Noûs 56 (1):133-153 (2022)

Authors
Jonathan Birch
London School of Economics
Abstract
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.
Keywords animal consciousness  phenomenal consciousness  animal cognition  insect cognition  bee cognition  global workspace theory
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Reprint years 2022
DOI 10.1111/nous.12351
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References found in this work BETA

What is It Like to Be a Bat?Thomas Nagel - 1974 - Philosophical Review 83 (October):435-50.
A Cognitive Theory of Consciousness.Bernard J. Baars - 1988 - Cambridge University Press.
Consciousness and Mind.David M. Rosenthal - 2005 - Oxford University Press UK.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Measurement Problem of Consciousness.Heather Browning & Walter Veit - 2020 - Philosophical Topics 48 (1):85-108.
Materialism and the Moral Status of Animals.Jonathan Birch - forthcoming - Philosophical Quarterly.
Animal Sentience.Heather Browning & Jonathan Birch - 2022 - Philosophy Compass 17 (5):e12822.
Neural Organoids and the Precautionary Principle.Jonathan Birch & Heather Browning - 2021 - American Journal of Bioethics 21 (1):56-58.

View all 13 citations / Add more citations

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