Kant on Animal Consciousness

Philosophers' Imprint 11 (15) (2011)
Abstract
Kant is often considered to have argued that perceptual awareness of objects in one's environment depends on the subject's possession of conceptual capacities. This conceptualist interpretation raises an immediate problem concerning the nature of perceptual awareness in non-rational, non-concept using animals. In this paper I argue that Kant’s claims concerning animal representation and consciousness do not foreclose the possibility of attributing to animals the capacity for objective perceptual consciousness, and that a non-conceptualist interpretation of Kant’s position concerning perceptual awareness can actively endorse this attribution. Kant can consistently allow that animals have a point of view on the objective world which possesses a distinctive phenomenal character while denying what seems most important to him – viz. that animals have the capacity to take cognitive attitudes towards, and thus self-ascribe, their own representational states.
Keywords Animals  Philosophy of Mind  Kant  Consciousness  Representation  Concepts  Non-conceptual content
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Rocco J. Gennaro (2009). Animals, Consciousness, and I-Thoughts. In Robert W. Lurz (ed.), The Philosophy of Animal Minds. Cambridge University Press. 184--200.
Mark Rowlands (2003). Consciousness: The Transcendalist Manifesto. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 2 (3):205-21.
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