Instrumental Reasoning in Nonhuman Animals

Authored by: Elisabeth Camp , Eli Shupe

The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Animal Minds

Print publication date:  July  2017
Online publication date:  July  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138822887
eBook ISBN: 9781315742250
Adobe ISBN:


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People engage in instrumental reasoning all the time, in fluid and complex ways. Thus: you’re at the office and want to use your new headphones, currently encased in non-frustration-free packaging. You could ask your colleague for scissors, but that would entail a lengthy conversation about Westworld. You wonder: are your keys might be sharp enough to cut the plastic, if you could get a grip on the upper corner? Would an unfurled paper clip pierce it? Or: you’re tired of looking for parking, and want a house with a garage. How much would a three-bedroom house in the closest town with good schools cost? To afford a down payment within two years, you’d need to save at least $1,000 a month. Should you cancel cable and forgo all restaurants? Sell your car and commute by train? Reconcile with your rich but racist uncle?

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