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Hardcover | $35.00 | £24.95 | ISBN: 9780262016056 | 264 pp. | 6 x 9 in | 38 figures| July 2011
Paperback | $20.00 | £13.95 | ISBN: 9780262528238 | 264 pp. | 6 x 9 in | 38 figures| August 2015
Ebook | $25.00 | ISBN: 9780262299213 | 264 pp. | 6 x 9 in | 38 figures| July 2011
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Mindreading Animals

The Debate over What Animals Know about Other Minds


Animals live in a world of other minds, human and nonhuman, and their well-being and survival often depends on what is going on in the minds of these other creatures. But do animals know that other creatures have minds? And how would we know if they do? In Mindreading Animals, Robert Lurz offers a fresh approach to the hotly debated question of mental-state attribution in nonhuman animals. Some empirical researchers and philosophers claim that some animals are capable of anticipating other creatures’ behaviors by interpreting observable cues as signs of underlying mental states; others claim that animals are merely clever behavior-readers, capable of using such cues to anticipate others’ behaviors without interpreting them as evidence of underlying mental states. Lurz argues that neither position is compelling and proposes a way to move the debate, and the field, forward.

Lurz offers a bottom-up model of mental-state attribution that is built on cognitive abilities that animals are known to possess rather than on a preconceived view of the mind applicable to mindreading abilities in humans. Lurz goes on to describe an innovative series of new experimental protocols for animal mindreading research that show in detail how various types of animals—from apes to monkeys to ravens to dogs—can be tested for perceptual state and belief attribution.

About the Author

Robert W. Lurz is Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Brooklyn College, CUNY. He is the author of The Philosophy of Animal Minds.


There is much to be learned from reading this book, especially from the clarity that Lurz brings to his discussion of the logical problem ... Lurz has provided a valuable guide to assessing a critical aspect of such experiments.
American Scientist

The book is an important contribution to the discussion of animal mindreading, and should be read by philosophers and psychologists working on the topic. It is clear enough to serve as an introduction, and sophisticated enough to challenge the status quo.
Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

[A] thorough, insightful, and prescriptive account. A nice overview of research into mind reading in animals and why the question is an important one philosophically and from the perspective of psychological theories of mind. We strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in what animals may know (or not know) about other minds, and even to those who are interested in animal cognition more broadly because a number of the most compelling research programs in animal cognition are outlined.