Animal Belief

Roger Fellows 


Non language-using animals cannot have beliefs, because believing entails the ability to distinguish true from false beliefs and also the ability to distinguish changes in belief from changes in the world. For these abilities we need both the fixation of belief and counter-factual thought, for both of which language is necessary. The argument of the paper extends Davidson's argument to the same conclusion (which is found wanting). But denying beliefs to animals has no moral implications.