambushed the night moth for his amusement
33–36
2.5 Matching a mentalistic explanation to behavior: the "Principle of New Application"
36–41
Chapter 3. Free will, consciousness, and explanation
43–46
3.1 The methodological status of indicators of private behavior
46–47
3.2 Indicators of free will in Max the cat
48–55
3.3 Discussion of indicators of free will
55–60
3.4 Indicators of free will, consciousness, and explanation
60–70
Chapter 4. The structure of mentalistic theory and the reasons for its use
71–73
4.1 The structure of a theory
73–84
4.2 Why should one use a mentalistic explanation?
84–92
Chapter 5. Three-stage interpretation
93–94
5.1 Three-stage interpretation and the principle of new application
94–102
5.2 Comparison of the three-stage interpretation and other approaches to an explanation for complex behavior
103–105
5.3 Cannot Max's behavior, ultimately, be explained mechanistically, as simple learning?
105–106
5.3.1 Examples of behavioral episodes explained as simple learning processes
106–107
5.3.2 Are learning processes mechanistic or mentalistic?
107–111
5.3.3 An attempt to propose mechanistic explanations for mentalistic behavioral episodes
111–115
Pictures of Max the cat
116–121
Chapter 6. Multi-explanation theory
123
6.1 An explanation model, an empirical test, and a multi-explanation theory
123–128
6.2 Examples from Max's behavior and from psychology
129–133
6.3 Three methodological problems connected to the multi-explanation theory
133–134
6.3.1 The ad hoc explanation problem
134
6.3.2 The inconsistency problem
134–135
6.3.3 The incomparability problem
135–136
6.4 Guidelines for the solution of the three problems
136–137
6.4.1 How to determine a match between an explanation model and a given empirical phenomenon
137–143
6.4.2 How should the explanatory units be organized?
143–145
6.4.3 Do the guidelines help solve the three problems: an ad hoc explanation, inconsistency, and comparison of theories?
145–146
6.5 Multi-explanation theory, giving an explanation, and empirical test
146
6.5.1 Is the multi-explanation theory tested by use of the H-D method?
146–147
6.5.2 Is the explanation offered by the multi-explanation theory similar to the explanation offered in the natural sciences?
147–152
Chapter 7. Establishing multi-explanation theory (A): The mentalistic explanation scheme
153–154
7.1 A model, a mentalistic explanation scheme
154–156
7.1.1 A teleological explanation model and folk psychology
156–158
7.1.2 Teleological explanation and refutation
158–162
7.1.3 What is a suitable explanation scheme?
162–164
7.1.4 A mentalistic explanation model and scientific laws
164–168
7.2.1 "Intentional stance"
168–171
7.2.2 Functional analysis and the status of empirical generalizations in psychology
171–179
Chapter 8. Establishing multi-explanation theory (B): "Methodological dualism"
181–187
8.1 Mental causality
188–190
8.2 Functionalism and multiple realizability
191–195
8.3 The computer and the process of decomposition
195–199
8.4 Reduction
199–202
8.5 Multiple realizability and decomposition – a methodological note
202–204
8.6 Consciousness
204–212
Chapter 9. Methodological dualism and multi-explanation theory in the broad philosophical context
213
9.1 Methodological dualism, "Scientification", explanatory dualism, functionalism, and levels of explanation
213–219
9.2 Multi-explanation theory and other approaches to constructing theories
220–226
9.3 Multi-explanation theory, understanding, explanation, and emergent properties
226–228
9.3.1 Two kinds of explanation (scheme fitting, mechanism discovery) and the mosaic example
228–229
9.3.2 Emergent properties and the mosaic example
229–232
References
233–245
“The book is innovative and unique in its approach of methodological dualism and of multi-explanation theory, which attempt to explain a specific behavior of a cat (and other animals) by an appeal to both mechanistic and mentalistic explanation models. I was particularly impressed by the way this approach is anchored to the thoughtful discussion of attributing consciousness and free will to the cat (Max). The author uses his broad and profound knowledge in the philosophy of science (my expertise) and in the philosophy of mind to develop his outstanding approach. Excellent, interesting, and thought-provoking ideas.”
“Rakover’s thesis calls for the use of a mentalistic language in the study of animal behavior, not as a pragmatic solution to the complexity of the subject matter, but rather as an essential ingredient of it. Rakover is a natural storyteller and a philosopher; triggered by the behaviors of his cat, he develops the concept of methodological dualism and presents it in an intuitive and witty style.”
“The result of Rakover's labors is a thought-provoking treatise covering an unusually large ground from the foundations of (behavioral) science and measurements to theory construction and testing to human-animal commensurability.”
Subjects

Consciousness Research

Consciousness research
BIC Subject: HPM – Philosophy of mind
BISAC Subject: PHI015000 – PHILOSOPHY / Mind & Body
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2007013284
Cited by

Cited by other publications

Carr, Neil
2015.  In Domestic Animals and Leisure,  pp. 1 ff. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137415547_1
Rakover, Sam S.
2008. Is Facial Beauty an Innate Response to the Leonardian Proportion?. Empirical Studies of the Arts 26:2  pp. 155 ff. https://doi.org/10.2190/EM.26.2.b
Rakover, Sam S.
2012. Psychology as an Associational Science: A Methodological Viewpoint. Open Journal of Philosophy 02:02  pp. 143 ff. https://doi.org/10.4236/ojpp.2012.22023
Rakover, Sam S.
2013. Explaining the face-inversion effect: the face–scheme incompatibility (FSI) model. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 20:4  pp. 665 ff. https://doi.org/10.3758/s13423-013-0388-1

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