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© Oxford University Press, 2006. All rights reserved. This chapter examines the heuristic and theoretical importance of a distinction between rational and associative behaviour in animals in the case of imitation in the Japanese quail. It suggests that there is no Rubicon between associative and rational processes to be crossed and that evolution adds specific new cognitive capacities by tinkering with previous mechanisms. It proposes that research should refocus on specific explanations of how animals do specific things, rather than on the presence or absence of some general or ideal form of rationality that contrasts with associative mechanisms.

Original publication

DOI

10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198528272.003.0008

Type

Chapter

Book title

Rational Animals?

Publication Date

22/03/2012