Ockham's Razor and Chimpanzee Mind-Reading

AbstractIn this talk, I’ll provide an overview of some of the ideas about the principle of parsimony that I develop in my 2015 book, Ockham’s Razors, and discuss their application to the cognitive science problem of figuring out whether chimpanzees are “mind-readers,” meaning that they form beliefs about the mental states of others. I'll discuss Frans de Waal's (1991, 1999) claim that anthropomorphism is more parsimonious than anthropodenial, Tomasello and Call's (2006) claim that mind-reading hypotheses are better than pure behavior-reading hypotheses because they unify diverse observations, and Povinelli and Vonk's (2003) claim that mind-reading hypotheses are unparsimonious because the mind-reading postulate can be snipped away from the causal model without loss of fit-to-data.

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