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  1. Animal Selfhood and Affectivity in Helmuth Plessner's Philosophical Anthropology.Márton Dornbach - 2023 - Philosophical Forum 54 (4):201-230.
    Helmuth Plessner’s philosophical anthropology is framed by a comprehensive theory of living nature. Central to this philosophical biology is the claim that animals lack self-consciousness but their awareness of their surroundings is nevertheless anchored in a self. Since Plessner does not explain how this unselfconscious self is manifest to the animal, the warrant for his claim remains unclear. Following Plessner’s construal of human existence as a radically transformed variant of animal life, I argue that he leaves animals’ selfhood unaccounted for (...)
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  • The Transition to Minimal Consciousness through the Evolution of Associative Learning.Zohar Z. Bronfman, Simona Ginsburg & Eva Jablonka - 2016 - Frontiers in Psychology 7.
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  • Analyzing the etiological functions of consciousness.Dylan Black - 2020 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 20 (1):191-216.
    Scientists disagree about which capacities a functional analysis of consciousness should target. To address this disagreement, I propose that a good functional analysis should target the etiological functions of consciousness. The trouble is that most hypotheses about the etiological origins of consciousness presuppose particular functional analyses. In recent years, however, a small number of scientists have begun to offer evolutionary hypotheses that are relatively theory neutral. I argue that their hypotheses can serve an independent standard for evaluating among theories of (...)
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  • Unlimited Associative Learning and the Origins of Consciousness: A Primer and Some Predictions.Jonathan Birch, Simona Ginsburg & Eva Jablonka - 2020 - Biology and Philosophy 35 (6):1-23.
    Over the past two decades, Ginsburg and Jablonka have developed a novel approach to studying the evolutionary origins of consciousness: the Unlimited Associative Learning framework. The central idea is that there is a distinctive type of learning that can serve as a transition marker for the evolutionary transition from non-conscious to conscious life. The goal of this paper is to stimulate discussion of the framework by providing a primer on its key claims and a clear statement of its main empirical (...)
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  • Neuroscience findings are consistent with appraisal theories of emotion; but does the brain “respect” constructionism?Klaus R. Scherer - 2012 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 35 (3):163-164.
    I reject Lindquist et al.'s implicit claim that all emotion theories other than constructionist ones subscribe to a “brain locationist” approach. The neural mechanisms underlying relevance detection, reward, attention, conceptualization, or language use are consistent with many theories of emotion, in particular componential appraisal theories. I also question the authors' claim that the meta-analysis they report provides support for thespecificassumptions of constructionist theories.
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  • The role of the amygdala in the appraising brain.David Sander, Kristen A. Lindquist, Tor D. Wager, Hedy Kober, Eliza Bliss-Moreau & Lisa Feldman Barrett - 2012 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 35 (3):161-161.
    Lindquist et al. convincingly argue that the brain implements psychological operations that are constitutive of emotion rather than modules subserving discrete emotions. However, thenatureof such psychological operations is open to debate. I argue that considering appraisal theories may provide alternative interpretations of the neuroimaging data with respect to the psychological operations involved.
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  • Defending the Pathological Complexity Thesis.Walter Veit - 2023 - Biological Theory 18 (3):200-209.
    In this article, I respond to commentaries by Eva Jablonka and Simona Ginsburg and by David Spurrett on my target article “Complexity and the Evolution of Consciousness,” in which I have offered the first extended articulation of my pathological complexity thesis as a hypothesis about the evolutionary origins and function of consciousness. My reply is structured by the arguments raised rather than by author and will offer a more detailed explication of some aspects of the pathological complexity thesis.
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  • Solipsistic sentience.Jordan C. V. Taylor - 2022 - Mind and Language 37 (4):734-750.
    This article examines the nature of affective states across biological taxa. It argues that affect constitutes a primary form of consciousness. Creatures capable of affect are sentient of their bodily states and can behave in ways intended to maintain or restore them to a homeostatic range. After reviewing and critiquing neurobiological and philosophical theories of the evolution of consciousness, this article argues that some possible creatures are limited to self‐directed affective states, even if those creatures are capable of exteroception. Such (...)
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  • Evolutionary radiation and the spectrum of consciousness.Robert G. Wallace & Rodrick Wallace - 2009 - Consciousness and Cognition 18 (1):160-167.
    Evolution is littered with polyphyletic parallelism: many roads lead to functional Romes. We propose consciousness embodies one such example, and represent it here with an equivalence class structure that factors the broad realm of necessary conditions information theoretic realizations of Baars’ global workspace model. The construction suggests many different physiological systems can support rapidly shifting, highly tunable, and even simultaneous temporary assemblages of interacting unconscious cognitive modules. The discovery implies various animal taxa exhibiting behaviors we broadly recognize as conscious are, (...)
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  • Current Understanding of the “Insight” Phenomenon Across Disciplines.Antonio J. Osuna-Mascaró & Alice M. I. Auersperg - 2021 - Frontiers in Psychology 12.
    Despite countless anecdotes and the historical significance of insight as a problem solving mechanism, its nature has long remained elusive. The conscious experience of insight is notoriously difficult to trace in non-verbal animals. Although studying insight has presented a significant challenge even to neurobiology and psychology, human neuroimaging studies have cleared the theoretical landscape, as they have begun to reveal the underlying mechanisms. The study of insight in non-human animals has, in contrast, remained limited to innovative adjustments to experimental designs (...)
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  • The Evolution of Consciousness and Agency.Denis Noble - 2022 - Biosemiotics 15 (3):439-446.
    Conscious Agency is a major driver of evolution. Artificial Selection (i.e. Conscious Selection by human breeders) was the foil against which Charles Darwin defined Natural Selection. In later work, he extended Artificial Selection to other species. That ability for social (e.g. sexual) selection must have evolved. Jablonka and Ginsburg identify markers of conscious agency, such as Unlimited Associative Learning (UAL), and show that it must have existed at the time of the Cambrian Explosion. To their insights, my commentary argues that (...)
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  • The sleeping brain and the neural basis of emotions.Roumen Kirov, Serge Brand, Vasil Kolev & Juliana Yordanova - 2012 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 35 (3):155-156.
    In addition to active wake, emotions are generated and experienced in a variety of functionally different states such as those of sleep, during which external stimulation and cognitive control are lacking. The neural basis of emotions can be specified by regarding the multitude of emotion-related brain states, as well as the distinct neuro- and psychodynamic stages (generation and regulation) of emotional experience.
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  • Sentience as a System Property: Learning Complexity and the Evolution of Consciousness.Eva Jablonka & Simona Ginsburg - 2023 - Biological Theory 18 (3):191-196.
    Veit suggests that the challenge of coordinating movement in multicellular organisms led to the evolution of a prioritizing value system, which rendered organisms complex enough to be sentient and drove the Cambrian explosion, while the absence of this evaluation system led to the demise of Ediacaran animals. In this commentary we criticize Veit’s terminology and evolutionary proposals, arguing that his terminology and evolutionary scenarios are problematic, and put forward alternative proposals. We suggest that sentience is a system property, and that (...)
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  • Scaffolding emotions and evolving language.Eva Jablonka & Simona Ginsburg - 2012 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 35 (3):154-155.
    We suggest that, in animals, the core-affect system is linked to partially assimilated behavioral dispositions that act as developmental scaffolds for the ontogenetic construction of emotions. We also propose that in humans the evolution of language altered the control of emotions, leading to categories that can be adequately captured only by emotion-words.
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  • Bridging the gap: The developmental aspects of evolution.Eva Jablonka & Marion J. Lamb - 2007 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 30 (4):378-389.
    The commentaries on Evolution in Four Dimensions reflect views ranging from total adherence to gene-centered neo-Darwinism, to the acceptance of non-genetic and Lamarckian processes in evolution. We maintain that genetic, epigenetic, behavioral, and cultural variations have all been significant, and that the developmental aspects of heredity and evolution are an important bridge that can unite seemingly conflicting research programs and different disciplines.
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