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Full-Text Articles in Philosophy of Mind

Intelligence, Complexity, And Individuality In Sheep, Lori Marino, Debra Merskin Sep 2019

Intelligence, Complexity, And Individuality In Sheep, Lori Marino, Debra Merskin

Lori Marino, PhD

Domestic sheep (Ovis aries) are among the earliest animals domesticated for human use. They are consumed worldwide as mutton, hogget, and lamb, kept as wool and milk producers, and used extensively in scientific research. The popular stereotype is that sheep are docile, passive, unintelligent, and timid, but a review of the research on their behavior, affect, cognition, and personality reveals that they are complex, individualistic, and social.


Sheeple? The Need For More Research On Sheep Cognition, Michael Colombo, Damian Scarf Jan 2019

Sheeple? The Need For More Research On Sheep Cognition, Michael Colombo, Damian Scarf

Animal Sentience

Marino & Merskin (2019) provide a comprehensive review of the cognitive abilities of sheep. If research with other animals is any guide, there may be justification for the view that the abilities of sheep have been underestimated, and their review will likely stimulate more research into sheep cognition.


Octopus: Multiple Minds Or Just A Slow Thinker?, Shelley A. Adamo Jan 2019

Octopus: Multiple Minds Or Just A Slow Thinker?, Shelley A. Adamo

Animal Sentience

An octopus has more neurons in their peripheral nervous system (PNS) than in their brain. PNS neurons could participate in forming cognitive networks with the central brain in the same way that the cerebellum is now thought to contribute to mammalian cognition. However, cephalopods lack myelinated fibres, which might decrease the ability of the PNS to participate in cognitive networks. The lack of myelinated fibres may also select for a less integrated brain, with an increased emphasis on local information processing. Alternatively, integration may still occur across distant neural centers, but proceed more slowly in cephalopods than in mammals.


Octopi-Ing A Unique Niche In Comparative Psychology, Jennifer Vonk Jan 2019

Octopi-Ing A Unique Niche In Comparative Psychology, Jennifer Vonk

Animal Sentience

Mather’s work has been fundamental in informing scientists of the relatively mysterious behavior and cognition of an understudied group of animals – the cephalopods. This work helps to fill a gap in the comparative literature that has historically sought evidence for complex behavior only in species that are closely related to humans or share important ecological features such as social complexity.


Pulling The Wool From Our Eyes, Jennifer Vonk Jan 2019

Pulling The Wool From Our Eyes, Jennifer Vonk

Animal Sentience

Marino & Merskin review evidence of the complexity of sheep cognition, concluding that researchers ought to feel sheepish about misrepresenting ovine cognitive capacities. However, the failure to situate the data in critical context risks pulling the wool over readers’ eyes.


Intelligence, Complexity, And Individuality In Sheep, Lori Marino, Debra Merskin Jan 2019

Intelligence, Complexity, And Individuality In Sheep, Lori Marino, Debra Merskin

Animal Sentience

Domestic sheep (Ovis aries) are among the earliest animals domesticated for human use. They are consumed worldwide as mutton, hogget, and lamb, kept as wool and milk producers, and used extensively in scientific research. The popular stereotype is that sheep are docile, passive, unintelligent, and timid, but a review of the research on their behavior, affect, cognition, and personality reveals that they are complex, individualistic, and social.


Is Knowing Enough To Change Human Attitudes And Actions?, Liv Baker Jan 2019

Is Knowing Enough To Change Human Attitudes And Actions?, Liv Baker

Animal Sentience

Marino & Merskin present evidence on key aspects of cognition, such as theory of mind, learning, emotional valence, and sociality, to make a convincing argument that sheep are due consideration as individual sentient beings. With this information, what will it take to produce a real, meaningful shift in our attitudes and actions towards other animals, including a species as disadvantaged as sheep? What else do we need to know?


Domestication And Cognitive Complexity, David R. Brodbeck, Madeleine I. R. Brodbeck, Keeghan Rosso Jan 2019

Domestication And Cognitive Complexity, David R. Brodbeck, Madeleine I. R. Brodbeck, Keeghan Rosso

Animal Sentience

Marino and Merskin (2019) list a number of tasks that sheep can perform well. As comparative psychologists, we are not surprised by these results. Indeed, many domesticated animal species show similar abilities.


More Evidence Of Complex Cognition In Nonhuman Species, Lesley J. Rogers Jan 2019

More Evidence Of Complex Cognition In Nonhuman Species, Lesley J. Rogers

Animal Sentience

Chapman & Huffman have highlighted observations of animals performing, in nature, complex behaviour once thought to be unique to humans. Just as relevant to their argument are examples of cognition shown by domesticated species tested in controlled conditions. These strengthen the case for human/nonhuman similarities in behaviour and cognition. Recent research has brought to our attention the ability of nonhuman species to perform many tasks previously considered to be the hallmark of humans. Even though different species may use different ways of solving these tasks, the very fact that they can do it undermines the notion of human superiority.


Syntax And Semantics Of Perceptual Representation, James K. Quilty-Dunn Sep 2017

Syntax And Semantics Of Perceptual Representation, James K. Quilty-Dunn

All Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

This dissertation is a defense of perceptual pluralism, the thesis that perceptual systems deliver multiple types of representations including those used in thought. In particular, it argues that perceptual systems output iconic (i.e., image-like, analog) representations as well as discursive (i.e., language-like, digital) states. A central thesis is that perceptual representations of objects are propositional and composed of concepts. It also develops a compositional syntax of iconic representation called the coordination model, according to which icons are sets of primitive parts, each of which determines values along multiple analog feature dimensions simultaneously. The dissertation supports the conclusion that ...


A New Framework For Enactivism: Understanding The Enactive Body Through Structural Flexibility And Merleau-Ponty’S Ontology Of Flesh, John Jenkinson Feb 2017

A New Framework For Enactivism: Understanding The Enactive Body Through Structural Flexibility And Merleau-Ponty’S Ontology Of Flesh, John Jenkinson

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

The enactive approach to cognition and consciousness offers a valuable alternative to the standard approaches dominant in the sciences of mind. As an embodied account, enactivism incorporates theoretical perspectives on the body from phenomenology, cognitive science, and biology, which provides a unique interpretation of embodiment with critical insight into the embodied nature of cognition and consciousness. Nonetheless, I argue that several revisions are required to make enactivism viable within the context of the sciences of mind. The enactive account of subjectivity is problematic, in light of arguments developed in Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s later texts, because it is implicitly dualistic. I ...


Are Chicken Minds Special?, Rafael Freire, Susan J. Hazel Jan 2017

Are Chicken Minds Special?, Rafael Freire, Susan J. Hazel

Animal Sentience

The number of publications on chicken cognition and emotion exceeds that on most birds and is comparable to the number of publications on some more “advanced” mammals. We argue that the chicken is an excellent model for this type of research because of (1) the presence of well-established fundamental mental processes in the chicken, (2) a challenging ethological environment and (3) social pressures that may have facilitated the evolution of cognitive abilities similar to those of some mammals. Marino’s (2017) review provides an excellent foundation for the continued study of complex mental abilities in this species.


Getting To The Other Side, Debra Merskin Jan 2017

Getting To The Other Side, Debra Merskin

Animal Sentience

Marino’s comprehensive, detailed, and timely review provides clear evidence of the sentience of chickens and strong support for those wishing to challenge their exclusion from even the limited protections currently accorded to animals grown for food.



Cognitive Continuity In Cognitive Dissonance, David R. Brodbeck, Madeleine I. R. Brodbeck Jan 2017

Cognitive Continuity In Cognitive Dissonance, David R. Brodbeck, Madeleine I. R. Brodbeck

Animal Sentience

Zentall’s (2016) model of cognitive dissonance is compatible with cognitive continuity between humans and nonhumans. It may help explain cognitive dissonance-like behavior in many species, including humans. It is also consistent with Tinbergen’s (1963) ‘four whys’ in ethological explanation.


Sentience Does Not Require “Higher” Cognition, Giorgio Vallortigara Jan 2017

Sentience Does Not Require “Higher” Cognition, Giorgio Vallortigara

Animal Sentience

I agree with Marino (2017a,b) that the cognitive capacities of chickens are likely to be the same as those of many others vertebrates. Also, data collected in the young of this precocial species provide rich information about how much cognition can be pre-wired and predisposed in the brain. However, evidence of advanced cognition — in chickens or any other organism — says little about sentience (i.e., feeling). We do not deny sentience in human beings who, because of cognitive deficits, would be incapable of exhibiting some of the cognitive feats of chickens. Moreover, complex problem solving, such as transitive inference ...


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.


In Praise Of Fishes: Précis Of What A Fish Knows (Balcombe 2016), Jonathan Balcombe Jul 2016

In Praise Of Fishes: Précis Of What A Fish Knows (Balcombe 2016), Jonathan Balcombe

Animal Sentience

Our relationship to fishes in the modern era is deeply problematic. We kill and consume more of them than any other group of vertebrates. At the same time, advances in our knowledge of fishes and their capabilities are gaining speed. Fish species diversity exceeds that of all other vertebrates combined, with a wide range of sensory adaptations, some of them (e.g., geomagnetism, water pressure and movement detection, and communication via electricity) alien to our own sensory experience. The evidence for pain in fishes (despite persistent detractors) is strongly supported by anatomical, physiological and behavioral studies. It is likely that ...


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 ...


Structuring Thought: Concepts, Computational Syntax, And Cognitive Explanation, Matthew B. Gifford Jan 2016

Structuring Thought: Concepts, Computational Syntax, And Cognitive Explanation, Matthew B. Gifford

Doctoral Dissertations

The topic of this dissertation is what thought must be like in order for the laws and generalizations of psychology to be true. I address a number of contemporary problems in the philosophy of mind concerning the nature and structure of concepts and the ontological status of mental content. Drawing on empirical work in psychology, I develop a number of new conceptual tools for theorizing about concepts, including a counterpart model of concepts' role in linguistic communication, and a deflationary theory of concepts' formal features. I also suggest some new answers to old problems, arguing, for example, that content realism ...


Understanding And Its Role In Inquiry, Benjamin T. Rancourt Jan 2016

Understanding And Its Role In Inquiry, Benjamin T. Rancourt

Doctoral Dissertations

In this dissertation, I argue that understanding possesses unique epistemic value. I propose and defend a novel account of understanding that I call the management account of understanding, which is the view that an agent A understands a subject matter S just in case A has the ability to extract the relevant information and exploit it with the relevant cognitive capacities to answer questions in S. Since inquiry is the process of raising and answering questions, I argue that without understanding, it would be impossible to engage in successful inquiry. I argue that understanding is indispensable for effective cognition and ...


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 ...


Reflections In A Mirror, Damian Cox Aug 2015

Reflections In A Mirror, Damian Cox

Damian Cox

In this paper, I develop a solution to the puzzle of mirror perception: why do mirrors appear to reverse the image of an object along a left/right axis and not around other axes, such as the top/bottom axis? I set out the different forms the puzzle takes and argue that one form of it – arguably the key form – has not been satisfactorily solved. I offer a solution in three parts: setting out the conditions in which an apparent left/right reversal of mirror images is generated; explaining why these conditions are so often met; explaining why we are ...


Language, Mind, And Cognitive Science: Remarks On Theories Of The Language-Cognition Relationships In Human Minds, Guillaume Beaulac Aug 2014

Language, Mind, And Cognitive Science: Remarks On Theories Of The Language-Cognition Relationships In Human Minds, Guillaume Beaulac

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

My dissertation establishes the basis for a systematic outlook on the role language plays in human cognition. It is an investigation based on a cognitive conception of language, as opposed to communicative conceptions, viz. those that suppose that language plays no role in cognition (its only role being to externalize thought). I focus, in Chapter 2, on three paradigmatic theories adopting this perspective, each offering different views on how language contributes to or changes cognition. In Chapter 3, I criticize current views held by dual-process theorists, and I develop a picture of the complex interaction between language and cognition that ...


Ethics, Law, And The Science Of Fish Welfare, Colin Allen Aug 2012

Ethics, Law, And The Science Of Fish Welfare, Colin Allen

Between the Species

Fish farming is one of the fastest growing sectors of agriculture, attracting considerable attention to the question of whether existing farming regulations and animal welfare laws are adequate to deal with the expanding role of fish in feeding humans. The role of fish as model organisms in scientific research is also expanding -- a majority of research biology departments now keep zebrafish for the purposes of genome biology, and they are used widely used for basic neuroscience research. However, due to their diversity and distance from mammalian biology, fish pose difficult questions for the application of legal and ethical principles of ...


Co-Creation Of Experiential Qualities, Vuk Uskoković Jan 2011

Co-Creation Of Experiential Qualities, Vuk Uskoković

Pharmacy Faculty Articles and Research

Cognitive sciences have been interminably in search for a consistent philosophical framework for the description of perceptual phenomena. Most of the frameworks in usage today fall in-between the extremes of constructivism and objective realism. However, whereas constructivist cognitive theories face difficulties when attempting to explain the experiential commonality of different cognitive entities, objectivistic theories fail in explaining the active role of the subject in the formation of experiences. This paper undertakes to compare and eventually combine these two major approaches to describing cognitive phenomena. It is argued that constructivist explanations inevitably refer to a ‘hidden’ ontological source of experience, and ...


Doing Away With Morgan's Canon, Simon Fitzpatrick Mar 2008

Doing Away With Morgan's Canon, Simon Fitzpatrick

Simon Fitzpatrick

Morgan's canon is a very widely endorsed methodological principle in animal psychology, believed to be vital for a rigorous, scientific approach to the study of animal cognition. In contrast I argue that Morgan's canon is unjustified, pernicious and unnecessary. I identify two main versions of the canon and show that they both suffer from very serious problems. I then suggest an alternative methodological principle that captures all of the genuine methodological benefits that Morgan's canon can bring but suffers from none of its problems.