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2016

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Full-Text Articles in Philosophy

Reef Society And The Tyranny Of Data, Robert Wintner Dec 2016

Reef Society And The Tyranny Of Data, Robert Wintner

Animal Sentience

Modern science now approaches divergent processes in many areas, including health assessments of marine eco-systems and social aspects of marine species. Scientific data have long enjoyed a reputation for objectivity but incidents of science-for-hire, data spinning/skewing and political jading are more frequent than ever. In the field of reef creature sensitivity, technical treatises can “logically” explain away what a person of average education can clearly observe on any given reef. Western medicine discounted anecdotal evidence of any cure outside the 4% margin of error until those cures demanded attention and in some cases application. Modern science must now enter ...


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 ...


Animals Aren’T Persons, But Is It Time For A Neologism?, Helen Steward Dec 2016

Animals Aren’T Persons, But Is It Time For A Neologism?, Helen Steward

Animal Sentience

Mark Rowlands argues that at least some animals are persons, based on the idea that (i) many animals have a property he calls “pre-reflective awareness,” (ii) the capacity for pre-reflective awareness is sufficient to satisfy the traditional Lockean definition of personhood, and (iii) satisfaction of the traditional Lockean definition of personhood is sufficient for being a person. I agree with (i) and can see that there is a persuasive case for (ii), but I think the case against (iii) blocks the conclusion that animals are persons. I suggest that we may need instead to coin a neologism in order to ...


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.



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 ...


Consciousness And Evolutionary Biology, Yew-Kwang Ng Nov 2016

Consciousness And Evolutionary Biology, Yew-Kwang Ng

Animal Sentience

Reber’s axiom: “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” does not seem to be supported by things we know and the logic of evolutionary biology. The latter leads to the conclusion that conscious species are flexible in their behavior (rather than in their cell walls), as argued in Ng (1995, 2016). Locomotion may be completely hard-wired and need not involve consciousness. It is hard enough to explain how consciousness could emerge in a sophisticated brain: Isn’t it a harder problem ...


The Difference Between Conscious And Unconscious Brain Circuits, Ezequiel Morsella, Zaviera Reyes Nov 2016

The Difference Between Conscious And Unconscious Brain Circuits, Ezequiel Morsella, Zaviera Reyes

Animal Sentience

Theoretical frameworks in which consciousness is an inherent property of the neuron must account for the contrast between conscious and unconscious processes in the brain and address how neural events can ever be unconscious if consciousness is a property of all neurons. Other approaches have sought answers regarding consciousness by contrasting conscious and unconscious processes and through investigating the complex interactions between the two kinds of processes, as occurs most notably in human voluntary action. In voluntary action, consciousness is associated most, not with motor control or low-level perceptual processing, but with the stage of processing known as action selection.



Resolving The Hard Problem And Calling For A Small Miracle, Arthur S. Reber Nov 2016

Resolving The Hard Problem And Calling For A Small Miracle, Arthur S. Reber

Animal Sentience

With the exception of the commentary by Key, the commentaries on Reber have a common feature: the commenters feel, with varying levels of enthusiasm, that there is at least some virtue in the core assumption of the Cellular Basis of Consciousness (CBC) theory that consciousness (or subjectivity or sentience) accompanies the earliest forms of life. The model has two important entailments: (a) it resolves the (in)famous Hard Problem by redirecting the search for the biochemical foundations of sentience away from human consciousness; and (b) it reduces the need for an emergentist miracle to a far simpler scale than is ...


No Help On The Hard Problem, Derek Ball Nov 2016

No Help On The Hard Problem, Derek Ball

Animal Sentience

The hard problem of consciousness is to explain why certain physical states are conscious: why do they feel the way they do, rather than some other way or no way at all? Arthur Reber (2016) claims to solve the hard problem. But he does not: even if we grant that amoebae are conscious, we can ask why such organisms feel the way they do, and Reber’s theory provides no answer. Still, Reber’s theory may be methodologically useful: we do not yet have a satisfactory theory of consciousness, but perhaps the study of simple minds is a way to ...


Unconscious Higher-Order Thoughts (Hots) As Pre-Reflective Self-Awareness?, Rocco J. Gennaro Nov 2016

Unconscious Higher-Order Thoughts (Hots) As Pre-Reflective Self-Awareness?, Rocco J. Gennaro

Animal Sentience

Rowlands argues that many nonhuman animals are “persons,” contrary to the prevailing orthodoxy which rests on a mistaken conception of the kind of self-awareness relevant to personhood. He argues that self-awareness bifurcates into two importantly different forms — reflective self-awareness and pre-reflective self-awareness — and that many animals can have the latter, which is sufficient for personhood. I agree that there is good reason to think that many animals can have pre-reflective self-awareness, but I think Rowlands is mistaken about its nature. His account runs the risk of leading to an infinite regress objection, and his notion of pre-reflective self-awareness actually sounds ...


Species Pluralism: Conceptual, Ontological, And Practical Dimensions, Justin Bzovy Nov 2016

Species Pluralism: Conceptual, Ontological, And Practical Dimensions, Justin Bzovy

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Species are central to biology, but there is currently no agreement on what the adequate species concept should be, and many have adopted a pluralist stance: different species concepts will be required for different purposes. This thesis is a multidimensional analysis of species pluralism. First I explicate how pluralism differs monism and relativism. I then consider the history of species pluralism. I argue that we must re-frame the species problem, and that re-evaluating Aristotle's role in the histories of systematics can shed light on pluralism. Next I consider different forms of pluralism: evolutionary and extra-evolutionary species pluralism, which differ ...


The Psychological Concept Of “Person”, Kristin Andrews Nov 2016

The Psychological Concept Of “Person”, Kristin Andrews

Animal Sentience

Reluctance to overextend personhood seems to drive many of the skeptical responses in the first round of commentaries on Rowlands's target article. Despite Rowlands’s straightforward Response that we already accept some nonhumans as persons, there is still hesitation to accept that other nonhuman animals are persons. Rowlands's argument is sound but the skeptics don’t accept the Lockean notion of person. The metaphysical sense of person is a psychological one, however, and psychological properties grant one moral status according to many ethical theories.


Review: Interspecies Ethics By Cynthia Willett, Thomas E. Randall Oct 2016

Review: Interspecies Ethics By Cynthia Willett, Thomas E. Randall

Between the Species

This paper provides a review of Cynthia Willett's book Interspecies Ethics. Willett aims to outline the beginnings of biosocial eros ethics – an ethical outline that sketches the potentiality of a cross-species cosmopolitan ideal of compassion (agape), derived through acknowledging and emphasizing the existence of spontaneous, playful interaction between social animals. Though this book is recommended for offering an innovative framework from which to explore the possibility of non-anthropocentric cross-species ethic, readers should be wary of expecting to find a fully-fledged moral program detailing how this would work.


Consciousness And The Unity Of Mind, Mark Rowlands Oct 2016

Consciousness And The Unity Of Mind, Mark Rowlands

Animal Sentience

Several types of objection have been raised against the arguments I presented in my target article, “Are animals persons?” Among the objections are the following: (1) the claim that animals are persons is of little significance, (2) my use of the Lockean conception of the person is questionable, (3) whether a creature qualifies as a person is a matter of social construction rather than objective fact, (4) reflective consciousness is more important than I realize, (5) my reliance on implicit self-awareness in the account of personhood is ill-advised, (6) my account entails that too many creatures qualify as persons, and ...


Insects: Still Looking Like Zombies, Christopher S. Hill Oct 2016

Insects: Still Looking Like Zombies, Christopher S. Hill

Animal Sentience

In arguing that insect brains are capable of sentience, Klein & Barron rely heavily on Bjorn Merker’s claim that activity in the human mid-brain is sufficient for conscious experience. I criticize Merker’s claim by pointing out that the behaviors supported by midbrain activity are much more primitive than the ones that appear to depend on consciousness. I raise a similar objection to Klein & Barron’s contention that insect behaviors are similar to behaviors that manifest consciousness in human beings. The similarity is weak. I also respond to the related view that integrative activity in mid-brain structures is sufficient to ...


Cognitive Dissonance Or Contrast?, Thomas R. Zentall Sep 2016

Cognitive Dissonance Or Contrast?, Thomas R. Zentall

Animal Sentience

According to Festinger (1957), cognitive dissonance occurs when one’s behavior or belief is inconsistent with another belief and one modifies one of the beliefs in an attempt to reduce the dissonance. In nonhuman animals, we have examined a version of human cognitive dissonance theory called justification of effort, according to which the value of reward following more difficult tasks increases, presumably to justify (to oneself or to others) performing the more difficult task. We have examined the justification of effort effect in animals and found a pattern similar to the one in humans but we propose a simpler underlying ...


Integral In-Dwelling: A Prepositional Theology Of Religions, Bruce Alderman Sep 2016

Integral In-Dwelling: A Prepositional Theology Of Religions, Bruce Alderman

CONSCIOUSNESS: Ideas and Research for the Twenty-First Century

The concept of generalized co-presence is a central one in the gram- mar of Bhaskar’s metaRealist metaphysics. As a term denoting the radical relationality and mutual indwelling of beings in the cosmos, generalized co- presence finds analogues in the holographic principle of Morin’s Complex Thought, Wilber’s nondual inflection of holarchy, as well as multiple religious archetypes of divine interindependence. In this paper, I will explore the potential of this concept for framing a “deep participatory,” Complex Integral Realist model of interreligious relationship that can amplify the integrative potential of the metaRealist, Integral, and participatory approaches to this ...


Commentaries On Deepak Chopra And Menas Kafatos’ Book, “You Are The Universe”; 2017, Harmony Books., Ervin Laszlo Sep 2016

Commentaries On Deepak Chopra And Menas Kafatos’ Book, “You Are The Universe”; 2017, Harmony Books., Ervin Laszlo

CONSCIOUSNESS: Ideas and Research for the Twenty-First Century

No abstract provided.


From The Handbook Of The Laszlo Institute Of New Paradigm Research And The Intelligence Of The Cosmos , Inner Traditions, September 2017, Ervin Laszlo Sep 2016

From The Handbook Of The Laszlo Institute Of New Paradigm Research And The Intelligence Of The Cosmos , Inner Traditions, September 2017, Ervin Laszlo

CONSCIOUSNESS: Ideas and Research for the Twenty-First Century

No abstract provided.


Commentaries On Deepak Chopra And Menas Kafatos’ Book, “You Are The Universe”; 2017, Harmony Books., Allan Combs Sep 2016

Commentaries On Deepak Chopra And Menas Kafatos’ Book, “You Are The Universe”; 2017, Harmony Books., Allan Combs

CONSCIOUSNESS: Ideas and Research for the Twenty-First Century

No abstract provided.


Commentaries On Deepak Chopra And Menas Kafatos’ Book, “You Are The Universe”; 2017, Harmony Books., Joe Subbiondo Sep 2016

Commentaries On Deepak Chopra And Menas Kafatos’ Book, “You Are The Universe”; 2017, Harmony Books., Joe Subbiondo

CONSCIOUSNESS: Ideas and Research for the Twenty-First Century

No abstract provided.


Commentaries On Deepak Chopra And Menas Kafatos’ Book, “You Are The Universe”; 2017, Harmony Books., Shelli Joye Sep 2016

Commentaries On Deepak Chopra And Menas Kafatos’ Book, “You Are The Universe”; 2017, Harmony Books., Shelli Joye

CONSCIOUSNESS: Ideas and Research for the Twenty-First Century

No abstract provided.


The Pribram – Bohm Hypothesis Part Ii: The Physiology Of Consciousness, Shelli R. Joye Sep 2016

The Pribram – Bohm Hypothesis Part Ii: The Physiology Of Consciousness, Shelli R. Joye

CONSCIOUSNESS: Ideas and Research for the Twenty-First Century

A physiology of consciousness is elaborated, based upon implications of the Pribram-Bohm hypothesis (developed in Part I of this series). The model presented here is in sharp contrast to the prevailing conviction among neuroscientists that consciousness will eventually be discovered to be a physiological epiphenomenon of neuronal electrical impulses firing in the brain. In contrast, the Pribram-Bohm theory holds that consciousness, inherent in what Bohm views cosmologically as “the Whole,” manifests as a dynamic conscious energy resonance bridging the explicate space-time domain with the nonlocal, transcendent flux domain termed the “implicate order.” Presented in Part I, the Pribram-Bohm hypothesis posits ...


Growth And Happiness In The Human Personality, Rien Havens, Allan Combs Sep 2016

Growth And Happiness In The Human Personality, Rien Havens, Allan Combs

CONSCIOUSNESS: Ideas and Research for the Twenty-First Century

This paper explores stages and styles of meaning making in a population at Kegan’s (1982) developmental levels 3 through 5. It is a qualitative study of the relationship between adult personality development and how individuals speak about meaning and well-being in their lives. Nineteen participants ranging widely in age and socioeconomic class were selected informally through connections with the researchers, and snowball sampling. They were chosen from an original group of 50, based on informal interviews suggesting that they had achieved Kegan’s developmental levels of “Socialized Mind” (stage 3), or especially “Self-Authoring Mind” (stage 4) or “Self-Transforming Mind ...


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 ...


Why Consciousness Matters: Insights From A New Generation, Kathleen Noble Sep 2016

Why Consciousness Matters: Insights From A New Generation, Kathleen Noble

CONSCIOUSNESS: Ideas and Research for the Twenty-First Century

The University of Washington-Bothell is home to a transdisciplinary and integral minor in consciousness that is the first and only such program at a public research university. This study reports a content analysis of reflection essays submitted by 122 students who completed at least four of the five courses that comprise the minor between 2012 and 2016. Results indicate that students derived significant benefits from this approach to the study of consciousness, including a deep appreciation for the depth and breadth of the mind and the need to release their understanding of consciousness from the constraints of scientific materialism. They ...


Commentaries On Deepak Chopra And Menas Kafatos’ Book, “You Are The Universe”; 2017, Harmony Books., Stanley Krippner Sep 2016

Commentaries On Deepak Chopra And Menas Kafatos’ Book, “You Are The Universe”; 2017, Harmony Books., Stanley Krippner

CONSCIOUSNESS: Ideas and Research for the Twenty-First Century

No abstract provided.


Commentaries On Deepak Chopra And Menas Kafatos’ Book, “You Are The Universe”; 2017, Harmony Books., Simon Senzon Sep 2016

Commentaries On Deepak Chopra And Menas Kafatos’ Book, “You Are The Universe”; 2017, Harmony Books., Simon Senzon

CONSCIOUSNESS: Ideas and Research for the Twenty-First Century

No abstract provided.


Commentaries On Deepak Chopra And Menas Kafatos’ Book, “You Are The Universe”; 2017, Harmony Books., Jim Smith Sep 2016

Commentaries On Deepak Chopra And Menas Kafatos’ Book, “You Are The Universe”; 2017, Harmony Books., Jim Smith

CONSCIOUSNESS: Ideas and Research for the Twenty-First Century

No abstract provided.


Evolutionary Continuity Of Personhood, Anne Benvenuti Sep 2016

Evolutionary Continuity Of Personhood, Anne Benvenuti

Animal Sentience

Rowlands applies the two organizing ideas of the Lockean concept of personhood — mental life and unity — to animals as potential persons. Especially valuable in this context is his descriptive phenomenology of pre-reflective self-awareness as a fundamental form of mental life that necessarily entails unity. Rowland describes certain fundamentals of mental experience that exist across species boundaries, challenging assumptions of early modern philosophers regarding the definition of human personhood and affirming the principle of evolutionary continuity. This opens the door to a broader and deeper set of questions, related to whether we should continue to attempt to apply to other animals ...