Philosophical Psychology 34 (4):474-501 (2021)

Kenneth Williford
University of Texas at Arlington
Several influential philosophers and scientists have advanced a framework, often called Neo-Cartesianism (NC), according to which animal suffering is merely apparent. Drawing upon contemporary neuroscience and philosophy of mind, Neo-Cartesians challenge the mainstream position we shall call Evolutionary Continuity (EC), the view that humans are on a nonhierarchical continuum with other species and are thus not likely to be unique in consciously experiencing negative pain affect. We argue that some Neo-Cartesians have misconstrued the underlying science or tendentiously appropriated controversial views in the philosophy of mind. We discuss recent evidence that undermines the simple neuroanatomical structure-function correlation thesis that undergirds many Neo-Cartesian arguments, has an important bearing on the recent controversy over pain in fish, and places the underlying epistemology framing the debate between NC and EC in a new light that strengthens the EC position.
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DOI 10.1080/09515089.2021.1914829
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On a Confusion About a Function of Consciousness.Ned Block - 1995 - Brain and Behavioral Sciences 18 (2):227-–247.
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