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  1. Complexity and the Evolution of Consciousness.Walter Veit - forthcoming - Biological Theory:1-16.
    This article introduces and defends the “pathological complexity thesis” as a hypothesis about the evolutionary origins of minimal consciousness, or sentience, that connects the study of animal consciousness closely with work in behavioral ecology and evolutionary biology. I argue that consciousness is an adaptive solution to a design problem that led to the extinction of complex multicellular animal life following the Avalon explosion and that was subsequently solved during the Cambrian explosion. This is the economic trade-off problem of having to (...)
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  • Towards a Comparative Study of Animal Consciousness.Walter Veit - forthcoming - Biological Theory:1-12.
    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 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 (...)
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  • Experimental philosophy of medicine and the concepts of health and disease.Walter Veit - 2021 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 42 (3):169-186.
    If one had to identify the biggest change within the philosophical tradition in the twenty-first century, it would certainly be the rapid rise of experimental philosophy to address differences in intuitions about concepts. It is, therefore, surprising that the philosophy of medicine has so far not drawn on the tools of experimental philosophy in the context of a particular conceptual debate that has overshadowed all others in the field: the long-standing dispute between so-called naturalists and normativists about the concepts of (...)
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  • Agential Thinking.Walter Veit - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):13393-13419.
    In his 2009 monograph, Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection, Peter Godfrey-Smith accuses biologists of demonstrating ‘Darwinian Paranoia’ when they engage in what he dubs ‘agential thinking’. But as Daniel Dennett points out, he offers neither an illuminating set of examples nor an extended argument for this assertion, deeming it to be a brilliant propaganda stroke against what is actually a useful way of thinking. Compared to the dangers of teleological thinking in biology, the dangers of agential thinking have unfortunately rarely (...)
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  • Phenomenology Applied to Animal Health and Suffering.Walter Veit & Heather Browning - 2021 - In Susi Ferrarello (ed.), Phenomenology of Bioethics: Technoethics and Lived Experience. Springer. pp. 73-88.
    What is it like to be a bat? What is it like to be sick? These two questions are much closer to one another than has hitherto been acknowledged. Indeed, both raise a number of related, albeit very complex, philosophical problems. In recent years, the phenomenology of health and disease has become a major topic in bioethics and the philosophy of medicine, owing much to the work of Havi Carel (2007, 2011, 2018). Surprisingly little attention, however, has been given to (...)
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