Selbstbewusstsein bei Tieren: begriffliche und methodologische Probleme

Studia Philosophica 72:87-101 (2013)
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Abstract
Are nonhuman non-linguistic animals self-conscious? And how is it possible to find out whether they are or not? This question raises two interrelated problems: the conceptual problem and the methodological problem. In order to approach an answer, it is first and foremost necessary to establish criteria for self-consciousness by considering the phenomenon and the abilities connected with it. Subsequently, one can survey the experimental paradigms. Do the experiments really show that the identified ability has to be used to successfully master the given task? Is the presence of self-consciousness the best explanation for the empirical data? This paper proposes that the underlying ability for self-consciousness is the capacity to have mental states, where the subject is thought of as the subject of the mental state. Furthermore, two important current experimental paradigms will be evaluated for their usefulness to identify the presence of self-consciousness. The verdict will be negative. Neither ‘mirror self-recognition’ nor ‘uncertainty monitoring’ need to employ the aforementioned ability in order to be executed.
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