Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 24 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Logical reasoning has been argued to crucially depend on linguistic or symbolic representations. This suggests that animals are incapable of negation. Nevertheless, animals have been found to behave in ways that suggest reasoning by negation. This chapter discusses the findings from the animal cognition literature in light of theoretical accounts of negation based on propositional and non-propositional thought. Instead of engaging in negation proper, animals might engage in proto-negation, that is reasoning based on contrary pairs instead of negated propositions. While most of the current findings might be explained in terms of proto-negation, an accumulation of evidence might eventually render negation proper a more parsimonious explanation of the evidence. The chapter concludes with suggestions for future avenues of research and a discussion of the role of negation in the evolution of human reasoning.

Keywords: negation, propositional thought, evolution, animal cognition, metacognition, social cognition, communication

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.