William James and the evolution of consciousness


Abstract
Despite having been relegated to the realm of superstition during the dominant years of behaviorism, the investigation and discussion of consciousness has again become scientifically defensible. However, attempts at describing animal consciousness continue to be criticized for lacking independent criteria that identify the presence or absence of the phenomenon. William James recognized that mental traits are subject to the same evolutionary processes as are physical characteristics and must therefore be represented in differing levels of complexity throughout the animal kingdom. James's proposals with regard to animal consciousness are outlined and followed by a discussion of 3 classes of animal consciousness derived from empirical research. These classes are presented to defend both James's proposals and the position that a theory of animal consciousness can be scientifically supported. It is argued that by using particular behavioral expressions to index consciousness and by providing empirical tests by which to elicit these behavioral expressions, a scientifically defensible theory of animal consciousness can be developed. 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Keywords empirically-based theory of evolution of animal consciousness based on proposals of W. James
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1037/h0091189
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 46,425
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Pleasure's Role in Evolution: A Response to Robinson.Joseph Corabi - 2008 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 15 (7):78-86.
William James.Max Carl Otto (ed.) - 1942 - Madison, the University of Wisconsin Press.
Consciousness and Biological Evolution.B. I. B. Lindahl - 1997 - Journal of Theoretical Biology 187 (4):613-29.
Beyond “the Fringe”: A Cautionary Critique of William James.Dan Lloyd - 2000 - Consciousness and Cognition 9 (4):629-637.
The Evolution of Consciousness: William James' Unresolved Problem.I. M. Glynn - 1993 - Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society 68:599-616.
Evolution and Pragmatism: An Unpublished Letter of William James.Ignas K. Skrupskelis - 2007 - Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 43 (4):745 - 752.
Consciousness Evolves When the Self Dissolves.James H. Austin - 2000 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 7 (11-12):209-230.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2010-09-14

Total views
49 ( #181,241 of 2,286,379 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #417,385 of 2,286,379 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature