Chapter 6: The Methodological Turn in Ape Research: Sue Savage Rumbaugh
The aim of this chapter is to investigate – from the point of view of philosophy of science and philosophy of social science – the turn in the Ape Language Project (hereafter, ALP) as accomplished in the works of Sue Savage-Rumbaugh and her collaborators from the seventies of the 20th century till the first decade of the 21st century. In this project took place a highly interesting turn from the orientation of research on natural sciences to that on humanities. I shall analyze all the relevant works of Savage-Rumbaugh et alia from the point of view of the three central levels of ALP: its scientific level, its metascientific level where the central concepts of ALP are reflected upon, and the methodological level (as a consequence of certain conceptual choices at the metascientific level).78
I shall present, first, the scientific level of the ALP. Then I shall deal with the metascientific level and show how certain conceptual choices in this level lead to certain preferences in the methodological level, that is, to certain choices of applied methods and, finally, to a shift of the ALP to the realm of the humanities.
The impetus to deal with the ALP came to me from Peter Koťátko’s article (2005) located in the framework of philosophy of language, where he stated the following (Koťátko 2005, 13–15):
For a naïve realist, language is one of the parameters of human existence in the world: a tool...
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