The uniqueness of human social ontology

  • Anne L. C. Runehov Copenhagen University
Palabras clave: self-identity, group-identity, intentionality, collective intentionality, natural selection, genecultural, co-evolution.


Darwin’s theory of evolution argued that the human race evolved from the same original cellas all other animals. Biological principles such as randomness, adaption and natural selection led to the evolution of different species including the human species. Based on this evolutionary sameness, DonaldR. Griffin (1915-2003) challenged the behaviourist claim that animal communication is characterized asmerely groans of pain. This paper argues that (1) all animals are embedded in a social system. (2) However,that does not mean that all animals are social animals. (3) That the human social ontology remains to beunique due to a gene-cultural co-evolution.


ALLEE, W. C. (1931), «Co-Operation Among Animals», The American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 37, No. 3, 386-398.

BROTHERS, LESLIE (1989): «A biological perspective on empathy», American Journal of Psychiatry 146: 10-19.

BOYD, R., and RICHERSON, P. (1985), Culture and the evolutionary process, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

BROWNE, D. (2004), «Do Dolphins know Their Own Minds?», Biology and Philosophy 19: 633-653.

BYRNE, R. (1995), The Thinking Ape, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

BYRNE, R., and WHITEN, A. (eds.) (1988), Machiavellian Intelligence: Social Expertise and the Evolution of Intellect in Monkeys, Apes and Humans, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

DARWIN, CHARLES (2009 [1874]), «The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex», publication.

DENNETT, D. (1987), Intentional systems in cognitive ethology. The Intentional Stance, Cambridge, MA MIT Press.

DRETSKE, FRED I. (1999), «Machines, Plants and Animals: The Origin of Agency», Erkenntnis 51: 19-31.

PREMACK, D. (1988), «Does the chimpanzee have a theory of mind?». Revisited in BYRNE, R., and WHITEN, A. (eds.) (1988), Machiavellian Intelligence: Social Expertise and the Evolution of Intellect in Monkeys, Apes and Humans, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

PRYOR, K., and NORRIS, K. S. (1998) (eds.), Dolphin Societies, Discoveries and Puzzles, London: University of California Press.

REISS, D., and MARINO, L. (2001), «Mirror self-recognition in the bottlenose dolphin: A case of cognitive convergence», PNAS, Vol. 98, No. 10: 5937-5942.

RICHERSON, PETER J., and BOYD, ROBERT (2006), Not by Genes Alone: How Culture Transformed Human Evolution, London: The University of Chicago Press.

RISTAU, CAROLYN A. (ed.) (1991), Cognitive Ethology: The Minds of Other Animals. Volume compiled in honor of Donald R. Griffin. Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum.

— (1983), «Language, Cognition, and Awareness in Animals?». In: The Role of Animals in Biomedical Research, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Vol. 406, 170-186.

SAMIR, OKASHA (2008), «Biological Altruism», Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy.

SEARLE, J. (2008), Philosophy in a New Century: Selected Essays, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

SMITH, J. D.; SCHULL, J.; STROTE, J.; MCGEE, K.; EGNOR, R., and ERB, L. (1995), «The uncertain response in the bottlenosed dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)», J. Exp. Psychol. Gen. 124: 391-408.

TOMASELLO, M., and CALL, J. (1997), Primate Cognition, New York: Oxford University Press.

TOMASSELLO, M.; CARPENTER, M.; CALL, J.; BEHNE, T., and MOLL, H. (2005), «Understanding and sharing intentions: The origins of cultural cognition», Behavioral and brain sciences, 28: 675-735.

TUMMOLINI, L.; CATELFRANCHI, CH., and RAKOCZY, H (2006), «Pretend play and the develpment of collective intentionality», Cognitive Systems Research 7: 113-127.

WHEELER, D. (2001), «Racing to the Bottom? Foreign Investment and Air Pollution in Developing Countries», Journal of Environment & Development, Vol. 10, No. 3, September 2001, 225-245.

WHITE, T. I. (2007) (ed.), In Defence of Dolphins. The New Moral Frontier. Malden, Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.

WHITEN, A. (2000), «Chimpanzee cognition and the question of mental re-representation». In: SPERBER, D. (ed.), Metarepresentations: AMultidisciplinary Perspective, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Cómo citar
C. Runehov, A. L. (1). The uniqueness of human social ontology. Pensamiento. Revista De Investigación E Información Filosófica, 67(254 S.Esp), 709-721. Recuperado a partir de