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Profile: Colin Allen (Indiana University, Bloomington)
  1. Colin Allen, /21/06 11:25 Am.
    Which nonhuman animals experience conscious pain? Common sense suggests that the answer is obvious for all mammals and birds: they do! But people's intuitions begin to waver when it comes to reptiles, amphibians, fish, or invertebrates. Do lobsters feel pain when boiled alive? A recent study by the Norwegian government said that they don't. But Norway has a significant lobster fishing industry to protect, so it's easy regard the study with suspicion.
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  2. Colin Allen, Answer Set Programming on Expert Feedback to Populate and Extend.
    dynamic ontologies must be inferred and populated in part from the reference corpora themselves, but ontological rela-.
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  3. Colin Allen, Rational Versus Associative Processes.
    It is widely accepted that many species of non-human animals appear to engage in transitive inference, producing appropriate responses to novel pairings of non-adjacent members of an ordered series without previous experience of these pairings. Some researchers have taken this capability as providing direct evidence that these animals reason. Others resist such declarations, favouring instead explanations in terms of associative conditioning. Associative accounts of transitive inference have been refined in application to a simple five-element learning task that is the main (...)
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  4. Colin Allen, Teleological Notions in Biology.
    Teleological terms such as "function" and "design" appear frequently in the biological sciences. Examples of teleological claims include: A (biological) function of stotting by antelopes is to communicate to predators that they have been detected. Eagles' wings are (naturally) designed for soaring. Teleological notions were commonly associated with the pre-Darwinian view that the biological realm provides evidence of conscious design by a supernatural creator. Even after creationist viewpoints were rejected by most biologists there remained various grounds for concern about the (...)
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  5. Colin Allen & Gary Varner, Prolegomena to Any Future Arti® Cial Moral Agent.
    As arti® cial intelligence moves ever closer to the goal of producing fully autonomous agents, the question of how to design and implement an arti® cial moral agent (AMA) becomes increasingly pressing. Robots possessing autonomous capacities to do things that are useful to humans will also have the capacity to do things that are harmful to humans and other sentient beings. Theoretical challenges to developing arti® cial moral agents result both from controversies among ethicists about moral theory itself, and from (...)
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  6. Colin Allen, Conditioned Anti-Anthropomorphism.
    How should scientists react to anthropomorphism (defined for the purposes of this paper as the attribution of mental states or properties to nonhuman animals)? Many thoughtful scientists have attempted to accommodate some measure of anthropomorphism in their approaches to animal behavior. But Wynne will have none of it. We reject his argument against anthropomorphism and argue that he does not pay sufficient attention to the historical facts or to the details of alternative approaches.
     
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  7. Colin Allen, Macaque Mirror Neurons.
    Primatologists generally agree that monkeys lack higher-order intentional capacities related to theory of mind. Yet the discovery of the so-called “mirror neurons” in monkeys suggests to many neuroscientists that they have the rudiments of intentional understanding. Given a standard philosophical view about intentional understanding, which requires higher-order intentionality, a paradox arises. Different ways of resolving the paradox are assessed, using evidence from neural, cognitive, and behavioral studies of humans and monkeys. A decisive resolution to the paradox requires substantial additional empirical (...)
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  8. Colin Allen, Working the Crowd: Design Principles and Early Lessons From the Social-Semantic Web.
    The Indiana Philosophy Ontology (InPhO) project is presented as one of the first social-semantic web endeavors which aims to bootstrap feedback from users unskilled in ontology design into a precise representation of a specific domain. Our approach combines statistical text processing methods with expert feedback and logic programming approaches to create a dynamic semantic representation of the discipline of philosophy. We describe the basic principles and initial experimental results of our system.
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  9. Colin Allen (2014). Models, Mechanisms, and Animal Minds. Southern Journal of Philosophy 52 (S1):75-97.
    In this paper, I describe grounds for dissatisfaction with certain aspects of the sciences of animal cognition and argue that a turn toward mathematical modeling of animal cognition is warranted. I consider some objections to this call and argue that the implications of such a turn are not as drastic for ordinary, commonsense understanding of animal minds as they might seem.
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  10. Colin Allen (2014). Umwelt or Umwelten? How Should Shared Representation Be Understood Given Such Diversity? Semiotica 2014 (198):137-158.
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  11. David Landy, Colin Allen & Carlos Zednik (2014). A Perceptual Account of Symbolic Reasoning. Frontiers in Psychology 5.
    People can be taught to manipulate symbols according to formal mathematical and logical rules. Cognitive scientists have traditionally viewed this capacity—the capacity for symbolic reasoning—as grounded in the ability to internally represent numbers, logical relationships, and mathematical rules in an abstract, amodal fashion. We present an alternative view, portraying symbolic reasoning as a special kind of embodied reasoning in which arithmetic and logical formulae, externally represented as notations, serve as targets for powerful perceptual and sensorimotor systems. Although symbolic reasoning often (...)
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  12. Colin Allen (2013). Fish Cognition and Consciousness. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 26 (1):25-39.
    Questions about fish consciousness and cognition are receiving increasing attention. In this paper, I explain why one must be careful to avoid drawing conclusions too hastily about this hugely diverse set of species.
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  13. Colin Allen (2013). The Geometry of Partial Understanding. American Philosophical Quarterly 50 (3):249-262.
    Wittgenstein famously ended his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (Wittgenstein 1922) by writing: "Whereof one cannot speak, one must pass over in silence." (Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen.) In that earliest work, Wittgenstein gives no clue about whether this aphorism applied to animal minds, or whether he would have included philosophical discussions about animal minds as among those displaying "the most fundamental confusions (of which the whole of philosophy is full)" (1922, TLP 3.324), but given his later writings on (...)
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  14. Wendell Wallach & Colin Allen (2013). Framing Robot Arms Control. Ethics and Information Technology 15 (2):125-135.
    The development of autonomous, robotic weaponry is progressing rapidly. Many observers agree that banning the initiation of lethal activity by autonomous weapons is a worthy goal. Some disagree with this goal, on the grounds that robots may equal and exceed the ethical conduct of human soldiers on the battlefield. Those who seek arms-control agreements limiting the use of military robots face practical difficulties. One such difficulty concerns defining the notion of an autonomous action by a robot. Another challenge concerns how (...)
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  15. Shane Zappettini & Colin Allen (2013). Does Evidence From Ethology Support Bicoded Cognitive Maps? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 36 (5):570-571.
    The presumption that navigation requires a cognitive map leads to its conception as an abstract computational problem. Instead of loading the question in favor of an inquiry into the metric structure and evolutionary origin of cognitive maps, the task should first be to establish that a map-like representation actually is operative in real animals navigating real environments.
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  16. Colin Allen (2012). Ethics, Law, and the Science of Fish Welfare. Between the Species 16 (1):7.
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  17. Colin Allen (2012). Private Codes and Public Structures. In David McFarland, Keith Stenning & Maggie McGonigle (eds.), The Complex Mind. Palgrave Macmillan. 223.
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  18. Thomas Suddendorf, Mark E. Borrello, Colin Allen & Gregory Radick (2012). If I Could Talk to the Animals. Metascience 21 (2):253-267.
    If I could talk to the animals Content Type Journal Article Category Book Symposium Pages 1-15 DOI 10.1007/s11016-011-9553-1 Authors Thomas Suddendorf, School of Psychology, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia Mark E. Borrello, Program in the History of Science, Technology and Medicine, Department of Ecology Evolution and Behavior, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA Colin Allen, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, College of Arts and Sciences, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, USA Gregory Radick, Centre for History and Philosophy of Science, (...)
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  19. Colin Allen (2011). Methodological Questions Begged. Behavior and Philosophy 39 (40):83 - 87.
    I argue in opposition to Sam Rakover that the current lack of fully adequate theories of the subjective and qualitative aspects of mind does not justify the adoption of what he calls “methodological dualism” (Rakover, this issue). Scientific understanding of consciousness requires the continuation of attempts to explain it in terms of the neural mechanisms that support it. It would be premature to adopt a methodological stance that could foreclose on the possibility of more reductionistic approaches. The effects of such (...)
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  20. Colin Allen & Tony Beavers (2011). Erratum To: Synthese Special Issue: Representing Philosophy. Synthese 183 (2):277-277.
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  21. Colin Allen & Tony Beavers (2011). Synthese Special Issue: Representing Philosophy. Synthese 182 (2):181-183.
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  22. Cameron Buckner, Mathias Niepert & Colin Allen (2011). From Encyclopedia to Ontology: Toward Dynamic Representation of the Discipline of Philosophy. Synthese 182 (2):205-233.
    The application of digital humanities techniques to philosophy is changing the way scholars approach the discipline. This paper seeks to open a discussion about the difficulties, methods, opportunities, and dangers of creating and utilizing a formal representation of the discipline of philosophy. We review our current project, the Indiana Philosophy Ontology (InPhO) project, which uses a combination of automated methods and expert feedback to create a dynamic computational ontology for the discipline of philosophy. We argue that our distributed, expert-based approach (...)
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  23. David Landy, Colin Allen & Michael L. Anderson (2011). Conceptual Discontinuity Involves Recycling Old Processes in New Domains. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 34 (3):136-137.
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  24. Jun Otsuka, Trin Turner, Colin Allen & Elisabeth Lloyd (2011). Why the Causal View of Fitness Survives. Philosophy of Science 78 (2):209-224.
    We critically examine Denis Walsh’s latest attack on the causalist view of fitness. Relying on Judea Pearl’s Sure-Thing Principle and geneticist John Gillespie’s model for fitness, Walsh has argued that the causal interpretation of fitness results in a reductio. We show that his conclusion only follows from misuse of the models, that is, (1) the disregard of the real biological bearing of the population-size parameter in Gillespie’s model and (2) the confusion of the distinction between ordinary probability and Pearl’s causal (...)
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  25. Wendell Wallach, Colin Allen & Stan Franklin (2011). Consciousness and Ethics: Artificially Conscious Moral Agents. International Journal of Machine Consciousness 3 (01):177-192.
  26. Kathleen Akins, Pignocchi Alessandro, Joshua Alexander, Anna Alexandrova, Keith Allen, Sophie Allen, Colin Allen, Maria Alvarez, Santiago Amaya & Ben Ambridge (2010). Philosophical Psychology Would Like to Thank Our Reviewers for Their Generous Contributions to the Journal in 2010. Jonathan Adler Kenneth Aizawa. Philosophical Psychology 23 (6):845-848.
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  27. Colin Allen (2010). Mirror, Mirror in the Brain, What's the Monkey Stand to Gain? Noûs 44 (2):372 - 391.
    Primatologists generally agree that monkeys lack higher-order intentional capacities related to theory of mind. Yet the discovery of the so-called "mirror neurons" in monkeys suggests to many neuroscientists that they have the rudiments of intentional understanding. Given a standard philosophical view about intentional understanding, which requires higher-order intentionahty, a paradox arises. Different ways of resolving the paradox are assessed, using evidence from neural, cognitive, and behavioral studies of humans and monkeys. A decisive resolution to the paradox requires substantial additional empirical (...)
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  28. Georg Theiner, Colin Allen & Robert L. Goldstone (2010). Recognizing Group Cognition. Cognitive Systems Research 11 (4):378-395.
    In this paper, we approach the idea of group cognition from the perspective of the “extended mind” thesis, as a special case of the more general claim that systems larger than the individual human, but containing that human, are capable of cognition (Clark, 2008; Clark & Chalmers, 1998). Instead of deliberating about “the mark of the cognitive” (Adams & Aizawa, 2008), our discussion of group cognition is tied to particular cognitive capacities. We review recent studies of group problem-solving and group (...)
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  29. Wendell Wallach & Colin Allen (2010). Moral Machines: Teaching Robots Right From Wrong. OUP USA.
    "An invaluable guide to avoiding the stuff of science-fiction nightmares."--John Gilby, Times Higher Education -/- "Moral Machines is a fine introduction to the emerging field of robot ethics. There is much here that will interest ethicists, philosophers, cognitive scientists, and roboticists."-Peter Danielson, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews -/- "Written with an abundance of examples and lessons learned, scenarios of incidents that may happen, and elaborate discussions on existing artificial agents on the cutting edge of research/practice, Moral Machines goes beyond what is (...)
     
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  30. Wendell Wallach, Stan Franklin & Colin Allen (2010). A Conceptual and Computational Model of Moral Decision Making in Human and Artificial Agents. Topics in Cognitive Science 2 (3):454-485.
    Recently, there has been a resurgence of interest in general, comprehensive models of human cognition. Such models aim to explain higher-order cognitive faculties, such as deliberation and planning. Given a computational representation, the validity of these models can be tested in computer simulations such as software agents or embodied robots. The push to implement computational models of this kind has created the field of artificial general intelligence (AGI). Moral decision making is arguably one of the most challenging tasks for computational (...)
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  31. Cameron Buckner, Adam Shriver, Stephen Crowley & Colin Allen (2009). How “Weak” Mindreaders Inherited the Earth. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 32 (2):140-141.
    Carruthers argues that an integrated faculty of metarepresentation evolved for mindreading and was later exapted for metacognition. A more consistent application of his approach would regard metarepresentation in mindreading with the same skeptical rigor, concluding that the “faculty” may have been entirely exapted. Given this result, the usefulness of Carruthers’ line-drawing exercise is called into question.
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  32. Andrew McAninch, Grant Goodrich & Colin Allen (2009). Animal Communication and Neo-Expressivism. In Robert W. Lurz (ed.), The Philosophy of Animal Minds. Cambridge University Press. 128--144.
    One of the earliest issues in cognitive ethology concerned the meaning of animal signals. In the 1970s and 1980s this debate was most active with respect to the question of whether animal alarm calls convey information about the emotional states of animals or whether they “refer” directly to predators in the environment (Seyfarth, Cheney, & Marler 1980; see Radick 2007 for a historical account), but other areas, such as vocalizations about food and social contact, were also widely discussed. In the (...)
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  33. Karola Stotz & Colin Allen, From Cell-Surface Receptors to Higher Learning: A Whole World of Experience.
    In the last decade it has become en vogue for cognitive comparative psychologists to study animal behavior in an ‘integrated’ fashion to account for both the ‘innate’ and the ‘acquired’. We will argue that these studies, instead of really integrating the concepts of ‘nature’ and ‘nurture’, rather cement this old dichotomy. They combine empty nativist interpretation of behavior systems with blatantly environmentalist explanations of learning. We identify the main culprit as the failure to take development seriously. While in some areas (...)
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  34. Professor Ronaldo Vigo & Colin Allen, How to Reason Without Words: Inference as Categorization.
    The idea that reasoning is a singular accomplishment of the human species has an ancient pedigree.Yet this idea remains as controversial as it is ancient. Those who would deny reasoning to nonhuman animals typically hold a language-based conception of inference which places it beyond the reach of languageless creatures. Others reject such an anthropocentric conception of reasoning on the basis of similar performance by humans and animals in some reasoning tasks, such as transitive inference. Here, building on the modal similarity (...)
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  35. Marc Bekoff, Colin Allen, Gordon M. Burghardt, Ann B. Butler, Paul R. Manger & Peter Arhem (2008). Baker, Steve (2001) Picturing the Beast: Animals, Identity, and Representation. Urbana: University of Illinois. Barresi, J. And Moore, C.(1996)" Intentional Relations and Social Understanding.&Quot; Behavioral and Brain Sciences 19: 107-154. Bekoff, Marc (2002) Minding Animals: Awareness, Emotions. And Heart, New York: Oxford University. In Susan J. Armstrong & Richard George Botzler (eds.), The Animal Ethics Reader. Routledge. 143.
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  36. Stephen J. Crowley & Colin Allen (2008). Animal Behavior. In Michael Ruse (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Biology. Oxford University Press. 327--348.
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  37. Colin Allen & Marc Bekoff (2007). Animal Minds, Cognitive Ethology, and Ethics. Journal of Ethics 11 (3):299-317.
    Our goal in this paper is to provide enough of an account of the origins of cognitive ethology and the controversy surrounding it to help ethicists to gauge for themselves how to balance skepticism and credulity about animal minds when communicating with scientists. We believe that ethicists’ arguments would benefit from better understanding of the historical roots of ongoing controversies. It is not appropriate to treat some widely reported results in animal cognition as if their interpretations are a matter of (...)
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  38. Colin Allen & Mark Bekoff (2007). Animal Consciousness. In Max Velmans & Susan Schneider (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness. Blackwell.
     
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  39. Wendell Wallach, Colin Allen & Iva Smit (2007). Machine Morality: Bottom-Up and Top-Down Approaches for Modelling Human Moral Faculties. [REVIEW] AI and Society 22 (4):565-582.
    The implementation of moral decision making abilities in artificial intelligence (AI) is a natural and necessary extension to the social mechanisms of autonomous software agents and robots. Engineers exploring design strategies for systems sensitive to moral considerations in their choices and actions will need to determine what role ethical theory should play in defining control architectures for such systems. The architectures for morally intelligent agents fall within two broad approaches: the top-down imposition of ethical theories, and the bottom-up building of (...)
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  40. Colin Allen (2006). Ethics and the Science of Animal Minds. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 27 (4):375-394.
    Ethicists have commonly appealed to science to bolster their arguments for elevating the moral status of nonhuman animals. I describe a framework within which I take many ethicists to be making such appeals. I focus on an apparent gap in this framework between those properties of animals that are part of the scientific consensus, and those to which ethicists typically appeal in their arguments. I will describe two different ways of diminishing the appearance of the gap, and argue that both (...)
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  41. Colin Allen (2006). Transitive Inference in Animals: Reasoning or Conditioned Associations? In Susan L. Hurley & Matthew Nudds (eds.), Rational Animals? Oxford University Press.
     
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  42. R. J. Gatchel, Colin Allen & P. N. Fuchs (2006). Ethical Issues in Chronic Pain Research. In B. L. Gant & M. E. Schatman (eds.), Ethical Issues in Chronic Pain Management. 295.
    As the above quote clearly highlights, it is the responsibility of researchers and research supervisors to be certain that their research staff and students assistants are very familiar with all of the ethical principles and current standards relevant to the research they are conducting. Indeed, they must take an active role in being certain that their research staff and students complete appropriate training in these ethical principles and standards, and how they apply them to the research context in which they (...)
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  43. Robert J. Gatchel, Perry N. Fuchs & Colin Allen (2006). 18 Ethical Issues in Chronic Pain Research. In B. L. Gant & M. E. Schatman (eds.), Ethical Issues in Chronic Pain Management. 295.
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  44. Colin Allen, Animal Consciousness. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  45. Colin Allen (2005). Deciphering Animal Pain. In Murat Aydede (ed.), Pain: New Essays on Its Nature and the Methodology of Its Study. Cambridge MA: Bradford Book/MIT Press.
    In this paper we1 assess the potential for research on nonhuman animals to address questions about the phenomenology of painful experiences. Nociception, the basic capacity for sensing noxious stimuli, is widespread in the animal kingdom. Even rel- atively primitive animals such as leeches and sea slugs possess nociceptors, neurons that are functionally specialized for sensing noxious stimuli (Walters 1996). Vertebrate spinal cords play a sophisticated role in processing and modulating nociceptive signals, providing direct control of some motor responses to noxious (...)
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  46. Colin Allen & Marc Bekoff (2005). Animal Play and the Evolution of Morality: An Ethological Approach. Topoi 24 (2):125-135.
    In this paper we argue that there is much to learn about “wild justice” and the evolutionary origins of morality – behaving fairly – by studying social play behavior in group-living mammals. Because of its relatively wide distribution among the mammals, ethological investigation of play, informed by interdisciplinary cooperation, can provide a comparative perspective on the evolution of ethical behavior that is broader than is provided by the usual focus on primate sociality. Careful analysis of social play reveals rules of (...)
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  47. Colin Allen, Iva Smit & Wendell Wallach (2005). Artificial Morality: Top-Down, Bottom-Up, and Hybrid Approaches. [REVIEW] Ethics and Information Technology 7 (3):149-155.
    A principal goal of the discipline of artificial morality is to design artificial agents to act as if they are moral agents. Intermediate goals of artificial morality are directed at building into AI systems sensitivity to the values, ethics, and legality of activities. The development of an effective foundation for the field of artificial morality involves exploring the technological and philosophical issues involved in making computers into explicit moral reasoners. The goal of this paper is to discuss strategies for implementing (...)
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  48. Adam Shriver & Colin Allen (2005). Consciousness Might Matter Very Much. Philosophical Psychology 18 (1):113-22.
    Peter Carruthers argues that phenomenal consciousness might not matter very much either for the purpose of determining which nonhuman animals are appropriate objects of moral sympathy, or for the purpose of explaining for the similarities in behavior of humans and nonhumans. Carruthers bases these claims on his version of a dispositionalist higher-order thought (DHOT) theory of consciousness which allows that much of human behavior is the result of first-order beliefs that need not be conscious, and that prima facie judgments about (...)
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  49. Colin Allen (2004). Animal Pain. Noûs 38 (4):617-43.
    Which nonhuman animals experience conscious pain?1 This question is central to the debate about animal welfare, as well as being of basic interest to scientists and philosophers of mind. Nociception—the capacity to sense noxious stimuli—is one of the most primitive sensory capacities. Neurons functionally specialized for nociception have been described in invertebrates such as the leech Hirudo medicinalis and the marine snail Aplysia californica (Walters 1996). Is all nociception accompanied by conscious pain, even in relatively primitive animals such as Aplysia, (...)
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  50. Colin Allen (2004). Is Anyone a Cognitive Ethologist? Biology and Philosophy 19 (4):589-607.
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