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Cognitive Neuroscience

Jonathan Balcombe, PhD

Publication Year

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Full-Text Articles in Philosophy of Mind

Fishes Are Gaining Academic Respect, Jonathan Balcombe Jul 2019

Fishes Are Gaining Academic Respect, Jonathan Balcombe

Jonathan Balcombe, PhD

I respond to five commentaries on my 2016 book What a Fish Knows. The commentaries express more harmony than dissent about my interpretation of fishes as cognitive, aware individuals deserving better treatment by humankind.


Chicken Of The Sea, Jonathan Balcombe Jul 2019

Chicken Of The Sea, Jonathan Balcombe

Jonathan Balcombe, PhD

Marino summarizes research showing that chickens perform cognitively and emotionally at a higher level than previously assumed. Here, I describe capacities of teleost fishes that parallel those of chickens, including the ability to recognize human faces, perspective-taking, and referential communication. Research on chickens and on fishes reveals an emerging trend in cognitive ethology: abilities once thought limited to a scant few highly intelligent non-humans may actually occur broadly across taxa.


Cognitive Evidence Of Fish Sentience, Jonathan Balcombe Apr 2016

Cognitive Evidence Of Fish Sentience, Jonathan Balcombe

Jonathan Balcombe, PhD

I present a little-known example of flexible, opportunistic behavior by a species of fish to undermine Key’s (2016) thesis that fish are unconscious and unable to feel. Lack of a cortex is flimsy grounds for denying pain to fish, for on that criterion we must also then deny it to all non-mammals, including birds, which goes against scientific consensus. Notwithstanding science’s fundamental inability to prove anything, the precautionary principal dictates that we should give the benefit of the doubt to fish, and the state of the oceans dictates that we act on it now.