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  1. Human and Animal Minds: The Consciousness Questions Laid to Rest, by Peter Carruthers. [REVIEW]Matthias Michel - 2021 - Philosophical Review 130 (4):619–623.
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  • Everything, More or Less: A Defence of Generality Relativism. [REVIEW]Peter Fritz - 2021 - Philosophical Review 130 (4):623-627.
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  • Does illusionism imply skepticism of animal consciousness?Leonard Dung - 2022 - Synthese 200 (3):1-19.
    Illusionism about consciousness entails that phenomenal consciousness doesn’t exist. The distribution question concerns the distribution of consciousness in the animal kingdom. Skepticism of animal consciousness is the view that few or no kinds of animals possess consciousness. Thus, illusionism seems to imply a skeptical view on the distribution question. However, I argue that illusionism and skepticism of animal consciousness are actually orthogonal to each other. If illusionism is true, then phenomenal consciousness does not ground intrinsic value so that the non-existence (...)
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  • Assessing Tests of Animal Consciousness.Leonard Dung - 2022 - Consciousness and Cognition 105:103410.
    Which animals have conscious experiences? Many different, diverse and unrelated behaviors and cognitive capacities have been proposed as tests of the presence of consciousness in an animal. It is unclear which of these tests, if any, are valid. To remedy this problem, I develop a list consisting of eight desiderata which can be used to assess putative tests of animal consciousness. These desiderata are based either on detailed analogies between consciousness-linked human behavior and non-human behavior, on theories of consciousness or (...)
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  • The Measurement Problem of Consciousness.Heather Browning & Walter Veit - 2020 - Philosophical Topics 48 (1):85-108.
    This paper addresses what we consider to be the most pressing challenge for the emerging science of consciousness: the measurement problem of consciousness. That is, by what methods can we determine the presence of and properties of consciousness? Most methods are currently developed through evaluation of the presence of consciousness in humans and here we argue that there are particular problems in application of these methods to nonhuman cases—what we call the indicator validity problem and the extrapolation problem. The first (...)
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  • Is Absence of Evidence of Pain Ever Evidence of Absence?Deborah J. Brown & Brian Key - 2021 - Synthese 199 (1-2):3881-3902.
    Absence of evidence arguments are indispensable to comparative neurobiology. The absence in a given species of a homologous neural architecture strongly correlated with a type of conscious experience in humans should be able to be taken as a prima facie reason for concluding that the species in question does not have the capacity for that conscious experience. Absence of evidence reasoning is, however, widely disparaged for being both logically illicit and unscientific. This paper argues that these concerns are unwarranted. There (...)
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  • Animal Sentience.Heather Browning & Jonathan Birch - 2022 - Philosophy Compass 17 (5):e12822.
    ‘Sentience’ sometimes refers to the capacity for any type of subjective experience, and sometimes to the capacity to have subjective experiences with a positive or negative valence, such as pain or pleasure. We review recent controversies regarding sentience in fish and invertebrates and consider the deep methodological challenge posed by these cases. We then present two ways of responding to the challenge. In a policy-making context, precautionary thinking can help us treat animals appropriately despite continuing uncertainty about their sentience. In (...)
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  • Should Animal Welfare Be Defined in Terms of Consciousness?Jonathan Birch - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science:1-11.
    Definitions of animal welfare often invoke consciousness or sentience. Marian Stamp Dawkins has argued that to define animal welfare this way is a mistake. On Dawkins’s alternative view, an animal with good welfare is one that is healthy and “has what it wants”. The dispute highlights a source of strain on the concept of animal welfare: consciousness-involving definitions are better able to capture the normative significance of welfare, whereas consciousness-free definitions facilitate the validation of welfare indicators. I reflect on how (...)
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  • Materialism and the Moral Status of Animals.Jonathan Birch - 2022 - Philosophical Quarterly 72 (4):795-815.
    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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  • Dimensions of Animal Consciousness.Jonathan Birch, Alexandra K. Schnell & Nicola S. Clayton - 2020 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 24 (10):789-801.
    How does consciousness vary across the animal kingdom? Are some animals ‘more conscious’ than others? This article presents a multidimensional framework for understanding interspecies variation in states of consciousness. The framework distinguishes five key dimensions of variation: perceptual richness, evaluative richness, integration at a time, integration across time, and self-consciousness. For each dimension, existing experiments that bear on it are reviewed and future experiments are suggested. By assessing a given species against each dimension, we can construct a consciousness profile for (...)
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  • The Problem of Artificial Qualia.Wael Basille - 2021 - Dissertation, Sorbonne Université
    Is it possible to build a conscious machine, an artifact that has qualitative experiences such as feeling pain, seeing the redness of a flower or enjoying the taste of coffee ? What makes such experiences conscious is their phenomenal character: it is like something to have such experiences. In contemporary philosophy of mind, the question of the qualitative aspect of conscious experiences is often addressed in terms of qualia. In a pre-theoretical and intuitive sense, qualia refer to the phenomenal character (...)
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  • How Can We Know Whether Fish Feel Pain? Epistemology of the Scientific Study of Fish Sentience.Victor Duran-Le Peuch - 2021 - Dissertation,
    I start by defining sentience and giving an analysis of the epistemological problems that plague its scientific study; this consists mainly in justifying that the attribution of sentience is underdetermined by the data. Second I show that as a result of this situation of underdetermination, most of the types of arguments used to infer sentience from the data are inconclusive and lead to a stalemate. Third, I argue that the stalemates arise from a foundationalist epistemology which needlessly leads to skeptical (...)
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  • Higher-Order Theories Do Just Fine.Matthias Michel & Hakwan Lau - forthcoming - Cognitive Neuroscience.
    Doerig et al. have set several criteria that theories of consciousness need to fulfill. By these criteria, higher-order theories fare better than most existing theories. But they also argue that higher-order theories may not be able to answer both the ‘small network argument’ and the ‘other systems argument’. In response, we focus on the case of the Perceptual Reality Monitoring theory to explain why higher-order theories do just fine.
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  • Drawing the Boundaries of Animal Sentience.Walter Veit & Bryce Huebner - 2020 - Animal Sentience 13 (29).
    We welcome Mikhalevich & Powell’s (2020) (M&P) call for a more “‘inclusive”’ animal ethics, but we think their proposed shift toward a moral framework that privileges false positives over false negatives will require radically revising the paradigm assumption in animal research: that there is a clear line to be drawn between sentient beings that are part of our moral community and nonsentient beings that are not.
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