Authors
Alexander Klein
McMaster University
Abstract
ABSTRACTPhysiologists have long known that some vertebrates can survive for months without a brain. This phenomenon attracted limited attention until the nineteenth century when a series of experiments on living, decapitated frogs ignited a controversy about consciousness. Pflüger demonstrated that such creatures do not just exhibit reflexes; they also perform purposive behaviours. Suppose one thinks, along with Pflüger's ally Lewes, that purposive behaviour is a mark of consciousness. Then one must count a decapitated frog as conscious. If one rejects this mark, one can avoid saying peculiar things about decapitated animals. But as Huxley showed, this position leads quickly to epiphenomenalism. The dispute long remained stalemated because it rested on conflicting sets of intuitions that were each compatible with the growing body of experiments. What eventually resolved it is that one set of intuitions supported a research programme in physiology that came to seem more fruitful on the whole. So my case st...
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DOI 10.1080/09608788.2017.1378866
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References found in this work BETA

On a Confusion About a Function of Consciousness.Ned Block - 1995 - Brain and Behavioral Sciences 18 (2):227-–247.
Facing Up to the Problem of Consciousness.David Chalmers - 1995 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 2 (3):200-19.
Two Conceptions of Subjective Experience.Justin Sytsma & Edouard Machery - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 151 (2):299-327.
Experimental Philosophy.Joshua Knobe - 2007 - The Philosophers' Magazine 50:72-73.

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Citations of this work BETA

Fish and Microchips: On Fish Pain and Multiple Realization.Matthias Michel - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (9):2411-2428.
Erratum.[author unknown] - 2018 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 26 (5):II-II.

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