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Full-Text Articles in Philosophy

What Is In An Octopus's Mind?, Jennifer Mather Aug 2019

What Is In An Octopus's Mind?, Jennifer Mather

Jennifer Mather, PhD

It is difficult to imagine what an animal as different from us as the octopus ‘thinks’, but we can make some progress. In the Umwelt or perceptual world of an octopus, what the lateralized monocular eyes perceive is not color but the plane of polarization of light. Information is processed by a bilateral brain but manipulation is done by a radially symmetrical set of eight arms. Octopuses do not self-monitor by vision. Their skin pattern system, used for excellent camouflage, is open loop. The output of the motor system of the eight arms is organized at several levels — brain, intrabrachial ...


What Is In An Octopus's Mind?, Jennifer Mather Jan 2019

What Is In An Octopus's Mind?, Jennifer Mather

Animal Sentience

It is difficult to imagine what an animal as different from us as the octopus ‘thinks’, but we can make some progress. In the Umwelt or perceptual world of an octopus, what the lateralized monocular eyes perceive is not color but the plane of polarization of light. Information is processed by a bilateral brain but manipulation is done by a radially symmetrical set of eight arms. Octopuses do not self-monitor by vision. Their skin pattern system, used for excellent camouflage, is open loop. The output of the motor system of the eight arms is organized at several levels — brain, intrabrachial ...


Ecologies Of Embodied Minds Embedded: Radical Romantic Perspectives On Architectures Of Technology, Sharmaine Browne Sep 2017

Ecologies Of Embodied Minds Embedded: Radical Romantic Perspectives On Architectures Of Technology, Sharmaine Browne

All Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

This dissertation explores Romantic responses to the role of architectural technologies in the development of material being, consciousness, and culture by applying a critical approach in which I combine radical embodied cognitive theory, ecocritical perspectives, and a phenomenological lens to select Romantic texts written from 1789 to 1884 in response to industrial modernity. While scholarship has thoroughly explored technology as a cultural force which inevitably shapes consciousness, I propose that a slight shift of emphasis from technology’s external influence to the material internalization of its influence allows for new perspectives—particularly in light of recent proposals in cognitive philosophy ...


Still Wondering How Flesh Can Feel, Gwen J. Broude Dec 2016

Still Wondering How Flesh Can Feel, Gwen J. Broude

Animal Sentience

Reber believes he has simplified Chalmers’s “hard problem” of consciousness by arguing that subjectivity is an inherent feature of biological forms. His argument rests on the related notions of continuity of mind and gradual accretion of capacities across evolutionary time. These notions need to be defended, not just asserted. Because Reber minimizes the differences in mental faculties among species across evolutionary time, it becomes easier to assert, and perhaps believe, that sentience is already present in early biological forms. The more explicit we are about the differences among these mental faculties and the differences across species, the less persuasive ...


Reber’S Caterpillar Offers No Help, Carl Safina Dec 2016

Reber’S Caterpillar Offers No Help, Carl Safina

Animal Sentience

Reber’s target article “Caterpillars, consciousness and the origins of mind” seems only to shift but not to address the question of where the mind is and how minds occur.



Consciousness: Where We Are At, Imants Barušs Sep 2016

Consciousness: Where We Are At, Imants Barušs

CONSCIOUSNESS: Ideas and Research for the Twenty-First Century

It is useful every couple of years to take a bird’s eye view of consciousness studies and reflect on what we see. When I look, I still see two streams, one of which is the social and political framework for the study of consciousness, and the other of which is the substance of what we know about consciousness. The former is still largely defined by the extent to which the scientific study of consciousness has been freed from a materialist agenda. The latter includes recent research into the clarity of cognitive functioning in the absence of sufficient neurological support ...


How Could Consciousness Emerge From Adaptive Functioning?, Max Velmans Sep 2016

How Could Consciousness Emerge From Adaptive Functioning?, Max Velmans

Animal Sentience

The sudden appearance of consciousness that Reber posits in creatures with flexible cell walls and motility rather than non-flexible cells walls and no motility involves an evolutionary discontinuity. This kind of “miracle” is required by all “discontinuity” theories of consciousness. To avoid miraculous emergence, one may need to consider continuity theories, which accept that different forms of consciousness and material functioning co-evolve but assume the existence of consciousness to be primal in the way that matter and energy are assumed to be primal in physics.


Bacteria And The Cellular Basis Of Consciousness, Michael L. Woodruff Aug 2016

Bacteria And The Cellular Basis Of Consciousness, Michael L. Woodruff

Animal Sentience

According to Reber’s theory, the Cellular Basis of Consciousness (CBC), sentience originates as bio-sensitivity in unicellular organisms. For this reason, Reber regards sentience as evolutionarily foundational. Many bacteria show chemotaxis and, thus, according to CBC, they are sentient. Analysis of the genetic mechanisms underlying bacterial chemotaxis indicates that sentience has no explanatory power in this case. Genetic analysis also fails to show species continuity underlying bio-sensitivity in bacteria and bio-sensitivity in species with nervous systems, so it does not seem that sentience is evolutionary foundational. CBC is rejected on these grounds.


Caterpillars, Consciousness And The Origins Of Mind, Arthur S. Reber Jul 2016

Caterpillars, Consciousness And The Origins Of Mind, Arthur S. Reber

Animal Sentience

A novel framework for the origins of consciousness and mind, the Cellular Basis of Consciousness (CBC), is presented. The model is based on a simple, perhaps radical axiom: subjectivity is an inherent feature of particular kinds of organic form. Experiential states, including those denoted as "mind" and "consciousness," are present in the most primitive species. The model has several conceptual and empirical virtues, among them: (a) it (re)solves the problem of how minds are created by brains ─ also known as the "Hard Problem" (Chalmers 1995) ─ by revealing that the apparent difficulty results from a category error, (b) it redirects ...


Animal Cognition, Kristin Andrews, Ljiljana Radenovic Apr 2015

Animal Cognition, Kristin Andrews, Ljiljana Radenovic

Kristin Andrews, PhD

Debates in applied ethics about the proper treatment of animals often refer to empirical data about animal cognition, emotion, and behavior. In addition, there is increasing interest in the question of whether any nonhuman animal could be something like a moral agent.