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Studies in the Methodology of Science

Igor Hanzel

The book discusses methodological issues relating to the philosophy of science and the natural and social sciences. It reconstructs the methods of measurement and scientific explanation, the relation of data, phenomena and mechanisms, the problem of theory-ladenness of explanation and the problem of historic explanation. From the sciences chosen for methodological analysis are those of early classical mechanics, early thermodynamics, Bohr’s theory of atom, early quantum mechanics, research into great apes and political economy.
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Chapter 8: Tool use by Chimpanzees (Pan Troglodytes): New Conceptualization and a New Measure for Quantification


8.1 Introduction

The claim, attributed to Benjamin Franklin, that tool-making is a uniquely human activity has gradually lost its persuasiveness in the last fifty years or so. Recent research indicates that chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) produce and employ complex tools, and even utilize them for hunting (Pruetz and Bertolani 2007; Wilfried and Yamagiwa 2014).

My aim, based on these facts, is to provide a new conceptualization of tool use by chimpanzees. The starting point will be data on chimpanzee tool use and food sharing. I shall then compare these data with the now widely accepted conceptualization of that use in (Matsuzawa 1996) and well as with the conceptualization given in (Hayashi and Mizuno and Matsuzawa 2005) in order to propose an alternative explanation, by drawing on the conceptualization of tool use and consumption of its product by humans in order to develop a set of concepts suitable for the description of chimpanzee tool use. Finally, I shall propose a new measure for chimpanzee tool use based on this conceptualization.

8.2 Tool Use in Chimpanzees

In my analysis, I shall focus on three kinds of tool use by chimpanzees: leaf sponging, honey gathering, and termite fishing.

8.2.1 Leaf sponging

According to (Sanz and Morgan 2010), this activity is based on the use of a leaf sponge used to extract water from a tree basin. Here a chimpanzee acts by means of a hand on a plant, the product...

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