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When we interact with animals, we intuitively read thoughts and feelings into their expressions and actions - it is easy to suppose that they have minds like ours. And as techlogy grows more sophisticated, we might soon find ourselves interpreting the behaviour of robots too in human terms. It is natural for us to humanize other beings in this way, but is it philosophically or scientifically justifiable? How different might the minds of animals or machines be to ours? As David McFarland asks here, could robots ever feel guilty, and is it correct to suppose your dog can truly be happy? Can we ever kw what n-human minds might be like, or will the answer be forever out of our reach? These are central and important questions in the philosophy of mind, and this book is an accessible exploration of the differing philosophical positions that can be taken on the issue. McFarland looks t only at philosophy, but also examines new evidence from the science of animal behaviour plus the latest developments in robotics and artificial intelligence, to show how many different - and sometimes surprising - conclusions we can draw about the nature of 'alien minds'.
David McFarland is Emeritus Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford, having retired from his post of University Reader in Animal Behaviour at the Department of Zoology in 2000. Since then he has held a post as Professor of Biological Robotics at the University of the West of England, and is currently President of Casa Cantarilla, an Association of Teachers in the Arts and Sciences in Spain. He has also held posts as Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, and Lecturer in Psychology at the Universities of Durham and Oxford. He has published in the fields of animal behaviour, philosophy, physiology, psychology and robotics, and has written numerous books, most recently The Oxford Dictionary of Animal Behaviour (2006).