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Life Sciences

Animal Sentience

Subjective experience

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Full-Text Articles in Philosophy

Insect Consciousness: Commitments, Conflicts And Consequences, Colin Klein, Andrew B. Barron Nov 2016

Insect Consciousness: Commitments, Conflicts And Consequences, Colin Klein, Andrew B. Barron

Animal Sentience

Our target article, “Insects have the capacity for subjective experience,” has provoked a diverse range of commentaries. In this response we have collated what we see as the major themes of the discussion. It is clear that we differ from some commentators in our commitments to what subjective experience is and what the midbrain is capable of. Here we clarify where we stand on those points and how our view differs from some other influential perspectives. The commentaries have highlighted the most lively areas of disagreement. We revisit here the debates surrounding whether the cortex is essential for any form ...


“Cellular Basis Of Consciousness”: Not Just Radical But Wrong, Brian Key Sep 2016

“Cellular Basis Of Consciousness”: Not Just Radical But Wrong, Brian Key

Animal Sentience

Reber (2016) attempts to resuscitate an obscure and outdated hypothesis referred to as the “cellular basis of consciousness” that was originally formulated by the author nearly twenty years ago. This hypothesis proposes that any organism with flexible cell walls, a sensitivity to its surrounds, and the capacity for locomotion will possess the biological foundations of mind and consciousness. Reber seeks to reduce consciousness to a fundamental property inherent to individual cells rather than to centralised nervous systems. This commentary shows how this hypothesis is based on supposition, false premises and a misunderstanding of evolutionary theory. The cellular basis of consciousness ...


Phenomenal Consciousness In Insects? A Possible Way Forward, Brian Key Sep 2016

Phenomenal Consciousness In Insects? A Possible Way Forward, Brian Key

Animal Sentience

Klein & Barron (2016) propose that subjective experience in humans arises in the midbrain and then argue that insects have the capacity for subjective experience because their nervous system can perform neural processing similar to that of the midbrain. This approach ultimately fails because it is built on the false premise that the midbrain is the source of the awareness of sensory stimuli. I instead propose that the capacity for subjective experience must be based on fundamental neural computations that generate the “what it feels like” experience. Two such computations associated with metarepresentations and high level representations entering working memory are ...


No Proof For Subjective Experience In Insects, Holk Cruse, Malte Schilling Aug 2016

No Proof For Subjective Experience In Insects, Holk Cruse, Malte Schilling

Animal Sentience

Klein & Barron (2016) provide an inspiring review collecting arguments that show quite related functions in humans and insects. Here we extend the comparison to robots, and formulate two critical objections. One concerns an epistemological question related to the phenomenon of subjective experience. The other questions whether insects need integrated spatiotemporal modeling for navigation.


Insects Have The Capacity For Subjective Experience, Colin Klein, Andrew B. Barron Jul 2016

Insects Have The Capacity For Subjective Experience, Colin Klein, Andrew B. Barron

Animal Sentience

To what degree are non-human animals conscious? We propose that the most meaningful way to approach this question is from the perspective of functional neurobiology. Here we focus on subjective experience, which is a basic awareness of the world without further reflection on that awareness. This is considered the most basic form of consciousness. Tellingly, this capacity is supported by the integrated midbrain and basal ganglia structures, which are among the oldest and most highly conserved brain systems in vertebrates. A reasonable inference is that the capacity for subjective experience is both widespread and evolutionarily old within the vertebrate lineage ...