Annual Conference: Elliot Sober

Start date End date Fri, 11/03/2023 – 14:00
Location Sala Jane Addams (4th floor). Philosophy Faculty UB Raval

The Annual Conference of the CCiL joint program (MA and PhD) will be by Elliot Sober.

Elliott R. Sober is a Hans Reichenbach Professor and a William F. Vilas Research Professor in the Department of Philosophy at University of Wisconsin-Madison. Sober is noted for his work in philosophy of biology and general philosophy of science.

The title of the conference is “Common-Cause Reasoning and Chimpanzee Mind Reading“.


Tomasello and Povinelli each invoke parsimony considerations to decide whether chimpanzees are “mind-readers,” meaning that chimpanzees form beliefs about the mental states of others. However, they draw opposite conclusions; Tomasello endorses the “mind-reading” hypothesis while Povinelli denies it. Here I describe how hypotheses that postulate intervening variables can differ in their predictions from hypotheses that do not, and apply this idea to a mind-reading hypothesis that postulates an intervening variable that a behavior-reading hypothesis does not include. I discuss this result in the light of ideas about model selection in statistics.