The origin and development of consciousness is poorly understood. Although it is clearly a naturalistic phenomenon evolved through Darwinian evolution, explaining it in terms of physicochemical, neural, or symbolic mechanisms remains elusive. Here I propose that two steps had to be taken in its evolution. First, living systems evolved an intrinsic goal-directedness by internalizing Darwinian fitness as a self-estimated fitness. The self-estimated fitness participates in a feedback loop that effectively produces intrinsic meaning in the organism. Second, animals with advanced nervous (...) systems evolved a special form of communication that modifies the way each partner estimates fitness. The resulting change in intrinsic meaning is experienced subjectively as a primary form of consciousness. This primary form is subsequently used to generate, partly through internalized dialogue, more complex forms of consciousness, such as consciousness of the natural and social worlds, consciousness of the self, and language-dependent forms of consciousness. An updated version of the theory in this paper can be found as Chapter 12 ('Consciousness') in my book 'The estimator theory of life and mind: how agency and consciousness can emerge', see VANTET-8 at philpapers . (shrink)
Many philosophers have held that we cannot say what it is like to be a bat as they present a fundamentally alien form of life. Another view held by some philosophers, bat scientists, and even many laypersons is that echolocation is, somehow, at least in part, a kind of visual experience. Either way, bat echolocation is taken to be something very mysterious and exotic. I utilize empirical and intuitive considerations to support an alternative view making a much more mundane contention (...) about bat phenomenology: echolocatory experience probably just has an auditory character. These points also call for further reflection on our intuitions about animal consciousness and standard arguments for the explanatory gap. (shrink)
If a machine attains consciousness, how could we find out? In this paper, I make three related claims regarding positive tests of machine consciousness. All three claims center on the idea that an AI can be constructed “ad hoc”, that is, with the purpose of satisfying a particular test of consciousness while clearly not being conscious. First, a proposed test of machine consciousness can be legitimate, even if AI can be constructed ad hoc specifically to pass this test. This is (...) underscored by the observation that many, if not all, putative tests of machine consciousness can be passed by non-conscious machines via ad hoc means. Second, we can identify ad hoc AI by taking inspiration from the notion of an ad hoc hypothesis in philosophy of science. Third, given the first and the second claim, the most reliable tests of animal consciousness turn out to be valid and useful positive tests of machine consciousness as well. If a non-ad hoc AI exhibits clusters of cognitive capacities facilitated by consciousness in humans which can be selectively switched off by masking and if it reproduces human behavior in suitably designed double dissociation tasks, we should treat the AI as conscious. (shrink)
A phenomenal concept is a concept that one possesses only if one has the relevant experience. In this essay, I argue that phenomenal concept theorists, namely, those who believe that we acquire phenomenal concepts through being acquainted with the relevant experience, can never succeed in determining which species of non-human animals are phenomenally conscious because they prohibit any a priori correlation between phenomenal and non-phenomenal concepts. I make my argument by first discussing several ways in which a phenomenal concept theorist (...) may explain which animal species are conscious, namely, with neuro-identity theory, behaviorism, and functionalism, and the problem that these approaches entail. I then illustrate how the alternative approaches of scientific inference to the best explanation, analogical inference, similarity inference, and inference by prototype face the same problem. (shrink)
This book attempts to advance Donald Griffin's vision of the "final, crowning chapter of the Darwinian revolution" by developing a philosophy for the science of animal consciousness. It advocates a Darwinian bottom-up approach that treats consciousness as a complex, evolved, and multidimensional phenomenon in nature rather than a mysterious all-or-nothing property immune to the tools of science and restricted to a single species. -/- The so-called emergence of a science of consciousness in the 1990s has at best been a science (...) of human consciousness. This book aims to advance a true Darwinian science of consciousness in which its evolutionary origin, function, and phylogenetic diversity are moved from the field’s periphery to its very centre, thus enabling us to integrate consciousness into an evolutionary view of life. Accordingly, this book has two objectives: (i) to argue for the need and possibility of an evolutionary bottom-up approach that addresses the problem of consciousness in terms of the evolutionary origins of a new ecological lifestyle that made consciousness worth having and (ii) to articulate a thesis and beginnings of a theory of the place of consciousness as a complex evolved phenomenon in nature that can help us to answer the question of what it is like to be a bat, an octopus, or a crow. -/- A Philosophy for the Science of Animal Consciousness will appeal to researchers and advanced students interested in advancing our understanding of animal minds as well as anyone with a keen interest in how we can develop a science of animal consciousness. (shrink)
My aim in this paper is to reconstruct Edmund Husserl’s views on the differences between human and animal consciousness, with particular attention to the experience of temporality.In the first section, I situate the topic of animal consciousness in the broader context of Husserl’s philosophy. Whereas this connection has been often neglected, I argue that a phenomenological analysis of non-human subjectivities is not only justified, but also essential to the Husserlian project as a whole.In the second section, I introduce two notions (...) Husserl resorts to when describing the essential difference between human and animal subjectivities, namely “strata of consciousness” and “person.” Drawing on textual evidence, I argue that Husserl does not simply see animals as excluded from the sphere of personhood. Rather, he draws a distinction between two modes of personal life, one of which is said to be unique to human adults.What holds these two modes apart, according to Husserl, is a subject’s relation to time. In the third section, I delve deeper into this topic, asking how we should understand Husserl’s claim that animals live in a “restricted temporality.” I argue that this has less to do with an inability to remember, imagine, or anticipate future events, and more with an inability to explore temporal horizons stretching before one’s birth or after one’s death. By contrast, humans gradually overcome these limitations during ontogeny, thanks to the practice of linguistic communication. This also has consequences for our capacity to engage in genuinely theoretical thought. (shrink)
Definitions of animal welfare often invoke consciousness or sentience. Marian Stamp Dawkins has argued that to define animal welfare this way is a mistake. In Dawkins’s alternative view, an animal with good welfare is one that is healthy and “has what it wants.” The dispute highlights a source of strain on the concept of animal welfare: consciousness-involving definitions are better able to capture the normative significance of welfare, whereas consciousness-free definitions facilitate the validation of welfare indicators. I reflect on how (...) the field should respond to this strain, ultimately recommending against splitting the concept and in favor of consciousness-involving definitions. (shrink)
There is no agreement on whether any invertebrates are conscious and no agreement on a methodology that could settle the issue. How can the debate move forward? I distinguish three broad types of approach: theory-heavy, theory-neutral and theory-light. Theory-heavy and theory-neutral approaches face serious problems, motivating a middle path: the theory-light approach. At the core of the theory-light approach is a minimal commitment about the relation between phenomenal consciousness and cognition that is compatible with many specific theories of consciousness: the (...) hypothesis that phenomenally conscious perception of a stimulus facilitates, relative to unconscious perception, a cluster of cognitive abilities in relation to that stimulus. This “facilitation hypothesis” can productively guide inquiry into invertebrate consciousness. What is needed? At this stage, not more theory, and not more undirected data gathering. What is needed is a systematic search for consciousness-linked cognitive abilities, their relationships to each other, and their sensitivity to masking. (shrink)
This editorial introduces the Journal of Consciousness Studies special issue on "Animal Consciousness". The 15 contributors and co-editors answer the question "How should we study animal consciousness scientifically?" in 500 words or fewer.
We consider the relationship between neural and behavioural evidence for animal consciousness. We critically examine two recent studies: one neural and one behavioural. The first, on crows, finds different neural activity depending on whether a stimulus is reported as seen or unseen. However, to implicate this neural activity in consciousness, we must assume that a specific conditioned behaviour is a report of conscious experience. The second study, on macaques, records behaviours strikingly similar to patterns of conscious and unconscious perception in (...) humans. However, confounds are only ruled out in human subjects, presupposing substantial neural similarity between humans and macaques. Taken together, the two studies reveal a sense in which neural and behavioural research rely on each other. Looking ahead, these two types of evidence could prove to be either mutually reinforcing or mutually undermining. The science of animal consciousness needs both neural and behavioural evidence, ideally obtained as part of a single coordinated programme. (shrink)
A spellbinding look at the philosophical and moral implications of animal dreaming Are humans the only dreamers on Earth? What goes on in the minds of animals when they sleep? When Animals Dream brings together behavioral and neuroscientific research on animal sleep with philosophical theories of dreaming. It shows that dreams provide an invaluable window into the cognitive and emotional lives of nonhuman animals, giving us access to a seemingly inaccessible realm of animal experience. David Peña-Guzmán uncovers evidence of animal (...) dreaming throughout the scientific literature, suggesting that many animals run “reality simulations” while asleep, with a dream-ego moving through a dynamic and coherent dreamscape. He builds a convincing case for animals as conscious beings and examines the thorny scientific, philosophical, and ethical questions it raises. Once we accept that animals dream, we incur a host of moral obligations and have no choice but to rethink our views about who animals are and the interior lives they lead. A mesmerizing journey into the otherworldly domain of nonhuman consciousness, When Animals Dream carries profound implications for contemporary debates about animal cognition, animal ethics, and animal rights, challenging us to regard animals as beings who matter, and for whom things matter. (shrink)
The goal of this programmatic paper is to highlight a close connection between the core problem in the philosophy of medicine, i.e. the concept of health, and the core problem of the philosophy of mind, i.e. the concept of consciousness. I show when we look at these phenomena together, taking the evolutionary perspective of modern state-based behavioural and life-history theory used as the teleonomic tool to Darwinize the agent- and subject-side of organisms, we will be in a better position to (...) make sense of them both as natural phenomena. (shrink)
In order to develop a true biological science of consciousness, we have to remove humans from the center of reference and develop a bottom-up comparative study of animal minds, as Donald Griffin intended with his call for a “cognitive ethology.” In this article, I make use of the pathological complexity thesis (Veit 2022a, b, c ) to show that we can firmly ground a comparative study of animal consciousness by drawing on the resources of state-based behavioral life history theory. By (...) comparing the different life histories of gastropods and arthropods, we will be able to make better sense of the possible origins of consciousness and its function for organisms in their natural environments. (shrink)
In this incisive study of the biological and cultural origins of the human self, the author challenges readers to re-think ideas about the self and consciousness as being exclusive to humans. In their place, he expounds a metatheoretical approach to the self as a purposeful system of extended cognition common to animal life: the invisible medium maintaining mind, body and environment as an integrated 'field of being'. Supported by recent research in evolutionary and developmental studies together with related discoveries in (...) animal behavior and the neurosciences, the author examines the factors that have shaped the evolution of the animal self across widely different species and times, through to the modern, technologically enmeshed human self; the differences between which, he contends, are relations of degree rather than absolute differences. We are, he concludes, instinctive and 'fuzzy' individuals clinging to fragile identities in an artificial and volatile world of humanity's own making, but which we now struggle to control. This book, which restores the self to its fundamental place in identity formation, will be of great interest for students and academics in the fields of social, developmental and environmental psychology, together with readers from other disciplines in the humanities, especially cultural theory and philosophy. (shrink)
We have structured our response according to five questions arising from the commentaries: (i) What is sentience? (ii) Is sentience a necessary or sufficient condition for moral standing? (iii) What methods should guide comparative cognitive research in general, and specifically in studying invertebrates? (iv) How should we balance scientific uncertainty and moral risk? (v) What practical strategies can help reduce biases and morally dismissive attitudes toward invertebrates?
How does consciousness vary across the animal kingdom? Are some animals ‘more conscious’ than others? This article presents a multidimensional framework for understanding interspecies variation in states of consciousness. The framework distinguishes five key dimensions of variation: perceptual richness, evaluative richness, integration at a time, integration across time, and self-consciousness. For each dimension, existing experiments that bear on it are reviewed and future experiments are suggested. By assessing a given species against each dimension, we can construct a consciousness profile for (...) that species. On this framework, there is no single scale along which species can be ranked as more or less conscious. Rather, each species has its own distinctive consciousness profile. (shrink)
Affective experience in nonhuman animals is of great interest for both theoretical and practical reasons. This paper highlights research by the psychologists Anthony Dickinson and Bernard Balleine which provides particularly good evidence of conscious affective experience in rats. This evidence is compelling because it implicates a sophisticated system for goal-directed action selection, and demonstrates a contrast between apparently conscious and unconscious evaluative representations with similar content. Meanwhile, the evidence provided by some well-known studies on pain in nonhuman animals is much (...) less convincing. This comparison may offer lessons for the future study of animal consciousness. (shrink)
*Please email me for a copy of the paper if you are interested! -/- Liberal theories of animal consciousness maintain that we should attribute consciousness widely across various species. Conservative theories of animal consciousness maintain that we should not attribute consciousness widely. This paper makes a case for a conservative theory of animal consciousness. The case depends on two defensive moves and one offensive move. The defensive moves indicate that the indistinguishable causal profiles of conscious and non-conscious mental states are (...) not a problem for conservative theories and that intuitions about animal consciousness should not play a role in theory selection. Offensively, I argue that liberal theories of animal consciousness are less parsimonious than conservative theories. The upshot is that liberal theories of animal consciousness are not obviously rationally preferable to conservative theories. (shrink)
The question “are garden snails conscious?” or equivalently “is there something it’s like to be a garden snail?” admits of three possible answers: yes, no, and denial that the question admits of a yes-or-no answer. All three answers have some antecedent plausibility, prior to the application of theories of consciousness. All three answers retain their plausibility after the application of theories of consciousness. This is because theories of consciousness, when applied to such a different species, are inevitably question-begging and rely (...) crucially on dubious extrapolation from the introspections and verbal reports of a single species. (shrink)
Objective To review the way consciousness is operationalised in contemporary research, discuss strengths and weaknesses of current approaches and propose new measures. Method We first reviewed the literature pertaining to the phenomenal character of visual and self-consciousness as well as awareness of visual stimuli. We also reviewed more problematic cases of dreams and animal consciousness, specifically that of octopuses. Results Despite controversies, work in visual and self consciousness is highly developed and there are notable successes. Cases where experiences are not (...) induced, such as dreams, and where no verbal report is possible, such as when we study purported experiences of octopuses, are more challenging. It is difficult to be confident about the reliability and validity of operationalisations of dreams. Although this is a general concern about the measuring consciousness, it is not a sufficiently severe concern to completely undermine the work reviewed on vision and self-consciousness. It is more difficult to see how the good work on human psychology can be applied to non-human animals, especially those with radically different nervous systems, such as octopuses. Given the limitations of report-based operationalisations of consciousness, it is desirable to develop non-report-based measures, particularly for phenomenal qualities. We examine a number of possibilities and offer two possible approaches of varying degrees of practicality, the first based on combining quality space descriptions of phenomenal qualities and the notion of a “neural activation space” inherited from connectionist A.I., the second being a novel match to target approach Conclusion Consciousness is a multifacted phenomenon and requires a variety of operationalisations to be studied. (shrink)
Opponents to consciousness in fish argue that fish do not feel pain because they do not have a neocortex, which is a necessary condition for feeling pain. A common counter-argument appeals to the multiple realizability of pain: while a neocortex might be necessary for feeling pain in humans, pain might be realized differently in fish. This paper argues, first, that it is impossible to find a criterion allowing us to demarcate between plausible and implausible cases of multiple realization of pain (...) without running into a circular argument. Second, opponents to consciousness in fish cannot be provided with reasons to believe in the multiple realizability of pain. I conclude that the debate on the existence of pain in fish is impossible to settle by relying on the multiple realization argument. (shrink)
While seeking novel food sources to feed the increasing population of the globe, several alternatives have been discussed, including algae, fungi or in vitro meat. The increasingly propagated usage of farmed insects for human nutrition raises issues regarding food safety, consumer information and animal protection. In line with law, insects like any other animals must not be reared or manipulated in a way that inflicts unnecessary pain, distress or harm on them. Currently, there is a great need for research in (...) the area of insect welfare, especially regarding species-specific needs, health, farming systems and humane methods of killing. Recent results from neurophysiological, neuroanatomical and behavioral sciences prompt caution when denying consciousness and therefore the likelihood of presence of pain and suffering or something closely related to it to insects. From an animal protection point of view, these issues should be satisfyingly solved before propagating and establishing intensive husbandry systems for insects as a new type of mini-livestock factory farming. (shrink)
Experimenters claim some nonhuman mammals have metacognition. If correct, the results indicate some animal minds are more complex than ordinarily presumed. However, some philosophers argue for a deflationary reading of metacognition experiments, suggesting that the results can be explained in first-order terms. We agree with the deflationary interpretation of the data but we argue that the metacognition research forces the need to recognize a heretofore underappreciated feature in the theory of animal minds, which we call Unity. The disparate mental states (...) of an animal must be unified if deflationary accounts of metacognition are to hold and untoward implications avoided. Furthermore, once Unity is acknowledged, the deflationary interpretation of the experiments reveals an elevated moral standing for the nonhumans in question. (shrink)
Radical and autopoietic enactivists disagree concerning how to understand the concept of sense-making in enactivist discourse and the extent of its distribution within the organic domain. I situate this debate within a broader conflict of commitments to naturalism on the part of radical enactivists, and to phenomenology on the part of autopoietic enactivists. I argue that autopoietic enactivists are in part responsible for the obscurity of the notion of sense-making by attributing it univocally to sentient and non-sentient beings and following (...) Hans Jonas in maintaining a phenomenological dimension to life-mind continuity among all living beings, sentient or non-sentient. I propose following Merleau-Ponty instead, who offers a properly phenomenological notion of sense-making for which sentience is a necessary condition. Against radicalist efforts to replace sense-making with a deflationary, naturalist conception of intentionality, I discuss the role of the phenomenological notion of sense-making for understanding animal behavior and experience. (shrink)
This article surveys philosophical and scientific issues arising from questions about animal consciousness. These questions include: which animals have consciousness and what (if anything) that consciousness might be like. Just what sort(s) of science can bear on these questions is a live issue, but investigations of the behavior and neurophysiology of a wide taxonomic range of animals, as well as the phylogenetic relationships among taxa are relevant. Such questions are also deeply philosophical, with epistemological, metaphysical, and phenomenological dimensions. Progress will (...) ultimately require interdisciplinary work by philosophers willing to engage with the empirical details of animal biology, as well as scientists who are sensitive to the philosophical complexities of the issue. The article discusses motivations for studying animal consciousness, and the common framing of such issues by analogy to the human case. Various concepts of consciousness, their historical background, and the related epistemological and metaphysical issues are described. Theories about the structure and function of consciousness are identified and assessed in the context of ideas about the evolution and distribution of consciousness, and comparative approaches to specific cognitive capacities that have often been taken to indicate that humans are not the only conscious animals. (shrink)
While philosophers have been interested in animals since ancient times, in the last few decades the subject of animal minds has emerged as a major topic in philosophy. _The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Animal Minds_ is an outstanding reference source to the key topics, problems and debates in this exciting subject and is the first collection of its kind. Comprising nearly fifty chapters by a team of international contributors, the _Handbook_ is divided into eight parts: Mental representation Reasoning and (...) metacognition Consciousness Mindreading Communication Social cognition and culture Association, simplicity, and modeling Ethics. Within these sections central issues, debates and problems are examined, including: whether and how animals represent and reason about the world; how animal cognition differs from human cognition; whether animals are conscious; whether animals represent their own mental states or those of others; how animals communicate; the extent to which animals have cultures; how to choose among competing models and explanations of animal behavior; and whether animals are moral agents and/or moral patients; The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Animal Minds is essential reading for students and researchers in philosophy of mind, philosophy of psychology, ethics and related disciplines such as ethology, biology, psychology, linguistics and anthropology. (shrink)
In debates about animal sentience, the precautionary principle is often invoked. The idea is that when the evidence of sentience is inconclusive, we should “give the animal the benefit of the doubt” or “err on the side of caution” in formulating animal protection legislation. Yet there remains confusion as to whether it is appropriate to apply the precautionary principle in this context, and, if so, what “applying the precautionary principle” means in practice regarding the burden of proof for animal sentience. (...) Here I construct a version of the precautionary principle tailored to the question of animal sentience together with a practical framework for implementing it. I explain and defend the key features of this framework, argue that it is well-aligned with current practice in animal welfare science, and consider and reject a number of influential counterarguments to the use of precautionary reasoning in this area. (shrink)
Birch’s formulation is persuasive but not nuanced enough to capture at least one situation where it is reasonable to invoke the precautionary principle (PP): when we have multiple, weak, but convergent, lines of evidence that a species is sentient, but no statistically significant evidence of a single credible indicator of sentience within the order as required by BAR. I respond to the worry that if we include such cases in our framework for applying the PP, we open ourselves to the (...) charge of being “unscientific.”. (shrink)
How has multiplicity superseded impossibility in philosophical challenges to artificial consciousness? I assess a trajectory in recent debates on artificial consciousness, in which metaphysical and explanatory challenges to the possibility of building conscious machines lead to epistemological concerns about the multiplicity underlying ‘what it is like’ to be a conscious creature or be in a conscious state. First, I analyse earlier challenges which claim that phenomenal consciousness cannot arise, or cannot be built, in machines. These are based on Block’s Chinese (...) Nation and Chalmers’ Hard Problem. To defuse such challenges, theorists of artificial consciousness can appeal to empirical methods and models of explanation. Second, I explain why this naturalistic approach produces an epistemological puzzle on the role of biological properties in phenomenal consciousness. Neither behavioural tests nor theoretical inferences seem to settle whether our machines are conscious. Third, I evaluate whether the new challenge can be managed through a more fine-grained taxonomy of conscious states. This strategy is supported by the development of similar taxonomies for biological species and animal consciousness. Although it makes sense of some current models of artificial consciousness, it raises questions about their subjective and moral significance. (shrink)
After reviewing the literature on current knowledge about consciousness in humans, we present a state-of-the art discussion on consciousness and related key concepts in animals. Obviously much fewer publications are available on non-human species than on humans, most of them relating to laboratory or wild animal species, and only few to livestock species. Human consciousness is by definition subjective and private. Animal consciousness is usually assessed through behavioural performance. Behaviour involves a wide array of cognitive processes that have to be (...) assessed separately using specific experimental protocols. Accordingly, several processes indicative of the presence of consciousness are discussed: perception and cognition, awareness of the bodily-self, self-related knowledge of the environment (including social environment). When available, specific examples are given in livestock species. Next, we review the existing evidence regarding neuronal correlates of consciousness, and emphasize the difficulty of linking aspects of consciousness to specific neural structures across the phyla because high-level cognitive abilities may have evolved independently along evolution. Several mammalian brain structures (cortex and midbrain) are involved in the manifestations of consciousness, while the equivalent functional structures for birds and fishes would likely be the pallium/tectum and midbrain. Caution is required before excluding consciousness in species not having the same brain structures as the mammalian ones as different neural architectures may mediate comparable processes. Finally, specific neurophysiological mechanisms appear to be strongly linked to the emergence of consciousness, namely neural synchrony and neural feedback. Considering the limited amount of data available and the few animal species studied so far, we conclude that different manifestations of consciousness can be observed in animals but that further refinement is still needed to characterize their level and content in each species. Further research is required to clarify these issues, especially in livestock species. (shrink)
The ability to engage in reflexive thought—in thought about thought or about other mental states more generally—is regarded as a complex intellectual achievement that is beyond the capacities of most nonhuman animals. To the extent that reflexive thought capacities are believed necessary for the possession of many other psychological states or capacities, including consciousness, belief, emotion, and empathy, the inability of animals to engage in reflexive thought calls into question their other psychological abilities. This chapter attacks the idea that reflexive (...) thought is required in this pervasive way and holds that supposing that it is derives from a tendency among philosophers and scientists toward overcomplication. Against this tendency, it recommends an aponoian framework, from apó, “away from” and noûs, “intelligence” or “thought,” arguing that seemingly complex psychological abilities are often not as complex as they seem, and do not require the ability to engage in reflexive thought. (shrink)
Rowlands’s case for attributing personhood to lower animals is ultimately convincing, but along the way he fails to highlight several distinctions that are crucial for his argument: Personhood vs. personal identity; the first person vs. its mental episodes; and pre- reflective awareness in general vs. one specific case of it.
If Klein & Barron are right, then insects may well be able to feel pain. If they can, then the standard approach to animal ethics generates some implausible results. Philosophers need to develop alternatives to this framework to avoid them.
[The Concept of Animal Mind] A critical analysis and assessment of the current philosophical theories of animal cognition and consciousness. The contents: 1. The concept of mind; 2. Other minds; 3. Can animals think?; 4. Do animals have concsiousness?; 5. Conclusion.
Lilly was one of the greatest scientists and pioneers on the limits of human possibility but after his death a collective amnesia has descended and he is now almost forgotten. His Wiki is good but inevitably incomplete so here are a few missing details and viewpoints. Lilly was a generation (or more) ahead of his time. He is almost single-handedly responsible for the great interest in dolphins (which led to the Marine Mammal Protection Act in the USA and helped to (...) found the animal rights movement). In 1958 he noted that the brains of elephants and cetaceans were larger than ours, that we should not abuse them and that it was one our most important projects to communicate with them. He invented sensory isolation tanks (at NIMH in 1954) and used them extensively with and without powerful psychoactive drugs at a time when it was thought that either the brain would shut down or one would go insane if external stimuli were eliminated. He created methods for implanting electrodes in mammal brains and was planning to do it to himself. He was one of the first to make serious use of computers in bioscience research and created the hardware and software to make the first attempts to communicate with dolphins. He self experimented with dangerous physiological investigations in high altitude medicine for the military during WW2, took LSD with dolphins and movie stars, submitted himself to the rigors of various forms of yoga and of Arica training, and taught classes at Esalen. He was a computer pioneer who forsaw the rapid advances in A.I. and it's inevitable clash with humans. He was the first one to investigate the bizarre psychedelic ketamine (" vitamin K "), and his results (published in the two last chapters of his book `The Scientist`) are still the best data on the dose/effect relation of any psychedelic on one person. It cured his lifelong daily migraine headaches (see http://www.conspiracyarchive.com/UFOs/Gorightly.htm). And all this happened before most of us were born! He had courage, honesty and integrity that is rare anywhere and almost nonexistent in science. His goal was to find the ultimate truth about everything and he went about as far as anyone ever has. He had little patience with the stupid and hypocritical games one has to play to fit into monkey society. Of course the reaction of the establishment was predictable. He left the NIMH and was never given any government or academic support for the last 35 years of his life. His paper and comments at a conference on sensory deprivation were removed from the published version. He was not invited to government sponsored symposia on dolphins (he had refused to help develop them as weapons), though he clearly knew more about them than anyone in the world. He liked to live and work on the edge and few could keep up with him, as his books make clear. If you have read some of his other books it will be much easier going. He was a pioneer in consciousness research and pushed the boundaries of our understanding of who we are and what we might become. Among other things he catalogs the various states reached by drugs, meditation, and isolation, tries to determine their significance, and suggests how to use them. I very briefly review and comment on his life and work. -/- Those interested in all my writings in their most recent versions may download from this site my e-book ‘Philosophy, Human Nature and the Collapse of Civilization Michael Starks (2016)- Articles and Reviews 2006-2016’ by Michael Starks First Ed. 662p (2016). -/- All of my papers and books have now been published in revised versions both in ebooks and in printed books. -/- Talking Monkeys: Philosophy, Psychology, Science, Religion and Politics on a Doomed Planet - Articles and Reviews 2006-2017 (2017) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071HVC7YP. -/- The Logical Structure of Philosophy, Psychology, Mind and Language in Ludwig Wittgenstein and John Searle--Articles and Reviews 2006-2016 (2017) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071P1RP1B. -/- Suicidal Utopian Delusions in the 21st century: Philosophy, Human Nature and the Collapse of Civilization - Articles and Reviews 2006-2017 (2017) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0711R5LGX -/- . (shrink)
Rowlands offers a de-intellectualised account of personhood that is meant to secure the unity of a mental life. I argue that his characterisation also singles out a morally relevant feature of individuals. Along the same lines that the orthodox understanding of personhood reflects a fundamental precondition for moral agency, Rowlands’s notion provides a fundamental precondition for moral patienthood.
Consciousness attracts the attention of researchers representing various disciplines. Hence, there is a demand for a theoretical tool that could integrate data and theoretical concepts originating from distinct fields. The paper proposes to use the framework of the theory of integrative levels. The development and the definitions of the concept of levels are briefly discussed. The final part of the paper presents a proposal for incorporating the levels of consciousness into the framework of the integrative levels theory.
Evolutionary epistemology (Lorenz, Vollmer) and value-driven decision theory (Pugh) are used to explain the fundamental properties of consciousness. It is shown that this approach is compatible with global workspace theory (Baars) and global neuronal workspace theory (De Haene). The emotions are, however, that what drives consciousness. A hypothetical evolutionary tree of the emotions is given – intended to show that consciousness evolves and is probably qualitatively different in different groups of animals.
A consideration of some of the most common questions about animal minds.Do birds have feelings? Can fish feel pain? Could a honeybee be anxious? For centuries, the question of whether or not animals are conscious like humans has prompted debates among philosophers and scientists. While most people gladly accept that complex mammals - such as dogs - share emotions and experiences with us, the matter of simpler creatures is much less clear. Meanwhile, the advent of the digital age and artificial (...) intelligence has created an added dimension to questions about non-human consciousness. In Tense Bees and Shell-Shocked Crabs, Michael Tye offers answers to some of today's most pressing questions about nonhuman consciousness. Blending the latest research about animal sensation with theories about the nature of consciousness, Tye develops a methodology for addressing the mysteries of the animal mind. Without endorsing any specific theory on the nature of consciousness, Tye tackles issues such as the animal experience of pain and fear, and the role of brain anatomy in determining consciousness. He then turns his attention to the artificial realm, considering whether complex robots could ever be considered conscious. Tye concludes with a discussion of how, if we consider animals conscious, this might impact our ethical obligations to them. From insects to crabs, fish to birds, Tense Bees and Shell-Shocked Crabs offers an insightful exploration of the ways in which animals relate to the world. Tense Bees and Shell-Shocked Crabs will appeal to students and scholars of philosophy and neuroscience, as well as general readers with an interest in animal and environmental ethics. (shrink)
In “What is it like to be boring and myopic?” Kathleen Akins offers an interesting, empirically driven, argument for thinking that there is nothing that it is like to be a bat. She suggests that bats are “boring” in the sense that they are governed by behavioral scripts and simple, non-representational, control loops, and are best characterized as biological automatons. Her approach has been well received by philosophers sympathetic to empirically informed philosophy of mind. But, despite its influence, her work (...) has not met with any critical appraisal. -/- It is argued that a reconsideration of the empirical results shows that bats are not boring automatons, driven by short input-output loops, instincts, and reflexes. Grounds are provided for thinking that bats satisfy a range of philosophically and scientifically interesting elaborations of the general idea that consciousness is best understood in terms of representational functions. A more complete examination of bat sensory capabilities suggests there is something that it is like after all. -/- The discussion of bats is also used to develop an objection to strongly neurophilosophical approaches to animal consciousness. (shrink)
Consciousness occurs when one is in a state of awareness of one’s self and the external environment. Quantum consciousness is computed within the cytoskeleton of the cells; basic units of life which comprise of unicellular and multicellular animal life. Consciousness has always been linked to the nervous system but there are several studies that have recorded conscious behaviors in animals with and without nerve cells. Animal behavior is represented as conscious moment, which occurs due to an event, which may be (...) intentional or unintentional. The existence of consciousness in animals can be based on the exhibited behaviors and its comparison to multifaceted conscious behaviors observed in higher beings; which is driven by protein conformational changes within the cytoskeleton network of cells, performed within the domains of space time geometry. (shrink)