David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Biology and Philosophy 25 (1):95-110 (2010)
The question of whether non-human animals are conscious is of fundamental importance. There are already good reasons to think that many are, based on evolutionary continuity and other considerations. However, the hypothesis is notoriously resistant to direct empirical test. Numerous studies have shown behaviour in animals analogous to consciously-produced human behaviour. Fewer probe whether the same mechanisms are in use. One promising line of evidence about consciousness in other animals derives from experiments on metamemory. A study by Hampton (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 98(9):5359–5362, 2001 ) suggests that at least one rhesus macaque can use metamemory to predict whether it would itself succeed on a delayed matching-to-sample task. Since it is not plausible that mere meta-representation requires consciousness, Hampton’s study invites an important question: what kind of metamemory is good evidence for consciousness? This paper argues that if it were found that an animal had a memory trace which allowed it to use information about a past perceptual stimulus to inform a range of different behaviours, that would indeed be good evidence that the animal was conscious. That functional characterisation can be tested by investigating whether successful performance on one metamemory task transfers to a range of new tasks. The paper goes on to argue that thinking about animal consciousness in this way helps in formulating a more precise functional characterisation of the mechanisms of conscious awareness.
|Keywords||Philosophy Evolutionary Biology Philosophy of Biology|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Peter Carruthers (2007). Meta-Cognition in Animals: A Skeptical Look. Mind and Language 22 (1):58–89.
Peter Carruthers (2000). Phenomenal Consciousness: A Naturalistic Theory. Cambridge University Press.
Robert E. D. Clark & L. R. Squire (1998). Classical Conditioning and Brain Systems: The Role of Awareness. Science 280:77-81.
Alan Cowey (1995). Blindsight in Monkeys. Nature 373:247-9.
Alan Cowey & Petra Stoerig (1997). Visual Detection in Monkeys with Blindsight. Neuopsychologia 35:929-39.
Citations of this work BETA
Nicholas Shea (2012). Methodological Encounters with the Phenomenal Kind. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 84 (2):307-344.
Nicholas Shea (2014). Reward Prediction Error Signals Are Meta‐Representational. Noûs 48 (2):314-341.
Louis M. Herman (2012). Body and Self in Dolphins. Consciousness and Cognition 21 (1):526-545.
Similar books and articles
Michael Lyvers (1999). Who has Subjectivity? Psyche 5 (31).
J. Smith, W. Shields & D. Washburn (2003). The Comparative Psychology of Uncertainty Monitoring and Metacognition. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 26 (3):317-339.
Rocco J. Gennaro (2009). Animals, Consciousness, and I-Thoughts. In Robert W. Lurz (ed.), The Philosophy of Animal Minds. Cambridge University Press. 184--200.
Majid Beshkar (2008). Animal Consciousness. Journal of Consciousness Studies 15 (3):5-33.
Robert W. Lurz (1999). Animal Consciousness. Journal of Philosophical Research 24 (January):149-168.
Donald R. Griffin & G. B. Speck (2004). New Evidence of Animal Consciousness. Animal Cognition 7 (1):5-18.
Peter Carruthers (2005). Why the Question of Animal Consciousness Might Not Matter Very Much. Philosophical Psychology 18 (1):83-102.
Uriah Kriegel (2013). Animal Rights: A Non‐Consequentialist Approach. In K. Petrus & M. Wild (eds.), Animal Minds and Animal Ethics. Transcript.
Sean Allen-Hermanson (2010). Blindsight in Monkeys: Lost and (Perhaps) Found. Journal of Consciousness Studies 17 (1-2): 47-71.
Added to index2009-08-03
Total downloads59 ( #33,212 of 1,692,887 )
Recent downloads (6 months)5 ( #47,646 of 1,692,887 )
How can I increase my downloads?