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!

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.

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

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-seventh contribution in the series, submitted by our editor-in-chief, Benjamin Blanchard.


Northwestern Prison Education Program

The ant content in this (Saturday!) post is far less than usual for the series, but the natural affinity between social insects and social justice warrants little explanation. Plus, as soon as I heard about program that serves as the topic for this post, I became increasingly antsy to feature it in the Philosophy Phriday series. What is the program you may ask? None other than that stated in the title: The Northwestern Prison Education Program (NPEP).

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-sixth contribution in the series, submitted by Dr. Audrey Yap.


Speech Acts and Unspeakable Ants

At the annual ACP/CPA (Association Canadienne de Philosophie/Canadian Philosophical Association) conference, I encountered an ant-related speech act.

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-fifth contribution in the series, submitted by Dr. Danny Weltman.


Personal Identity and Personal Idantity

In the movie Antz, the worker ant Z-4195 regards hundreds of ants all dully dancing in the same shuffling motion and moans “why does everybody have to dance the same way? It’s completely boring. It’s monotonous.” In the ant colony depicted in the movie, all the worker ants are more or less the same, which is why they only get numbers for names. But, of course, all the workers are different from each other, too. They each have their own number, at least. If they’re all basically the same, what makes them different from each other?

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-fourth contribution in the series, submitted by Dr. Daniel Singer.


To Understand Ant Communication, We Can’t Forget What Ants Forget

It is well-known (to any reader of this blog, anyway) that ant communication is very complex and not entirely well-understood. Among myrmecologists, there is disagreement about how information is transferred (most think that pheromones play a key role, but some think there may be other mechanisms at play, including sound), what kind of information is transferred, and whether we should explain ant communication in terms of the communication behaviors of individuals or groups.

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-third contribution in the series, submitted by Gretchen Ellefson.


What Do (Ant) Emojis Mean?

According to the reputable website emojis.wiki, the ant emoji, , is “a synonym for ‘hardworking.’” This came as a surprise to me; I, a proficient emoji user, have never used the ant emoji in that way (despite that I have used an ant emoji), nor have I ever interpreted an ant emoji sent to me in that way. More importantly, however, I’m not quite sure what it means for an emoji to be synonymous with an English word. Generally, we take two words to be synonymous when they have the same meaning. But what it takes for an emoji to mean something is rather different than what it takes for an ordinary word to mean something. Philosophers of language sometimes talk about sentences as having the same meaning when they have the same “truth conditions”—when the conditions under which they would count as true are the same—and bits of sentences as having the same meaning when they play the same role in contributing to the truth conditions of a sentence. So “My students are hardworking,” is true whenever my students have the property of being hardworking. What about, “My students are ”? Does this have the same truth conditions? Probably not. On the one hand, the association between ants and hardworkingness is sufficiently commonly accepted that I could certainly use “My students are ” to mean that they are hardworking. But it is just as likely that in saying, “My students are ,” I could communicate something else: that my students are very small, or that they can carry many times their body weight, etc. So what does “My students are meanPerson Shrugging on Apple iOS 10.2

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