Colin Allen

Colin Allen is Professor of Philosophy at Texas A&M University. He is the coauthor of Nature's Purposes (MIT Press, 1998), Species of Mind (MIT Press, 1997), and The Cognitive Animal (MIT Press, 2001).

  • The Cognitive Animal

    The Cognitive Animal

    Empirical and Theoretical Perspectives on Animal Cognition

    Marc Bekoff, Colin Allen, and Gordon M. Burghardt

    The fifty-seven original essays in this book provide a comprehensive overview of the interdisciplinary field of animal cognition. The contributors include cognitive ethologists, behavioral ecologists, experimental and developmental psychologists, behaviorists, philosophers, neuroscientists, computer scientists and modelers, field biologists, and others. The diversity of approaches is both philosophical and methodological, with contributors demonstrating various degrees of acceptance or disdain for such terms as "consciousness" and varying degrees of concern for laboratory experimentation versus naturalistic research. In addition to primates, particularly the nonhuman great apes, the animals discussed include antelopes, bees, dogs, dolphins, earthworms, fish, hyenas, parrots, prairie dogs, rats, ravens, sea lions, snakes, spiders, and squirrels. The topics include (but are not limited to) definitions of cognition, the role of anecdotes in the study of animal cognition, anthropomorphism, attention, perception, learning, memory, thinking, consciousness, intentionality, communication, planning, play, aggression, dominance, predation, recognition, assessment of self and others, social knowledge, empathy, conflict resolution, reproduction, parent-young interactions and caregiving, ecology, evolution, kin selection, and neuroethology.

    • Hardcover $105.00 £72.95
    • Paperback $56.00 £44.00
  • Logic Primer, Second Edition

    Logic Primer, Second Edition

    Colin Allen and Michael Hand

    Logic Primer presents a rigorous introduction to natural deduction systems of sentential and first-order logic.

    Logic Primer presents a rigorous introduction to natural deduction systems of sentential and first-order logic. The text is designed to foster the student-instructor relationship. The key concepts are laid out in concise definitions and comments, with the expectation that the instructor will elaborate upon them. New to the second edition is the addition of material on the logic of identity in chapters 3 and 4. An innovative interactive Web site, consisting of a "Logic Daemon" and a "Quizmaster," encourages students to formulate their own proofs and links them to appropriate explanations in the book.

  • Nature's Purposes

    Nature's Purposes

    Analyses of Function and Design in Biology

    Colin Allen, Marc Bekoff, and George Lauder

    This volume provides a guide to the discussion among biologists and philosophers about the role of concepts such as function and design in an evolutionary understanding of life.

    Within the natural sciences, only biologists take seriously teleological statements about design, purpose, and adaptive function. Some biologists claim that to understand the complex morphological and behavioral traits of organisms we must say what they are for, which is to give a teleological explanation of why organisms have them. Others argue that the theory of natural selection, in providing statistical explanations for the same phenomena, obviates any need for teleological thinking. If teleology cannot be eliminated from biology, it raises fundamental questions about the nature of biological explanation and about the relationship of biology to the rest of science.To account for "Nature's purposes" is arguably the most important basic issue in the philosophy of biology. This volume provides a guide to the discussion among biologists and philosophers about the role of concepts such as function and design in an evolutionary understanding of life. All of the contributors examine biological teleology from a naturalistic perspective. Most of them maintain that teleological claims in biology both describe and explain something—but opinions vary as to exactly what is explained and how.

    Contributors Fred Adams, Colin Allen, Ron Amundson, Francisco J. Ayala, Mark Bedau, Marc Bekoff, John Bigelow, Walter J. Bock, Robert N. Brandon, Robert Cummins, Berent Enç, Carl Gans, Peter Godfrey-Smith, Stephen Jay Gould, Paul E. Griffiths, R. A. Hinde, Philip Kitcher, George V. Lauder, Ruth Garrett Millikan, S. D. Mitchell, Ernest Nagel, Karen Neander, Robert Pargetter, M. J. S. Rudwick, Gerd von Wahlert, Elisabeth S. Vrba, Larry Wright

    • Hardcover $85.00
    • Paperback $42.00 £33.00
  • Species of Mind

    Species of Mind

    The Philosophy and Biology of Cognitive Ethology

    Colin Allen and Marc Bekoff

    The heart of this book is the reciprocal relationship between philosophical theories of mind and empirical studies of animal cognition.

    Colin Allen (a philosopher) and Marc Bekoff (a cognitive ethologist) approach their work from a perspective that considers arguments about evolutionary continuity to be as applicable to the study of animal minds and brains as they are to comparative studies of kidneys, stomachs, and hearts. Cognitive ethologists study the comparative, evolutionary, and ecological aspects of the mental phenomena of animals. Philosophy can provide cognitive ethology with an analytical basis for attributing cognition to nonhuman animals and for studying it, and cognitive ethology can help philosophy to explain mentality in naturalistic terms by providing data on the evolution of cognition. This interdiscipinary approach reveals flaws in common objections to the view that animals have minds.

    The heart of the book is this reciprocal relationship between philosophical theories of mind and empirical studies of animal cognition. All theoretical discussion is carefully tied to case studies, particularly in the areas of antipredatory vigilance and social play, where there are many points of contact with philosophical discussions of intentionality and representation. Allen and Bekoff make specific suggestions about how to use philosophical theories of intentionality as starting points for empirical investigation of animal minds, and they stress the importance of studying animals other than nonhuman primates.

    • Hardcover $40.00 £29.95
    • Paperback $34.00 £27.00
  • Logic Primer

    Logic Primer

    Colin Allen and Michael Hand

    This text presents a self-contained introduction to logic suitable for majors and nonmajors, and can be covered entirely in a one-semester course. Natural deduction systems of sentential logic and of first-order logic, truth tables, and the basic ideas of model theory are presented without superfluous discussion. This allows the instructor to choose various ways of presenting the material. The text is organized into definitions, comments, examples, and exercises in a modern, visually helpful format. Comments are kept to a minimum so that definitions and examples are usually on the same page, making it easy for students to compare the two. In addition, there are over 500 exercises, with solutions to more than half of them provided in an appendix. Logic Primer differs from existing texts in several important ways. The proofs are shorter and more elegant. The rules of proof are stated in terms of denials of sentences rather than negations; this results in more intuitive rules that students learn more quickly. Most important pedagogically, the authors' natural deduction systems explicitly track the assumptions on which each step in a proof depends.


  • Developing Scaffolds in Evolution, Culture, and Cognition

    Developing Scaffolds in Evolution, Culture, and Cognition

    Linnda R. Caporael, James R. Griesemer, and William C. Wimsatt

    Empirical and philosophical perspectives on scaffolding that highlight the role of temporal and temporary resources in development across concepts of culture, cognition, and evolution.

    "Scaffolding" is a concept that is becoming widely used across disciplines. This book investigates common threads in diverse applications of scaffolding, including theoretical biology, cognitive science, social theory, science and technology studies, and human development. Despite its widespread use, the concept of scaffolding is often given short shrift; the contributors to this volume, from a range of disciplines, offer a more fully developed analysis of scaffolding that highlights the role of temporal and temporary resources in development, broadly conceived, across concepts of culture, cognition, and evolution.

    The book emphasizes reproduction, repeated assembly, and entrenchment of heterogeneous relations, parts, and processes as a complement to neo-Darwinism in the developmentalist tradition of conceptualizing evolutionary change. After describing an integration of theoretical perspectives that can accommodate different levels of analysis and connect various methodologies, the book discusses multilevel organization; differences (and reciprocality) between individuals and institutions as units of analysis; and perspectives on development that span brains, careers, corporations, and cultural cycles.

    Contributors Colin Allen, Linnda R. Caporael, James Evans, Elihu M. Gerson, Simona Ginsburg, James R. Griesemer, Christophe Heintz, Eva Jablonka, Sanjay Joshi, Shu-Chen Li, Pamela Lyon, Sergio F. Martinez, Christopher J. May, Johann Peter Murmann, Stuart A. Newman, Jeffrey C. Schank, Iddo Tavory, Georg Theiner, Barbara Hoeberg Wimsatt, William C. Wimsatt

  • Robot Ethics

    Robot Ethics

    The Ethical and Social Implications of Robotics

    Patrick Lin, Keith Abney, and George A. Bekey

    Prominent experts from science and the humanities explore issues in robot ethics that range from sex to war.

    Robots today serve in many roles, from entertainer to educator to executioner. As robotics technology advances, ethical concerns become more pressing: Should robots be programmed to follow a code of ethics, if this is even possible? Are there risks in forming emotional bonds with robots? How might society—and ethics—change with robotics? This volume is the first book to bring together prominent scholars and experts from both science and the humanities to explore these and other questions in this emerging field.

    Starting with an overview of the issues and relevant ethical theories, the topics flow naturally from the possibility of programming robot ethics to the ethical use of military robots in war to legal and policy questions, including liability and privacy concerns. The contributors then turn to human-robot emotional relationships, examining the ethical implications of robots as sexual partners, caregivers, and servants. Finally, they explore the possibility that robots, whether biological-computational hybrids or pure machines, should be given rights or moral consideration.

    Ethics is often slow to catch up with technological developments. This authoritative and accessible volume fills a gap in both scholarly literature and policy discussion, offering an impressive collection of expert analyses of the most crucial topics in this increasingly important field.

    • Hardcover $47.00 £32.95
    • Paperback $34.00 £27.00
  • Naturalizing Intention in Action

    Naturalizing Intention in Action

    Franck Grammont, Dorothée Legrand, and Pierre Livet

    An interdisciplinary integration of theoretical and empirical approaches to the question of intentional action.

    Intention was seen traditionally as a philosophical concept, before being debated more recently from psychological and social perspectives. Today the cognitive sciences approach intention empirically, at the level of its underlying mechanisms. This naturalization of intention makes it more concrete and graspable by empirical sciences. This volume offers an interdisciplinary integration of current research on intentional processes naturalized through action, drawing on the theoretical and empirical approaches of cognitive neuroscience, psychology, philosophy, and sociology. Each chapter integrates several disciplinary perspectives. Taken together, the chapters show that the reunification of the different dimensions of intentional processes may constitute an adequate basis for a general model of intentional processes and their links to action. This can be applied at various levels, from neuronal activity to self-constitution, from the expression of intentional actions at the individual level to their expression in social contexts, and to the recognition of intention in actions executed by others.

    Contributors Colin Allen, Mireille Bonnard, Vittorio Gallese, Jozina B. de Graaf, Franck Grammont, Patrick Haggard, Marco Iacoboni, Dorothée Legrand, Pierre Livet, Albert Ogien, Jean Pailhous, Jean-Luc Petit, Jean-Michel Roy, Jessica A. Sommerville, Manos Tsakiris, Amanda L. Woodward