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  1. The Origins of Consciousness or the War of the Five Dimensions.Walter Veit - 2022 - Biological Theory 17 (4):276-291.
    The goal of this article is to break down the dimensions of consciousness, attempt to reverse engineer their evolutionary function, and make sense of the origins of consciousness by breaking off those dimensions that are more likely to have arisen later. A Darwinian approach will allow us to revise the philosopher’s concept of consciousness away from a single “thing,” an all-or-nothing quality, and towards a concept of phenomenological complexity that arose out of simple valenced states. Finally, I will offer support (...)
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  • Health, consciousness, and the evolution of subjects.Walter Veit - 2022 - Synthese 201 (1):1-24.
    The goal of this programmatic paper is to highlight a close connection between the core problem in the philosophy of medicine, i.e. the concept of health, and the core problem of the philosophy of mind, i.e. the concept of consciousness. I show when we look at these phenomena together, taking the evolutionary perspective of modern state-based behavioural and life-history theory used as the teleonomic tool to Darwinize the agent- and subject-side of organisms, we will be in a better position to (...)
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  • Complexity and the Evolution of Consciousness.Walter Veit - 2023 - Biological Theory 18 (3):175-190.
    This article introduces and defends the “pathological complexity thesis” as a hypothesis about the evolutionary origins of minimal consciousness, or sentience, that connects the study of animal consciousness closely with work in behavioral ecology and evolutionary biology. I argue that consciousness is an adaptive solution to a design problem that led to the extinction of complex multicellular animal life following the Avalon explosion and that was subsequently solved during the Cambrian explosion. This is the economic trade-off problem of having to (...)
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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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  • A Credence-based Theory-heavy Approach to Non-human Consciousness.de Weerd Christian - 2024 - Synthese 203 (171):1-26.
    Many different methodological approaches have been proposed to infer the presence of consciousness in non-human systems. In this paper, a version of the theory-heavy approach is defended. Theory-heavy approaches rely heavily on considerations from theories of consciousness to make inferences about non-human consciousness. Recently, the theory-heavy approach has been critiqued in the form of Birch's (Noûs, 56(1): 133-153, 2022) dilemma of demandingness and Shevlin's (Mind & Language, 36(2): 297-314, 2021) specificity problem. However, both challenges implicitly assume an inapt characterization of (...)
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  • Studying Introspection in Animals and AIs.Heather Browning & Walter Veit - 2023 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 30 (9):63-74.
    The study of introspection has, up until now, been predominantly human-centric, with regrettably little attention devoted to the question of whether introspection might exist in non-humans, such as animals and artificial intelligence (AI), and what distinct forms it might take. In their target article, Kammerer and Frankish (this issue) aim to address this oversight by offering a non-anthropocentric framework for understanding introspection that could be used to address these questions. However, their discussions on introspection in animals and AIs were quite (...)
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  • Integrating Evolution into the Study of Animal Sentience.Walter Veit - 2022 - Animal Sentience 32 (30):1-4.
    Like many others, I see Crump et al. (2022) as a milestone for improving upon previous guidelines and for extending their framework to decapod crustaceans. Their proposal would benefit from a firm evolutionary foundation by adding the comparative measurement of life-history complexity as a ninth criterion for attributing sentience to nonhuman animals.
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