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Full-Text Articles in Philosophy of Mind

The Inconvenient Truth About Thinking Chickens, Lori Marino Sep 2017

The Inconvenient Truth About Thinking Chickens, Lori Marino

Animal Sentience

Original Abstract: Domestic chickens are members of an order, Aves, which has been the focus of a revolution in our understanding of neuroanatomical, cognitive, and social complexity. Some birds are now known to be on a par with many mammals in their intelligence, emotional sophistication, and social interaction. Yet views of chickens have largely remained unrevised in light of this new evidence. In this paper, I examine the data on cognition, emotions, personality, and sociality in chickens, exploring such areas as self-awareness, cognitive bias, social learning and self-control, and comparing their abilities with other birds and other vertebrates, particularly mammals ...


Choice-Induced Preference: A Challenge For Contrast, Benjamin R. Eisenreich, Benjamin Y. Hayden Jan 2017

Choice-Induced Preference: A Challenge For Contrast, Benjamin R. Eisenreich, Benjamin Y. Hayden

Animal Sentience

In his target article, Zentall asks: “to experience cognitive dissonance is it necessary for one to have conflicting beliefs or even beliefs at all?” He then argues that a simple behavioral process, the Within Trial Contrast Effect, may be sufficient to explain observed cognitive dissonance effects in nonhuman animals and possibly humans as well. We agree with Zentall that this effect is sufficient to explain many reported cognitive dissonance effects in nonhuman animals, but question its sufficiency for primate behavior (both monkeys and humans).


Self, Death, And Suicide: Does An Animal Know Of These?, Carolyn A. Ristau Jan 2017

Self, Death, And Suicide: Does An Animal Know Of These?, Carolyn A. Ristau

Animal Sentience

Peña-Guzmán makes a strong case, using examples from the media and scientific literature, that many captive animals suffer severely. In examining the possibility of animal suicide, he dismisses the need for “reflective self-subjectivity” and “intent” in suicidal behavior. He claims that at least some animals understand “death,” citing examples of behavior he deems to be death “rituals.” But these can be more simply interpreted. The possibility of animal suicide remains more dubious than Peña-Guzmán suggests.


Is Psychological Science Committing “Suicide” By Linguistic Muddling?, Roger K. Thomas Jan 2017

Is Psychological Science Committing “Suicide” By Linguistic Muddling?, Roger K. Thomas

Animal Sentience

Beginning mainly with the “cognitive revolution” in psychology in the latter half of the 20th century, psychological science has been committing “suicide” slowly via linguistic muddling. Peña-Guzmán’s target article is but one of thousands of cuts contributing to this death by “suicide.” Having said that, given the current state of affairs in animal cognition research, there is much to commend in Peña-Guzmán’s article. I leave that to others, however. This commentary explains how the suicide by muddling of psychological science is happening in general, with the understanding that it applies also to Peña-Guzmán’s target article.


Refining The Precautionary Framework, Jonathan Birch Jan 2017

Refining The Precautionary Framework, Jonathan Birch

Animal Sentience

Most of the commentators so far agree that the precautionary principle can be usefully applied to the question of animal sentience. I consider various ways of refining my proposals in light of the suggestions. I amend BAR to implement C. Brown’s suggestion that the scope of animal welfare law should be extensible by phylogenetic inference from orders in which credible indicators of sentience are found. In response to C. Brown, Mallatt, and Woodruff, I amend ACT to allow that a single credible indicator may sometimes call for urgent further investigation rather than immediate protection. In response to Paez, I ...


Chickens’ Brains, Like Ours, Are Lateralized, Lesley J. Rogers Jan 2017

Chickens’ Brains, Like Ours, Are Lateralized, Lesley J. Rogers

Animal Sentience

This commentary draws attention to yet another attribute that has been instrumental in demonstrating the cognitive abilities of domestic chicks: lateralization of brain function. The discovery of lateralization in domestic chicks was part of the first evidence showing that humans are not unique in this respect. The effects on cognitive ability of sensory stimulation in critical stages of development have implications for the welfare of chicks, as well as other species.


Scientific Advances And Moral Inertia, Kathie Jenni Jan 2017

Scientific Advances And Moral Inertia, Kathie Jenni

Animal Sentience

Marino shows that chickens are as complex mentally as other birds and mammals. Yet common perceptions of chickens are slow to change in response to the science. Human capacities for willful ignorance, inattention, and avoidance keep us from learning about the animals we harm, and the inertia of habit and tradition keeps us from taking appropriate action in response to what we learn. It’s essential for teachers and activists to find ways to overcome this inattention and inertia.


Clarifying Concepts In Cognitive Dissonance Theory, Eddie Harmon-Jones Jan 2017

Clarifying Concepts In Cognitive Dissonance Theory, Eddie Harmon-Jones

Animal Sentience

This commentary on Zentall’s target article focuses primarily on clarifying some postulates and variables in cognitive dissonance theory. I discuss the adaptive motivational functions of dissonance arousal and dissonance reduction, and attempt to clarify some past dissonance experiments and to tease apart a dissonance theory and contrast explanation of effort-justification-type effects. The evidence and arguments reviewed here support the explanatory power of cognitive dissonance theory in a wide variety of circumstances in human and nonhuman animals, but they depend on first defining concepts such as “cognitions” quite broadly, as Festinger did when he originally proposed the theory.


Reductionism And Accounts Of Cognitive Dissonance, Kent D. Bodily Jan 2017

Reductionism And Accounts Of Cognitive Dissonance, Kent D. Bodily

Animal Sentience

Zentall (2016) proposed within-trial contrast as an alternative account of cognitive dissonance with greater parsimony and generalizability between human and nonhuman species. This commentary describes forms of reductionism, categorizes several competing accounts of cognitive dissonance phenomena, and addresses the strengths and weaknesses according to the reductionist form each account takes. A focus on functional relations may make explanation more parsimonious while bridging theoretical divides between human and nonhuman research programs.


The Potential For Sentience In Fishes, Jay R. Stauffer Jr. Jan 2017

The Potential For Sentience In Fishes, Jay R. Stauffer Jr.

Animal Sentience

Balcombe’s book is filled with information on the biology, behavior, and life history of fishes. I do not agree with all his premises. I am still somewhat perplexed about the discussion of whether fish feel pain; I am not sure whether the distinction between nociception and pain makes any difference. Overall, however, his treatment of the principles of both natural and sexual selection is comprehensive and accurate, and has greatly increased my knowledge and awareness of the biology, ethology, and potential for sentience in fishes. In summary, this work has exposed me to new ideas about how to examine ...


Fishes Are Gaining Academic Respect, Jonathan Balcombe Jan 2017

Fishes Are Gaining Academic Respect, Jonathan Balcombe

Animal Sentience

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.


Battlefish Contention, Sean Allen-Hermanson Jan 2017

Battlefish Contention, Sean Allen-Hermanson

Animal Sentience

Contrary to Woodruff’s suggestion, investigations into possible reasoning capacities of cichlid fighting fish and trace memory in goldfish do not support claims about sentience. This is disputed by research results about learning and implicit processing, sleep, vegetative states, amnesia, semantic priming, artificial network modeling, and even insects. A novel, deflationary, interpretation of Grosenick et al.'s experiments on A. burtoni is also offered.


Of Cortex And Consciousness: “Phenomenal,” “Access,” Or Otherwise, Scott A. Husband Jan 2017

Of Cortex And Consciousness: “Phenomenal,” “Access,” Or Otherwise, Scott A. Husband

Animal Sentience

From the perspective of a comparative neuroanatomist studying the avian pallium, Woodruff’s (2017) claims about the behavioral and electrophysiological evidence for teleost sentience blur the lines between phenomenal and access consciousness (Block, 1995). I discuss the bias that complex cognition can only arise in the cortical layering typical of the mammalian pallium and conclude that Woodruff makes a good case that the tecto-pallial connections in teleosts are sufficiently complex to support something like sentience.


Learning, Memory, Cognition, And The Question Of Sentience In Fish, Robert Gerlai Jan 2017

Learning, Memory, Cognition, And The Question Of Sentience In Fish, Robert Gerlai

Animal Sentience

Evolutionarily conserved features have been demonstrated at many levels of biological organization across a variety of species. Evolutionary conservation may apply to complex behavioral phenomena too. It is thus not inconceivable that a form of sentience does exist even in the lowest order vertebrate taxon, the teleosts. How similar it is to human sentience in its level of complexity or in its multidimensional features is a difficult question, especially from an experimental standpoint, given that even the definition of human sentience is debated. Woodruff attempts a Turing-like test of fish sentience, and lists numerous neuroanatomic, neurophysiological and behavioral similarities between ...


We Still Need A Theory, Paula Droege Jan 2017

We Still Need A Theory, Paula Droege

Animal Sentience

Woodruff (2017) has compiled a convincing array of data to support his contention that teleost fish feel pain. However, in the absence of an explanatory theory about the nature and function of consciousness, a checklist of criteria is insufficient to allay skeptical concerns. I offer a theory that can explain why features like selective attention and behavioral flexibility indicate consciousness. Consciousness represents the present moment in order to allow dynamic changes in actions or goals in response to situational demands.


The Precautionary Principle: A Cautionary Note, Robert C. Jones Jan 2017

The Precautionary Principle: A Cautionary Note, Robert C. Jones

Animal Sentience

The precautionary principle regarding animal sentience is often used in decision-making about human actions that may cause harm to nonhuman animals. Birch (2017) develops an account of the precautionary principle requiring two pragmatic rules for its implementation. I support Birch's proposal but offer a cautionary note about relying on precautionary principles if one's ultimate goal is to emancipate animals from human domination.


Animal Pain And The Social Role Of Science, Leslie Irvine Jan 2017

Animal Pain And The Social Role Of Science, Leslie Irvine

Animal Sentience

Assuming that all animals are sentient would mean ending their use in most scientific research. This does not necessarily imply an unscientific or anti-scientific stance. Examining the social role of science reveals its considerable investment in preserving the status quo, including the continued use of animal subjects. From this perspective, the use of animal subjects is a custom that science could move beyond, rather than a methodological requirement that it must defend.


Animal Sentience And The Precautionary Principle, Jonathan Birch Jan 2017

Animal Sentience And The Precautionary Principle, Jonathan Birch

Animal Sentience

In debates about animal sentience, the precautionary principle is often invoked. The idea is that when the evidence of sentience is inconclusive, we should “give the animal the benefit of the doubt” or “err on the side of caution” in formulating animal protection legislation. Yet there remains confusion as to whether it is appropriate to apply the precautionary principle in this context, and, if so, what “applying the precautionary principle” means in practice regarding the burden of proof for animal sentience. Here I construct a version of the precautionary principle tailored to the question of animal sentience together with a ...


Cautions About Precautions, Jay R. Stauffer Jr. Jan 2017

Cautions About Precautions, Jay R. Stauffer Jr.

Animal Sentience

Assuming an animal to be sentient in the absence of conclusive evidence to the contrary is an extreme position, hence it should not and could not be the default assumption. Birch explains how the precautionary principle may be used to substantiate decisions to give the animal the benefit of doubt. Although I am reluctant to accept all of his points, Birch has provided an excellent argument for the use of the precautionary principle for the detection of animal sentience. I agree that more research is needed to refine and understand this relationship.


Shoring Up The Precautionary Bar, Jon Mallatt Jan 2017

Shoring Up The Precautionary Bar, Jon Mallatt

Animal Sentience

I offer four ways to reinforce Birch’s precautionary principle so it can be used effectively and practically in deciding which animals to cover by legislation for humane treatment: (1) add one more credible indicator of sentience to the BAR rule; (2) use phylogenetic classification, not the outdated Linnaean classification, to test which animal clades have sentience; (3) disentangle the pain of suffering from sentience; and (4) reconsider the sentient status of decapods and insects to remove potential inconsistencies in the proposed framework.


Raising The Moral Consciousness Of Science, Bernard Rollin Jan 2017

Raising The Moral Consciousness Of Science, Bernard Rollin

Animal Sentience

Precaution on behalf of sentient animals should not be tempered by the questionable principle of the amorality of science.


The Emotional Brain Of Fish, Sonia Rey Planellas Jan 2017

The Emotional Brain Of Fish, Sonia Rey Planellas

Animal Sentience

Woodruff (2017) analyzes structural homologies and functional equivalences between the brains of mammals and fish to understand where sentience and social cognition might reside in teleosts. He compares neuroanatomical, neurophysiological and behavioural correlates. I discuss current advances in the study of fish cognitive abilities and emotions, and advocate an evolutionary approach to the underlying basis of sentience in teleosts.


Can Unconscious Brain Processes Indicate Sentience?, Vincent Taschereau-Dumouchel, Piercesare Grimaldi, Hakwan Lau Jan 2017

Can Unconscious Brain Processes Indicate Sentience?, Vincent Taschereau-Dumouchel, Piercesare Grimaldi, Hakwan Lau

Animal Sentience

We disagree with Woodruff that we have good neurobiological reasons to think fishes are sentient, because mechanisms for consciousness are controversial even in humans. To the extent that there are consensuses in that literature, they do not support Woodruff's claims.


Direct Perception Of Animal Mind, Paul Morris Jan 2017

Direct Perception Of Animal Mind, Paul Morris

Animal Sentience

Kujala’s (2017) target article is ostensibly focused on how everyday folk (fail to) make sense of canine emotions. However, the theories outlined in the article apply to making sense of all aspects of the mentality of both human and non-human animals. The target article neglects the fundamental arguments surrounding the problem of other minds. I explore the relevant arguments and briefly review approaches suggesting that our everyday-life sense that both human and non-human animals are thinking, feeling, emotional beings has a secure epistemological basis.


Do We Understand What It Means For Dogs To Experience Emotion?, Lasana T. Harris Jan 2017

Do We Understand What It Means For Dogs To Experience Emotion?, Lasana T. Harris

Animal Sentience

Psychologists who study humans struggle to agree on a definition of emotion, falling primarily into two camps. Though recent neuroscience advances are beginning to settle this ancient debate, it cannot solve the private-language problem at the heart of inferences about social cognition. This suggests that when we consider the emotional experiences of other species like canines, biological and physiological homologs do not provide enough evidence of emotional experiences similar to those of humans. Secondary complex emotional experiences are even more difficult to attribute to non-humans since such experiences rely, by definition, on social cognition. Given the contextual differences between human-human ...


Empathy In Dogs: With A Little Help From A Friend – A Mixed Blessing, Sabrina Karl, Ludwig Huber Jan 2017

Empathy In Dogs: With A Little Help From A Friend – A Mixed Blessing, Sabrina Karl, Ludwig Huber

Animal Sentience

Kujala (2017) presents an extensive overview of existing research on canine emotions in comparison to those of other non-human animals and humans. This commentary provides some additional research results on the intensively debated field of empathy in dogs. We focus on recent advances in the understanding of a fundamental building block of empathy — emotional contagion — and on dogs’ remarkable sensitivity for human emotions, including the skills of assistance dogs.



Studying Dog Emotion Beyond Expression And Without Concern For Feeling, Peter F. Cook Jan 2017

Studying Dog Emotion Beyond Expression And Without Concern For Feeling, Peter F. Cook

Animal Sentience

Studies of dog emotion have focused on the expression of social emotion, either because this is taken to suggest human-like feeling states in dogs or because it has been the most accessible signal of dog emotional processing. I argue for an approach grounded in affective neuroscience, relying on direct measures of physiology across different contexts. This work may be particularly fertile in exploring social emotion in the dog, not because dogs necessarily share human emotional states, but because they are unique in having likely evolved to fit a human social niche.


Individual Variation In Fear Behaviour, Rob Found Jan 2017

Individual Variation In Fear Behaviour, Rob Found

Animal Sentience

Individual variation in behaviour adds another layer of complexity to studies of animal responses to fear and risk, but when individual responses are consistent, and correlated with other behaviours, these patterns can provide a structure that furthers our understanding. I interpret Beauchamp’s review of vigilance and fear from the perspective of my own studies of elk personality. Wild elk responses to changing stimuli (benign or aversive) illustrate how personality is a key factor in explaining variation in vigilance and fear behavior. Personality even influences how wildlife can learn to assess risk and adjust their fear responses accordingly.


Methodological Suggestions For Inferring Fear From Vigilance, Julie A. Teichroeb Jan 2017

Methodological Suggestions For Inferring Fear From Vigilance, Julie A. Teichroeb

Animal Sentience

I suggest some methods for data-collection and analysis that may help researchers infer fear from vigilance.


A Risk Assessment And Phylogenetic Approach, Culum Brown Jan 2017

A Risk Assessment And Phylogenetic Approach, Culum Brown

Animal Sentience

The precautionary principal is often invoked when talking about the evidence of sentience in animals, largely because we can never be certain what any animal is thinking or feeling. Birch (2017) offers a preliminary framework for the use of the precautionary principal for animal sentience combining an epistemic rule with a decision rule. I extend this framework by adding an evolutionary phylogentic approach which spreads the burden of proof across broad taxonomic groups and a risk assessment component which magnifies the likely impact by the number of animals involved.