Abstract: The role of non-epistemic values in accepting and rejecting scientific hypotheses has long been recognized. As Rudner (1953) observes, “how sure we need to be before we accept a hypothesis will depend on how serious a mistake would be”. Non-epistemic values play a role whenever the hypothesis under consideration has practical consequences. Despite this, discussions aimed at evaluating scientific evidence often fail to take non-epistemic values into account. This is particularly true in comparative psychology, which is surprising, given the vast practical implications that accepting or rejecting hypotheses in this field might have. In this talk, I argue for the importance of non-epistemic values in evaluating claims about nonhuman animal mindreading. I show how taking these values into account reveals that the consequences of false negatives are much worse than traditionally conceived.
Marta Halina is a University Lecturer in the Philosophy of Cognitive Science at Cambridge University.