Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Intentionality

Planning or performing an action that has goals. Behavioral biologists have avoided attributing intentionality to animals, especially because it may only represent anthropomorphism (see Morgan’s canon), but recently the development of cognitive ethology has led to a re-evaluation of this subject. For example, work with vervet monkeys sounding alarm calls for particular predators has asked the question of whether these animals intend to warn conspecifics.

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