Consciousness might matter very much

Philosophical Psychology 18 (1):113-22 (2005)
Peter Carruthers argues that phenomenal consciousness might not matter very much either for the purpose of determining which nonhuman animals are appropriate objects of moral sympathy, or for the purpose of explaining for the similarities in behavior of humans and nonhumans. Carruthers bases these claims on his version of a dispositionalist higher-order thought (DHOT) theory of consciousness which allows that much of human behavior is the result of first-order beliefs that need not be conscious, and that prima facie judgments about the importance of consciousness are due to confabulation. We argue briefly against his claim that 'the moral landscape can remain unchanged' even if all or nearly all nonhuman animals are taken to be incapable of conscious experience. We then show how a first-order representational (FOR) theory of consciousness might be defended against Carruthers' criticisms. Finally, we argue that Carruthers' appeal to confabulation undercuts his own arguments for an evolutionary explanation for consciousness, posing a greater epiphenomenalist threat to his DHOT theory than he concedes.
Keywords Animal  Consciousness  Epistemology  Phenomenon  Carruthers, Peter
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/09515080500085437
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 24,422
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Peter Carruthers (2004). Suffering Without Subjectivity. Philosophical Studies 121 (2):99-125.

View all 7 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

68 ( #71,688 of 1,924,897 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

5 ( #187,166 of 1,924,897 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.