Lovers of ant philosophy – that is, lovers of philosophy – will have noticed that our last Philosophy Phridays contribution was published on July 27th (an interesting piece on doubting ants by Dr. Andrew Moon). Such philosophy-lovers will be happy to hear that this time gap emphatically does NOT signal the death of our most world-famous series. In fact, we already have two upcoming contributions in the wings, and we’re confident you’re going to love them as much as you’ve loved each previous installment.

Until next Phriday, we’re thrilled to announce that Philosophy Phridays was recently featured on the widely-read American Philosophical Association (APA) Blog! The focus of the piece, penned by our very own Editor-In-Chief Benjamin Blanchard, is on the exciting Philosophy Phridays Phriends of the Phield event hosted by The Daily Ant during the APA Central Meeting in Chicago in February. If you support ants, make sure to check out the story!

We wish all of our readers a simply thrilling 1st World Ant Day!

Myrmecologist Dr. Mike Kaspari, in a flash of inspiration, realized that World Ant Day did not yet exist. Thus, on April 21st, he announced a date for a new holiday:

On July 23rd, Dr. Kaspari proposed a special way to celebrate World Ant Day, for those on Twitter:

The Daily Ant hosts a weekly series, Philosophy Phridays, in which real philosophers share their thoughts at the intersection of ants and philosophy. This is the fifty-ninth contribution in the series, submitted by Dr. Andrew Moon.

Do Ants Doubt?

Do ants doubt? I will argue that they probably don’t.

Some might think that ants don’t have doubts because they don’t have any mental states. They are just mindless robots.

Those people might be right. However, there are some reasons to think that ants do have mental states. Suppose an ant is walking along a path, and you put a Lego in front of it. The ant stops. If I said, “The ant knows that there is something in front of it,” this would seem like a correct thing to say. Or if I said, “The ant thinks that there is something in front of it,” that would also seem correct to say. In contrast, suppose you rolled a marble and it stopped because of the Lego in its path. If I said, “The marble knows/thinks there’s something in front of it,” this would be incorrect to say. The fact that we attribute knowledge and thinking to the ant (but not the marble) is some evidence that we categorize ants (but not marbles) into the group of things with minds.

An ant undoubtedly in doubt, or not. Photo: Alex Wild