Aping the substantive epistemic subject?: in search of epistemic equals in the genus pan
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AbstractIn this dissertation I examine and defend the claim that chimpanzees and bonobos are substantive epistemic subjects-where to be a substantive epistemic subject is to have the capacity to engage in activities of an epistemic nature governed by rules or standards adopted, or learnt, by the individual in question and held in common with her belief community. In Chapter One I introduce, and in Chapter Two defend, six conditions for being a substantive epistemic subject that do not beg the question as to which animal species qualify. In Chapters Three through Five I set out to show that chimpanzees and bonobos meet all of these conditions, necessitating a discussion of various ethological studies of these great apes. As I show in Chapters Three and Four, there are compelling reasons for not only holding that chimpanzees and bonobos possess beliefs (or what I call Triple-I States) but that they engage in activities properly regarded as epistemic in nature. This constitutes a defence of the claim that chimpanzees and bonobos meet my first five conditions for being substantive epistemic subjects. With a defence, in Chapter Five, of the claim that chimpanzees and bonobos achieve a degree of epistemic success in their epistemic activities - which satisfies my final condition for being an epistemic subject - I provide the grounds needed to justify the claim that these nonhuman great apes are, in effect, our epistemic equals.
Bibliography: p. 293-314