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The Search for Invertebrate Consciousness

Noûs 56 (1):133-153 (2022)

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  1. Husserl on Minimal Mind and the Origins of Consciousness in the Natural World.Bence Peter Marosan - 2022 - Husserl Studies 38 (2):107-127.
    The main aim of this article is to offer a systematic reconstruction of Husserl’s theory of minimal mind and his ideas pertaining to the lowest level of consciousness in living beings. In this context, the term ‘minimal mind’ refers to the mental sphere and capacities of the simplest conceivable subject. This topic is of significant contemporary interest for philosophy of mind and empirical research into the origins of consciousness. I contend that Husserl’s reflections on minimal mind offer a fruitful contribution (...)
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  • Assessing Tests of Animal Consciousness.Leonard Dung - 2022 - Consciousness and Cognition 105:103410.
    Which animals have conscious experiences? Many different, diverse and unrelated behaviors and cognitive capacities have been proposed as tests of the presence of consciousness in an animal. It is unclear which of these tests, if any, are valid. To remedy this problem, I develop a list consisting of eight desiderata which can be used to assess putative tests of animal consciousness. These desiderata are based either on detailed analogies between consciousness-linked human behavior and non-human behavior, on theories of consciousness or (...)
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  • Materialism and the Moral Status of Animals.Jonathan Birch - 2022 - Philosophical Quarterly 72 (4):795-815.
    Consciousness has an important role in ethics: when a being consciously experiences the frustration or satisfaction of its interests, those interests deserve higher moral priority than those of a behaviourally similar but non-conscious being. I consider the relationship between this ethical role and an a posteriori (or “type-B”) materialist solution to the mind-body problem. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that, if type-B materialism is correct, then the reference of the concept of phenomenal consciousness is radically indeterminate between a (...)
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  • The Functional Contributions of Consciousness.Dylan Ludwig - 2022 - Consciousness and Cognition 104:103383.
  • Nonhuman Animals and the All Affected Interests Principle.Pablo Magaña - forthcoming - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy:1-24.
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  • Animal Cognition.Kristin Andrews - 2010 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Entry for the Stanford Encylcopedia of Philosophy.
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  • Animal Cognition.Kristin Andrews & Susana Monsó - 2021 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Rewritten entry for the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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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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  • New Omnivorism: A Novel Approach to Food and Animal Ethics.Christopher Bobier & Josh Milburn - 2022 - Food Ethics 7 (1).
    New omnivorism is a term coined by Andy Lamey to refer to arguments that – paradoxically – our duties towards animals require us to eat some animal products. Lamey’s claim to have identified a new, distinctive position in food ethics is problematic, however, for some of his interlocutors are not new, not distinctive, and not obviously concerned with eating animals. It is the aim of this paper to bolster Lamey’s argument that he has identified a novel, unified, and intriguing position (...)
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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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  • Animal Consciousness: The Interplay of Neural and Behavioural Evidence.Andrew Crump & Jonathan Birch - 2022 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 29 (3-4):104-128.
    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 (...)
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  • The Learning-Consciousness Connection.Jonathan Birch, Simona Ginsburg & Eva Jablonka - 2021 - Biology and Philosophy 36 (5):1-14.
    This is a response to the nine commentaries on our target article “Unlimited Associative Learning: A primer and some predictions”. Our responses are organized by theme rather than by author. We present a minimal functional architecture for Unlimited Associative Learning that aims to tie to together the list of capacities presented in the target article. We explain why we discount higher-order thought theories of consciousness. We respond to the criticism that we have overplayed the importance of learning and underplayed the (...)
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  • Separating Conscious and Unconscious Perception in Animals.Andrew Crump & Jonathan Birch - 2021 - Learning and Behavior 49 (4).
    In a new study, Ben-Haim et al. use subliminal stimuli to separate conscious and unconscious perception in macaques. A programme of this type, using a range of cognitive tasks, is a promising way to look for conscious perception in more controversial cases.
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  • Non‐Human Consciousness and the Specificity Problem: A Modest Theoretical Proposal.Henry Shevlin - 2021 - Mind and Language 36 (2):297-314.
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  • Subjective Experience in Explanations of Animal PTSD Behavior.Kate Nicole Hoffman - 2020 - Philosophical Topics 48 (1):155-175.
    Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental health condition in which the experience of a traumatic event causes a series of psychiatric and behavioral symptoms such as hypervigilance, insomnia, irritability, aggression, constricted affect, and self-destructive behavior. This paper investigates two case studies to argue that the experience of PTSD is not restricted to humans alone; we have good epistemic reason to hold that some animals can experience genuine PTSD, given our current and best clinical understanding of the disorder in humans. I (...)
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  • The Measurement Problem of Consciousness.Heather Browning & Walter Veit - 2020 - Philosophical Topics 48 (1):85-108.
    This paper addresses what we consider to be the most pressing challenge for the emerging science of consciousness: the measurement problem of consciousness. That is, by what methods can we determine the presence of and properties of consciousness? Most methods are currently developed through evaluation of the presence of consciousness in humans and here we argue that there are particular problems in application of these methods to nonhuman cases—what we call the indicator validity problem and the extrapolation problem. The first (...)
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  • Neural Organoids and the Precautionary Principle.Jonathan Birch & Heather Browning - 2021 - American Journal of Bioethics 21 (1):56-58.
    Human neural organoid research is advancing rapidly. As Greely notes in the target article, this progress presents an “onrushing ethical dilemma.” We can’t rule out the possibility that suff...
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