Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Philosophy Commons

Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Articles 1 - 17 of 17

Full-Text Articles in Philosophy

Octopi-Ing A Unique Niche In Comparative Psychology, Jennifer Vonk Jan 2019

Octopi-Ing A Unique Niche In Comparative Psychology, Jennifer Vonk

Animal Sentience

Mather’s work has been fundamental in informing scientists of the relatively mysterious behavior and cognition of an understudied group of animals – the cephalopods. This work helps to fill a gap in the comparative literature that has historically sought evidence for complex behavior only in species that are closely related to humans or share important ecological features such as social complexity.


Pulling The Wool From Our Eyes, Jennifer Vonk Jan 2019

Pulling The Wool From Our Eyes, Jennifer Vonk

Animal Sentience

Marino & Merskin review evidence of the complexity of sheep cognition, concluding that researchers ought to feel sheepish about misrepresenting ovine cognitive capacities. However, the failure to situate the data in critical context risks pulling the wool over readers’ eyes.


Is Knowing Enough To Change Human Attitudes And Actions?, Liv Baker Jan 2019

Is Knowing Enough To Change Human Attitudes And Actions?, Liv Baker

Animal Sentience

Marino & Merskin present evidence on key aspects of cognition, such as theory of mind, learning, emotional valence, and sociality, to make a convincing argument that sheep are due consideration as individual sentient beings. With this information, what will it take to produce a real, meaningful shift in our attitudes and actions towards other animals, including a species as disadvantaged as sheep? What else do we need to know?


Intelligence, Complexity, And Individuality In Sheep, Lori Marino, Debra Merskin Jan 2019

Intelligence, Complexity, And Individuality In Sheep, Lori Marino, Debra Merskin

Animal Sentience

Domestic sheep (Ovis aries) are among the earliest animals domesticated for human use. They are consumed worldwide as mutton, hogget, and lamb, kept as wool and milk producers, and used extensively in scientific research. The popular stereotype is that sheep are docile, passive, unintelligent, and timid, but a review of the research on their behavior, affect, cognition, and personality reveals that they are complex, individualistic, and social.


Domestication And Cognitive Complexity, David R. Brodbeck, Madeleine I. R. Brodbeck, Keeghan Rosso Jan 2019

Domestication And Cognitive Complexity, David R. Brodbeck, Madeleine I. R. Brodbeck, Keeghan Rosso

Animal Sentience

Marino and Merskin (2019) list a number of tasks that sheep can perform well. As comparative psychologists, we are not surprised by these results. Indeed, many domesticated animal species show similar abilities.


Moral Relevance Of Cognitive Complexity, Empathy And Species Differences In Suffering, John Lazarus Jan 2019

Moral Relevance Of Cognitive Complexity, Empathy And Species Differences In Suffering, John Lazarus

Animal Sentience

I qualify two criticisms made by commentators on Chapman & Huffman’s target article. Responding to the view that differences between humans and other animals are irrelevant to deciding how we should treat other species, I point out that differences between any species in their capacity to suffer are morally relevant. And in response to the claim that suffering is the sole criterion for the moral treatment of animals, I argue that cognitive complexity and a capacity for empathy also have moral relevance to the extent that they influence suffering.


More Evidence Of Complex Cognition In Nonhuman Species, Lesley J. Rogers Jan 2019

More Evidence Of Complex Cognition In Nonhuman Species, Lesley J. Rogers

Animal Sentience

Chapman & Huffman have highlighted observations of animals performing, in nature, complex behaviour once thought to be unique to humans. Just as relevant to their argument are examples of cognition shown by domesticated species tested in controlled conditions. These strengthen the case for human/nonhuman similarities in behaviour and cognition. Recent research has brought to our attention the ability of nonhuman species to perform many tasks previously considered to be the hallmark of humans. Even though different species may use different ways of solving these tasks, the very fact that they can do it undermines the notion of human superiority.


Sheeple? The Need For More Research On Sheep Cognition, Michael Colombo, Damian Scarf Jan 2019

Sheeple? The Need For More Research On Sheep Cognition, Michael Colombo, Damian Scarf

Animal Sentience

Marino & Merskin (2019) provide a comprehensive review of the cognitive abilities of sheep. If research with other animals is any guide, there may be justification for the view that the abilities of sheep have been underestimated, and their review will likely stimulate more research into sheep cognition.


What Should We Do About Sheep? The Role Of Intelligence In Welfare Considerations, Heather Browning Jan 2019

What Should We Do About Sheep? The Role Of Intelligence In Welfare Considerations, Heather Browning

Animal Sentience

Marino & Merskin (2019) demonstrate that sheep are more cognitively complex than typically thought. We should be cautious in interpreting the implications of these results for welfare considerations to avoid perpetuating mistaken beliefs about the moral value of intelligence as opposed to sentience. There are, however, still important ways in which this work can help improve sheeps’ lives.


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.



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.


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 ...


In Praise Of Fishes: Précis Of What A Fish Knows (Balcombe 2016), Jonathan Balcombe Jul 2016

In Praise Of Fishes: Précis Of What A Fish Knows (Balcombe 2016), Jonathan Balcombe

Animal Sentience

Our relationship to fishes in the modern era is deeply problematic. We kill and consume more of them than any other group of vertebrates. At the same time, advances in our knowledge of fishes and their capabilities are gaining speed. Fish species diversity exceeds that of all other vertebrates combined, with a wide range of sensory adaptations, some of them (e.g., geomagnetism, water pressure and movement detection, and communication via electricity) alien to our own sensory experience. The evidence for pain in fishes (despite persistent detractors) is strongly supported by anatomical, physiological and behavioral studies. It is likely that ...


Should Fish Feel Pain? A Plant Perspective, František Baluška Jan 2016

Should Fish Feel Pain? A Plant Perspective, František Baluška

Animal Sentience

Key (2016) claims fish that fish do not feel pain because they lack the necessary neuronal architecture: their responses to noxious stimuli, according to Key, are executed automatically without any feelings. However, as pointed out by many of his commentators, this conclusion is not convincing. Plants might provide some clues. Plants are not usually thought to be very active behaviorally, but the evidence suggests otherwise. Moreover, in stressful situations, plants produce numerous chemicals that have painkilling and anesthetic properties. Finally, plants, when treated with anesthetics, cannot execute active behaviors such as touch-induced leaf movements or rapid trap closures after localizing ...


Animal Sentience: The Other-Minds Problem, Stevan Harnad Jan 2016

Animal Sentience: The Other-Minds Problem, Stevan Harnad

Animal Sentience

The only feelings we can feel are our own. When it comes to the feelings of others, we can only infer them, based on their behavior — unless they tell us. This is the “other-minds problem.” Within our own species, thanks to language, this problem arises only for states in which people cannot speak (infancy, aphasia, sleep, anaesthesia, coma). Our species also has a uniquely powerful empathic or “mind-reading” capacity: We can (sometimes) perceive from the behavior of others when they are in states like our own. Our inferences have also been systematized and operationalized in biobehavioral science and supplemented by ...


Disentangling Embodied Cognition: An Examination Of The State, Problems, And Possibilities Of Embodied Cognition, Cody Cash Dec 2015

Disentangling Embodied Cognition: An Examination Of The State, Problems, And Possibilities Of Embodied Cognition, Cody Cash

Theses and Dissertations

Embodied cognition has received a fair amount of attention in philosophical, neuroscientific, and robotic research during the past several decades, yet the precise nature of its goals, methods, and claims are unclear. This dissertation will ascertain and examine the primary themes in the field of embodied cognition as well as why, and if, they offer significant challenges to traditional cognitive science models. Though many theories believe they are providing accounts that should replace traditional models, to do so they will have to overcome the very difficult challenge of arguing that mental content and capabilities derived from sensorimotor activity can continue ...