Individuality, subjectivity, and minimal cognition

Biology and Philosophy 31 (6):775-796 (2016)
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Abstract

The paper links discussions of two topics: biological individuality and the simplest forms of mentality. I discuss several attempts to locate the boundary between metabolic activity and ‘minimal cognition.’ I then look at differences between the kinds of individuality present in unicellular life, multicellular life in general, and animals of several kinds. Nervous systems, which are clearly relevant to cognition and subjectivity, also play an important role in the form of individuality seen in animals. The last part of the paper links these biological transitions to the evolutionary history of subjective experience.

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Author's Profile

Peter Godfrey-Smith
University of Sydney

References found in this work

Mind in Life: Biology, Phenomenology, and the Sciences of Mind.Evan Thompson - 2007 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Origins of Objectivity.Tyler Burge - 2010 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
The View From Nowhere.Thomas Nagel - 1986 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Material beings.Peter Van Inwagen - 1990 - Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
Signals: Evolution, Learning, and Information.Brian Skyrms - 2010 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.

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