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Full-Text Articles in Philosophy

The Inconvenient Truth About Thinking Chickens, Lori Marino Sep 2017

The Inconvenient Truth About Thinking Chickens, Lori Marino

Animal Sentience

Original Abstract: Domestic chickens are members of an order, Aves, which has been the focus of a revolution in our understanding of neuroanatomical, cognitive, and social complexity. Some birds are now known to be on a par with many mammals in their intelligence, emotional sophistication, and social interaction. Yet views of chickens have largely remained unrevised in light of this new evidence. In this paper, I examine the data on cognition, emotions, personality, and sociality in chickens, exploring such areas as self-awareness, cognitive bias, social learning and self-control, and comparing their abilities with other birds and other vertebrates, particularly mammals ...


Consciousness Is Not Inherent In But Emergent From Life, Jon Mallatt, Todd E. Feinberg Jan 2017

Consciousness Is Not Inherent In But Emergent From Life, Jon Mallatt, Todd E. Feinberg

Animal Sentience

Reber’s theory of the cellular basis of consciousness (CBC) is right to emphasize that we should study consciousness (sentience) in its simplest form, taking its evolution into account. However, not enough evidence is presented to support CBC’s unorthodox claim that even simple, one-celled organisms are conscious. As pointed out by other commentators, the CBC seems to be based on outdated ideas about evolution and does not acknowledge that consciousness could be an evolutionary novel feature. Such emergent features are abundant in living organisms. We review our own emergentist solution, in which consciousness evolved in the elaborating nervous systems ...


Chickens’ Brains, Like Ours, Are Lateralized, Lesley J. Rogers Jan 2017

Chickens’ Brains, Like Ours, Are Lateralized, Lesley J. Rogers

Animal Sentience

This commentary draws attention to yet another attribute that has been instrumental in demonstrating the cognitive abilities of domestic chicks: lateralization of brain function. The discovery of lateralization in domestic chicks was part of the first evidence showing that humans are not unique in this respect. The effects on cognitive ability of sensory stimulation in critical stages of development have implications for the welfare of chicks, as well as other species.


Are Chicken Minds Special?, Rafael Freire, Susan J. Hazel Jan 2017

Are Chicken Minds Special?, Rafael Freire, Susan J. Hazel

Animal Sentience

The number of publications on chicken cognition and emotion exceeds that on most birds and is comparable to the number of publications on some more “advanced” mammals. We argue that the chicken is an excellent model for this type of research because of (1) the presence of well-established fundamental mental processes in the chicken, (2) a challenging ethological environment and (3) social pressures that may have facilitated the evolution of cognitive abilities similar to those of some mammals. Marino’s (2017) review provides an excellent foundation for the continued study of complex mental abilities in this species.


Getting To The Other Side, Debra Merskin Jan 2017

Getting To The Other Side, Debra Merskin

Animal Sentience

Marino’s comprehensive, detailed, and timely review provides clear evidence of the sentience of chickens and strong support for those wishing to challenge their exclusion from even the limited protections currently accorded to animals grown for food.



Understanding Animal Suicide And Death Can Lead To Better End-Of-Life Care, Jessica Pierce Jan 2017

Understanding Animal Suicide And Death Can Lead To Better End-Of-Life Care, Jessica Pierce

Animal Sentience

Peña-Guzmán’s target article on animal suicide will help inform end-of-life care for animals by emphasizing the need for a broad research focus on animal thanatology. Greater scientific understanding of the continuum of death-related awareness, experiences, and behaviors will help us improve veterinary care for animals at the end of life.


Chicken Of The Sea, Jonathan Balcombe Jan 2017

Chicken Of The Sea, Jonathan Balcombe

Animal Sentience

Marino summarizes research showing that chickens perform cognitively and emotionally at a higher level than previously assumed. Here, I describe capacities of teleost fishes that parallel those of chickens, including the ability to recognize human faces, perspective-taking, and referential communication. Research on chickens and on fishes reveals an emerging trend in cognitive ethology: abilities once thought limited to a scant few highly intelligent non-humans may actually occur broadly across taxa.


In Memory Of Patrick Bateson, James A. Serpell Jan 2017

In Memory Of Patrick Bateson, James A. Serpell

Animal Sentience

No abstract provided.


Experiment Versus Analogy In The Search For Animal Sentience, Geoffrey Hall Jan 2017

Experiment Versus Analogy In The Search For Animal Sentience, Geoffrey Hall

Animal Sentience

Deciding between rival accounts of an instance of an animal’s behavior can frequently be achieved by experimental tests of different predictions made by the alternatives. When, however, one (or both) of the alternatives is expressed in terms of the mental state of the animal, an experimental test to distinguish them can be hard to find. Although it is unsatisfactory in many ways, it may be necessary to fall back on argument from analogy with human behavior and experience.


The Potential For Sentience In Fishes, Jay R. Stauffer Jr. Jan 2017

The Potential For Sentience In Fishes, Jay R. Stauffer Jr.

Animal Sentience

Balcombe’s book is filled with information on the biology, behavior, and life history of fishes. I do not agree with all his premises. I am still somewhat perplexed about the discussion of whether fish feel pain; I am not sure whether the distinction between nociception and pain makes any difference. Overall, however, his treatment of the principles of both natural and sexual selection is comprehensive and accurate, and has greatly increased my knowledge and awareness of the biology, ethology, and potential for sentience in fishes. In summary, this work has exposed me to new ideas about how to examine ...


Cognitive Continuity In Cognitive Dissonance, David R. Brodbeck, Madeleine I. R. Brodbeck Jan 2017

Cognitive Continuity In Cognitive Dissonance, David R. Brodbeck, Madeleine I. R. Brodbeck

Animal Sentience

Zentall’s (2016) model of cognitive dissonance is compatible with cognitive continuity between humans and nonhumans. It may help explain cognitive dissonance-like behavior in many species, including humans. It is also consistent with Tinbergen’s (1963) ‘four whys’ in ethological explanation.


What Can Research On Nonhumans Tell Us About Human Dissonance?, Jennifer Vonk Jan 2017

What Can Research On Nonhumans Tell Us About Human Dissonance?, Jennifer Vonk

Animal Sentience

Zentall’s thoughtful review of the literature on cognitive dissonance in nonhumans helps to highlight the common finding that similar outcomes in humans and nonhumans can be attributed to different underlying mechanisms. I advocate a more fully comparative approach to the underlying mechanisms, avoiding the assumption of shared processes in humans and nonhumans.


Reductionism And Accounts Of Cognitive Dissonance, Kent D. Bodily Jan 2017

Reductionism And Accounts Of Cognitive Dissonance, Kent D. Bodily

Animal Sentience

Zentall (2016) proposed within-trial contrast as an alternative account of cognitive dissonance with greater parsimony and generalizability between human and nonhuman species. This commentary describes forms of reductionism, categorizes several competing accounts of cognitive dissonance phenomena, and addresses the strengths and weaknesses according to the reductionist form each account takes. A focus on functional relations may make explanation more parsimonious while bridging theoretical divides between human and nonhuman research programs.


Dissonance Reduction In Nonhuman Animals: Implications For Cognitive Dissonance Theory, Cindy Harmon-Jones, Nick Haslam, Brock Bastian Jan 2017

Dissonance Reduction In Nonhuman Animals: Implications For Cognitive Dissonance Theory, Cindy Harmon-Jones, Nick Haslam, Brock Bastian

Animal Sentience

We review the evidence for dissonance reduction in nonhuman animals and examine the alternative explanations for these effects. If nonhuman animals engage in dissonance reduction, this supports the original theory as proposed by Festinger (1957) over the revisions to the theory that focused on the self-concept. Evidence of animal sentience, including dissonance reduction, may be a source of cognitive dissonance.


Cognitive Dissonance Or Contrast? It Could Be Both, Thomas Zentall Jan 2017

Cognitive Dissonance Or Contrast? It Could Be Both, Thomas Zentall

Animal Sentience

My target article suggested that cognitive dissonance may be accounted for by a simpler mechanism: contrast. Whether contrast can explain all cognitive dissonance effects is an empirical question, but it is always useful to try to distinguish simpler mechanisms from more complex cognitive ones. The insistence that cognitive dissonance is a human-only process quite different from contrast may be a self-serving means of justifying the exploitation of animals.


To Identify All The Relevant Factors Is To Explain Feeling, Arthur S. Reber Jan 2017

To Identify All The Relevant Factors Is To Explain Feeling, Arthur S. Reber

Animal Sentience

Several additional comments on Reber (2016a) have appeared. Like those addressed in Reber (2016b), they reflect points of agreement and disagreement on various elements of my Cellular Basis of Consciousness (CBC) model. Some, however, seem to have missed key points. I'm willing to take some responsibility for this. Perhaps I was not clear about some of the more radical points of the model. Hopefully the case-by-case review here will help.


Sentience Does Not Require “Higher” Cognition, Giorgio Vallortigara Jan 2017

Sentience Does Not Require “Higher” Cognition, Giorgio Vallortigara

Animal Sentience

I agree with Marino (2017a,b) that the cognitive capacities of chickens are likely to be the same as those of many others vertebrates. Also, data collected in the young of this precocial species provide rich information about how much cognition can be pre-wired and predisposed in the brain. However, evidence of advanced cognition — in chickens or any other organism — says little about sentience (i.e., feeling). We do not deny sentience in human beings who, because of cognitive deficits, would be incapable of exhibiting some of the cognitive feats of chickens. Moreover, complex problem solving, such as transitive inference ...


On Assisted Suicide, Clark Glymour Jan 2017

On Assisted Suicide, Clark Glymour

Animal Sentience

What would be the moral implications of the capacity for suicide in nonhuman animals? Humans can be helped to end their lives if they no longer find them bearable. Should captive animals not be given the same possibility?


Choice-Induced Preference: A Challenge For Contrast, Benjamin R. Eisenreich, Benjamin Y. Hayden Jan 2017

Choice-Induced Preference: A Challenge For Contrast, Benjamin R. Eisenreich, Benjamin Y. Hayden

Animal Sentience

In his target article, Zentall asks: “to experience cognitive dissonance is it necessary for one to have conflicting beliefs or even beliefs at all?” He then argues that a simple behavioral process, the Within Trial Contrast Effect, may be sufficient to explain observed cognitive dissonance effects in nonhuman animals and possibly humans as well. We agree with Zentall that this effect is sufficient to explain many reported cognitive dissonance effects in nonhuman animals, but question its sufficiency for primate behavior (both monkeys and humans).


Misperceiving And Underestimating The Ubiquitous Chicken, Carrie P. Freeman Jan 2017

Misperceiving And Underestimating The Ubiquitous Chicken, Carrie P. Freeman

Animal Sentience

Marino has provided an accurate and nuanced view about chickens’ complex capabilities as sentient individuals. I explore the implications of these findings for scholars as well as for activists in the protection of farmed animals.


Tribute To Jaak Panksepp, Jonathan Balcombe Jan 2017

Tribute To Jaak Panksepp, Jonathan Balcombe

Animal Sentience

No abstract provided.


Evolutionary Continuity, Anne Benvenuti Jan 2017

Evolutionary Continuity, Anne Benvenuti

Animal Sentience

The principle of evolutionary continuity states that all animal capacities and behaviors exist — with variations in degree — in continuity with other species. Rather than assuming discontinuity, we should ask why any behavior observed in humans would not be found in at least some other sentient animals under similar conditions. In the case of suicide, the more pertinent issue might be the ethical one: our human responsibility for creating conditions under which other animals might deliberately seek to end their own lives.


Is Psychological Science Committing “Suicide” By Linguistic Muddling?, Roger K. Thomas Jan 2017

Is Psychological Science Committing “Suicide” By Linguistic Muddling?, Roger K. Thomas

Animal Sentience

Beginning mainly with the “cognitive revolution” in psychology in the latter half of the 20th century, psychological science has been committing “suicide” slowly via linguistic muddling. Peña-Guzmán’s target article is but one of thousands of cuts contributing to this death by “suicide.” Having said that, given the current state of affairs in animal cognition research, there is much to commend in Peña-Guzmán’s article. I leave that to others, however. This commentary explains how the suicide by muddling of psychological science is happening in general, with the understanding that it applies also to Peña-Guzmán’s target article.


Establishing That Contrast Is Cognitive Dissonance, Travis R. Smith Jan 2017

Establishing That Contrast Is Cognitive Dissonance, Travis R. Smith

Animal Sentience

Zentall suggests that the same mechanism underlies cognitive dissonance in humans and the within-trial contrast effect in pigeons (and humans). The contrast effect has face validity in explaining cognitive dissonance, but more research is needed to establish construct validity. To determine whether both phenomena share the same mechanism, future research should test (1) whether both share physiological processes, (2) whether individuals who show sensitivity to one are also sensitive to the other, and (3) whether both phenomena are affected by the same changes in an independent variable.


Raising Consciousness About Chicken Consciousness, Bernard Rollin Jan 2017

Raising Consciousness About Chicken Consciousness, Bernard Rollin

Animal Sentience

The topics explored by Marino are definitive, and should work well to lay to rest forever the widespread belief that chickens have no personality, are unintelligent, or in any other way lack a mental life.


Chickening Out Of Change: Will Knowing More About Thinking Chickens Change Public Perceptions?, Ewan Bottomley, Steve Loughnan Jan 2017

Chickening Out Of Change: Will Knowing More About Thinking Chickens Change Public Perceptions?, Ewan Bottomley, Steve Loughnan

Animal Sentience

This commentary examines the next step in Marino’s target article – changing people’s attitudes and beliefs about chickens. The scientific case seems clear: chickens are far more complex, psychologically and socially, than originally thought. Marino suggests we use this information to make people feel uncomfortable about their dietary choices in the hope of changing them. We review the psychological literature, examining how people maintain meat consumption despite the clash with their moral beliefs (the “meat paradox”). This work highlights the important gap between what science knows about animals and what people think about animals.


Changes In Behavior And Emotion Under Chicken Domestication, Martin Johnsson Jan 2017

Changes In Behavior And Emotion Under Chicken Domestication, Martin Johnsson

Animal Sentience

Marino’s target article provides an overview of chickens’ cognition, emotion, and personality, with the aim of changing how people view chickens. In this commentary, I will agree that chickens deserve better than their reputation, but contend with a statement about the lack of behavioral change under chicken domestication.


Clarifying Concepts In Cognitive Dissonance Theory, Eddie Harmon-Jones Jan 2017

Clarifying Concepts In Cognitive Dissonance Theory, Eddie Harmon-Jones

Animal Sentience

This commentary on Zentall’s target article focuses primarily on clarifying some postulates and variables in cognitive dissonance theory. I discuss the adaptive motivational functions of dissonance arousal and dissonance reduction, and attempt to clarify some past dissonance experiments and to tease apart a dissonance theory and contrast explanation of effort-justification-type effects. The evidence and arguments reviewed here support the explanatory power of cognitive dissonance theory in a wide variety of circumstances in human and nonhuman animals, but they depend on first defining concepts such as “cognitions” quite broadly, as Festinger did when he originally proposed the theory.


The Precautionary Principle: A Cautionary Note, Robert C. Jones Jan 2017

The Precautionary Principle: A Cautionary Note, Robert C. Jones

Animal Sentience

The precautionary principle regarding animal sentience is often used in decision-making about human actions that may cause harm to nonhuman animals. Birch (2017) develops an account of the precautionary principle requiring two pragmatic rules for its implementation. I support Birch's proposal but offer a cautionary note about relying on precautionary principles if one's ultimate goal is to emancipate animals from human domination.


What Is The Pressing “Animal Question” About? Thinking/Feeling Capacity Or Exploitability?, Gordon Hodson Jan 2017

What Is The Pressing “Animal Question” About? Thinking/Feeling Capacity Or Exploitability?, Gordon Hodson

Animal Sentience

Marino’s timely review highlights what humans go to great lengths to ignore and suppress: non-human animals such as chickens have rich inner lives. Although I share her belief that such evidence should provide the impetus for ending the exploitation of chickens, the psychological literatures on motivated reasoning and group-based dominance suggest not only that this is unlikely but that people will push back precisely because of the implications (as they do for climate change). Human psychology has done a great deal to suppress the recognition of sentience in animals, but it can also shed insights into ending exploitation.