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Articles 31 - 49 of 49

Full-Text Articles in Philosophy

Presence And The Paradox Of Love, Joanne Burtch Mar 2016

Presence And The Paradox Of Love, Joanne Burtch

CONSCIOUSNESS: Ideas and Research for the Twenty-First Century

Spiritual experiences often seem unrelated to the intellectual orientation of science. However, some discussion of the laboratory study of spiritual practice does attempt to include the mystery and the human experience in its dialogue. An exploration of the paradox of love demonstrates how it might be possible to find a relationship between the scientific understanding of spirituality and the profundity of spiritual experience.


Reembodying, Human Consciousness In The Earth, John Briggs Mar 2016

Reembodying, Human Consciousness In The Earth, John Briggs

CONSCIOUSNESS: Ideas and Research for the Twenty-First Century

For the last 20,000 years or so the dominant mode of human consciousness has been one that divides reality into subjects and objects, and focuses on human desires and needs. This anthropocentric mode of consciousness has invented religions, built civilizations, amassed knowledge, and developed technology and science. It has also disembodied us from the Earth and led to the Anthropocene Era. Still with us is another mode of human consciousness that arguably once existed in a balance with the anthropocentric mode during our long hunter-gatherer, Paleolithic sojourn. This holistic, integrative mode of consciousness experiences the Earth as a mother ...


Why Fish Do Not Feel Pain, Brian Key Jan 2016

Why Fish Do Not Feel Pain, Brian Key

Animal Sentience

Only humans can report feeling pain. In contrast, pain in animals is typically inferred on the basis of nonverbal behaviour. Unfortunately, these behavioural data can be problematic when the reliability and validity of the behavioural tests are questionable. The thesis proposed here is based on the bioengineering principle that structure determines function. Basic functional homologies can be mapped to structural homologies across a broad spectrum of vertebrate species. For example, olfaction depends on olfactory glomeruli in the olfactory bulbs of the forebrain, visual orientation responses depend on the laminated optic tectum in the midbrain, and locomotion depends on pattern generators ...


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 ...


Pain-Capable Neural Substrates May Be Widely Available In The Animal Kingdom, Edgar T. Walters Jan 2016

Pain-Capable Neural Substrates May Be Widely Available In The Animal Kingdom, Edgar T. Walters

Animal Sentience

Neural and behavioral evidence from diverse species indicates that some forms of pain may be generated by coordinated activity in networks far smaller than the cortical pain matrix in mammals. Studies on responses to injury in squid suggest that simplification of the circuitry necessary for conscious pain might be achieved by restricting awareness to very limited information about a noxious event, possibly only to the fact that injury has occurred, ignoring information that is much less important for survival, such as the location of the injury. Some of the neural properties proposed to be critical for conscious pain in mammals ...


Going Beyond Just-So Stories, Brian Key Jan 2016

Going Beyond Just-So Stories, Brian Key

Animal Sentience

Colloquial arguments for fish feeling pain are deeply rooted in anthropometric tendencies that confuse escape responses to noxious stimuli with evidence for consciousness. More developed arguments often rely on just-so stories of fish displaying complex behaviours as proof of consciousness. In response to commentaries on the idea that fish do not feel pain, I raise the need to go beyond just-so stories and to rigorously analyse the neural circuitry responsible for specific behaviours using new and emerging technologies in neuroscience. By deciphering the causal relationship between neural information processing and conscious behaviour, it should be possible to assess cogently the ...


Fish Lack The Brains And The Psychology For Pain, Stuart W.G. Derbyshire Jan 2016

Fish Lack The Brains And The Psychology For Pain, Stuart W.G. Derbyshire

Animal Sentience

Debate about the possibility of fish pain focuses largely on the fish’s lack of the cortex considered necessary for generating pain. That view is appealing because it avoids relatively abstract debate about the nature of pain experience and subjectivity. Unfortunately, however, that debate cannot be entirely avoided. Subcortical circuits in the fish might support an immediate, raw, “pain” experience. The necessity of the cortex only becomes obvious when considering pain as an explicitly felt subjective experience. Attributing pain to fish only seems absurd when pain is considered as a state of explicit knowing.


What Would The Babel Fish Say?, Monica Gagliano Jan 2016

What Would The Babel Fish Say?, Monica Gagliano

Animal Sentience

Starting with its title, Key’s (2016) target article advocates the view that fish do not feel pain. The author describes the neuroanatomical, physiological and behavioural conditions involved in the experience of pain in humans and rodents and confidently applies analogical arguments as though they were established facts in support of the negative conclusion about the inability of fish to feel pain. The logical reasoning, unfortunately, becomes somewhat incoherent, with the arbitrary application of the designated human criteria for an analogical argument to one animal species (e.g., rodents) but not another (fish). Research findings are reported selectively, and questionable ...


Cortex Necessary For Pain — But Not In Sense That Matters, Adam J. Shriver Jan 2016

Cortex Necessary For Pain — But Not In Sense That Matters, Adam J. Shriver

Animal Sentience

Certain cortical regions are necessary for pain in humans in the sense that, at particular times, they play a direct role in pain. However, it is not true that they are necessary in the more important sense that pain is never possible in humans without them. There are additional details from human lesion studies concerning functional plasticity that undermine Key’s (2016) interpretation. Moreover, no one has yet identified any specific behaviors that mammalian cortical pain regions make possible that are absent in fish.


Animal Suffering Calls For More Than A Bigger Cage, Simon R. B. Leadbeater Jan 2016

Animal Suffering Calls For More Than A Bigger Cage, Simon R. B. Leadbeater

Animal Sentience

Ng (2016) argues for incremental welfare biology partly because it would be impossible to demonstrate conclusively that animals are sentient. He argues that low cost changes in industrial practices and working collaboratively may be more effective in advancing animal welfare than more adversarial approaches. There is merit in some of Ng’s recommendations but a number of his arguments are, in my view, misdirected. The fact that nonhuman animals feel has already been adequately demonstrated. Cruelty to animals is intrinsic to some industries, so the only way to oppose it is to oppose the industry.


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 ...


No Evidence That Pain Is Painful Neural Process, Riccardo Manzotti Jan 2016

No Evidence That Pain Is Painful Neural Process, Riccardo Manzotti

Animal Sentience

Key (2016) claims that fish do not feel pain because they lack the neural structures that have a contingent causal role in generating and feeling pain in mammals. I counterargue that no conclusive evidence supports the sufficiency of any mammalian neural structure to produce pain. We cannot move from contingent necessity in mammals to necessity in every organism.


Reducing Subjectivity: Meditation And Implicit Bias, Diana M. Ciuca Jan 2015

Reducing Subjectivity: Meditation And Implicit Bias, Diana M. Ciuca

CMC Senior Theses

Implicit association of racial stereotypes is brought about by social conditioning (Greenwald & Krieger, 2006). This conditioning can be explained by attractor networks (Sharp, 2011). Reducing implicit bias through meditation can show the effectiveness of reducing the rigidity of attractor networks, thereby reducing subjectivity. Mindfulness meditation has shown to reduce bias from the use of one single guided session conducted before performing an Implicit Association Test (Lueke & Gibson, 2015). Attachment to socially conditioned racial bias should become less prevalent through practicing meditation over time. An experimental model is proposed to test this claim along with a reconceptualization of consciousness based in ...


Mind And Life: Is The Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception Of Nature False?, Martin Zwick Jan 2015

Mind And Life: Is The Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception Of Nature False?, Martin Zwick

Systems Science Faculty Publications and Presentations

A partial review of Thomas Nagel's book, Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist NeoDarwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False is used to articulate some systems-theoretic ideas about the challenge of understanding subjective experience. The article accepts Nagel' s view that reductionist materialism fails as an approach to this challenge, but argues that seeking an explanation of mind based on emergence is more plausible than one based on panpsychism, which Nagel favors. However, the article proposes something similar to Nagel's neutral monism by positing a hierarchy of information processes that span the domains of matter, life, and ...


Schrödinger And Nietzsche And Life: Eternal Recurrence And The Conscious Now, Babette Babich May 2014

Schrödinger And Nietzsche And Life: Eternal Recurrence And The Conscious Now, Babette Babich

Articles and Chapters in Academic Book Collections

The phenomenological question of consciousness usually associated with Husserl (although there are echoes of this in Augustine as in Marcus Aurelius, Kant and Schopenhauer), is the consciousness of the now, the present moment. I explore this consciousness for Erwin Schrödinger, which for him included reference to the Upaniṣads together with Nietzsche’s central teaching or “thinking” of the eternal recurrence of the same.


The Evolutionary Function Of Conscious Information Processing Is Revealed By Its Task-Dependency In The Olfactory System, Andreas Keller Feb 2014

The Evolutionary Function Of Conscious Information Processing Is Revealed By Its Task-Dependency In The Olfactory System, Andreas Keller

Publications and Research

Although many responses to odorous stimuli are mediated without olfactory information being consciously processed, some olfactory behaviors require conscious information processing. I will here contrast situations in which olfactory information is processed consciously to situations in which it is processed non-consciously. This contrastive analysis reveals that conscious information processing is required when an organism is faced with tasks in which there are many behavioral options available. I therefore propose that it is the evolutionary function of conscious information processing to guide behaviors in situations in which the organism has to choose between many possible responses.


The Structure Of Consciousness, Lowell Keith Friesen Sep 2013

The Structure Of Consciousness, Lowell Keith Friesen

Open Access Dissertations

In this dissertation, I examine the nature and structure of consciousness. Conscious experience is often said to be phenomenally unified, and subjects of consciousness are often self-conscious. I ask whether these features necessarily accompany conscious experience. Is it necessarily the case, for instance, that all of a conscious subject's experiences at a time are phenomenally unified? And is it necessarily the case that subjects of consciousness are self-conscious whenever they are conscious? I argue that the answer to the former is affirmative and the latter negative.

In the first chapter, I set the stage by distinguishing phenomenal unity from ...


Biological Autonomy, A. Grandpierre, Menas Kafatos Jan 2012

Biological Autonomy, A. Grandpierre, Menas Kafatos

Mathematics, Physics, and Computer Science Faculty Articles and Research

We argue that genuine biological autonomy, or described at human level as free will, requires taking into account quantum vacuum processes in the context of biological teleology. One faces at least three basic problems of genuine biological autonomy: (1) if biological autonomy is not physical, where does it come from? (2) Is there a room for biological causes? And (3) how to obtain a workable model of biological teleology? It is shown here that the solution of all these three problems is related to the quantum vacuum. We present a short review of how this basic aspect of the fundamentals ...


Schrödinger And Nietzsche On Life: The Eternal Recurrence Of The Same, Babette Babich Sep 2011

Schrödinger And Nietzsche On Life: The Eternal Recurrence Of The Same, Babette Babich

Working Papers

Schrödinger and Nietzsche on Life: The Eternal Recurrence of the Same

This essay explores Schrödinger’s reflections on measurement, consciousness, and personal identity. Schrödinger’s, What Is Life? is read together with Nietzsche’s own reflections on the same question, in his aphorism What is Life? together with Nietzsche’s teaching of the eternal return of the selfsame. Schrödinger’s own thinking is influenced as is Nietzsche’s by Schopenhauer but Schrödinger also has the Vedic tradition as this influenced Schopenhauer himself in view.