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Hard, Harder, Hardest

In Arthur Sullivan (ed.), Sensations, Thoughts, and Language: Essays in Honor of Brian Loar. New York, USA: Routledge. pp. 265-289 (2020)

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  1. Materialism and the Moral Status of Animals.Jonathan Birch - manuscript
    Consciousness has an important role in ethics: when a being consciously experiences the frustration or satisfaction of its interests, those interests deserve higher moral priority than those of a behaviourally similar but non-conscious being. I consider the relationship between this ethical role and an a posteriori (or “type-B”) materialist solution to the mind-body problem. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that, if type-B materialism is correct, then the reference of the concept of phenomenal consciousness is radically indeterminate between a (...)
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  • Global Workspace Theory and Animal Consciousness.Jonathan Birch - forthcoming - Philosophical Topics.
    Carruthers has recently argued for a surprising conditional: if a global workspace theory of phenomenal consciousness is both correct and fully reductive, then there are no substantive facts to discover about phenomenal consciousness in non-human animals. I present two problems for this conditional. First, it rests on an odd double-standard about the ordinary concept of phenomenal consciousness: its intuitive non-gradability is taken to be unchallengeable by future scientific developments, whereas its intuitive determinacy is predicted to fall by the wayside. Second, (...)
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