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Tool Use and Causal Cognition$
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Teresa McCormack, Christoph Hoerl, and Stephen Butterfill

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199571154

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199571154.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 18 October 2021

Representing Causality

Representing Causality

(p.148) 8 Representing Causality
Tool Use and Causal Cognition

Christopher Peacocke

Oxford University Press

What is it to represent a relation as causal? The question has a wide interdisciplinary significance. The question itself has been at the centre of philosophical discussion from Hume onward; it is one that is pivotal in human developmental psychology; disputes in ethology about animal tool use cannot be resolved without addressing the question. Three issues about the representation of causality whose significance crosses the usual disciplinary boundaries are: What would be good evidence that some creature is representing a relation as causal? What would make it good evidence? In particular, how is its status as good evidence grounded in a constitutive account of what it is to represent a relation as causal? What is the relation between the constitutive account of what it is to represent a relation as causal, and what makes a relation one of causality? What is the right model of the relation between the content of the representation and what is represented? This is evidently an area in which issues of intentional content, the conditions for attribution of mental states, and the nature of the content's reference bear upon one another. The issues develop very quickly into more general ones about the relations between intentional content and metaphysics. That is part of their interest. But rather than start with such grander themes, this chapter works its way up to them from a starting point often adopted in the ethological literature. It begins with the question of the relation between tool use and the representation of causation.

Keywords:   causal relations, good evidence, causality, tool use, causation

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