Opacidad referencial y atribución intencional a animales sin lenguaje

Laura Danón


In this paper I examine Davidson’s argument from referential opacity against the attribution of thoughts to non-linguistics animals. I will begin by reconstructing the strongest version of the argument — i.e., the one which is better suited to overcome the different objections that have been raised against it. Once that is done, I will also object this version arguing, in a nutshell, that the fact that non-human animals lack language does not preclude us from acquiring some knowledge (although such knowledge may be partial) of their mental contents. Thus, I conclude that the argument from referential opacity fails to support Davidson’s radical skepticism regarding the possibility of acquiring knowledge of the mental contents of non-linguistic animals, and of legitimately attributing intentional mental states to them.


Animal minds; referential opacity; mental content; Davidson; intentional attribution.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.5007/1808-1711.2016v20n2p143

Copyright (c) 2017 Laura Danón


Principia: an internationnal journal of epistemology
Published by NEL - Epistemology and Logic Research Group
Federal University of Santa Catarina - UFSC
Center of Philosophy and Human Sciences – CFH
Campus Reitor João David Ferreira Lima
Florianópolis, Santa Catarina - Brazil
CEP: 88040-900

 ISSN: 1414-4217
EISSN: 1808-171

e-mail: principia@contato.ufsc.br