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  1. Degrees of Consciousness.Andrew Y. Lee - forthcoming - Noûs.
    Is a human more conscious than an octopus? In the science of consciousness, it’s oftentimes assumed that some creatures (or mental states) are more conscious than others. But in recent years, a number of philosophers have argued that the notion of degrees of consciousness is conceptually confused. This paper (1) argues that the most prominent objections to degrees of consciousness are unsustainable, (2) examines the semantics of ‘more conscious than’ expressions, (3) develops an analysis of what it is for a (...)
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  • Animal Sentience.Heather Browning & Jonathan Birch - 2022 - Philosophy Compass 17 (5):e12822.
    ‘Sentience’ sometimes refers to the capacity for any type of subjective experience, and sometimes to the capacity to have subjective experiences with a positive or negative valence, such as pain or pleasure. We review recent controversies regarding sentience in fish and invertebrates and consider the deep methodological challenge posed by these cases. We then present two ways of responding to the challenge. In a policy-making context, precautionary thinking can help us treat animals appropriately despite continuing uncertainty about their sentience. In (...)
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  • The Hatching of Consciousness. [REVIEW]Jonathan Birch - 2021 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 43 (4):1-12.
    Peter Godfrey-Smith’s Metazoa and Joseph LeDoux’s The Deep History of Ourselves present radically different big pictures regarding the nature, evolution and distribution of consciousness in animals. In this essay review, I discuss the motivations behind these big pictures and try to steer a course between them.
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  • The Search for Invertebrate Consciousness.Jonathan Birch - 2022 - Noûs 56 (1):133-153.
    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 (...)
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