A Philosophy for the Science of Animal Consciousness

New York: Routledge (2023)
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This book attempts to advance Donald Griffin's vision of the "final, crowning chapter of the Darwinian revolution" by developing a philosophy for the science of animal consciousness. It advocates a Darwinian bottom-up approach that treats consciousness as a complex, evolved, and multidimensional phenomenon in nature rather than a mysterious all-or-nothing property immune to the tools of science and restricted to a single species. The so-called emergence of a science of consciousness in the 1990s has at best been a science of human consciousness. This book aims to advance a true Darwinian science of consciousness in which its evolutionary origin, function, and phylogenetic diversity are moved from the field’s periphery to its very centre, thus enabling us to integrate consciousness into an evolutionary view of life. Accordingly, this book has two objectives: (i) to argue for the need and possibility of an evolutionary bottom-up approach that addresses the problem of consciousness in terms of the evolutionary origins of a new ecological lifestyle that made consciousness worth having and (ii) to articulate a thesis and beginnings of a theory of the place of consciousness as a complex evolved phenomenon in nature that can help us to answer the question of what it is like to be a bat, an octopus, or a crow. A Philosophy for the Science of Animal Consciousness will appeal to researchers and advanced students interested in advancing our understanding of animal minds as well as anyone with a keen interest in how we can develop a science of animal consciousness.

Author's Profile

Walter Veit
University of Reading


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