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Consciousness

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Full-Text Articles in Philosophy of Mind

The Unfolding Argument: Why Iit And Other Causal Structure Theories Cannot Explain Consciousness, Adrian Doerig, Aaron Schurger, Kathryn Hess, Michael H. Herzog May 2019

The Unfolding Argument: Why Iit And Other Causal Structure Theories Cannot Explain Consciousness, Adrian Doerig, Aaron Schurger, Kathryn Hess, Michael H. Herzog

Psychology Faculty Articles and Research

How can we explain consciousness? This question has become a vibrant topic of neuroscience research in recent decades. A large body of empirical results has been accumulated, and many theories have been proposed. Certain theories suggest that consciousness should be explained in terms of brain functions, such as accessing information in a global workspace, applying higher order to lower order representations, or predictive coding. These functions could be realized by a variety of patterns of brain connectivity. Other theories, such as Information Integration Theory (IIT) and Recurrent Processing Theory (RPT), identify causal structure with consciousness. For example, according to these ...


An Introduction To Transformative Inquiry: Understanding Compelling And Significant Relationships For Personal And Societal Transformation, Mark L. Mccaslin, Kelly A. Kilrea May 2019

An Introduction To Transformative Inquiry: Understanding Compelling And Significant Relationships For Personal And Societal Transformation, Mark L. Mccaslin, Kelly A. Kilrea

The Qualitative Report

Transformative inquiry is a theoretical model designed to facilitate the inquiry of important and meaningful relationships that transform and potentiate us. Creswell (2007) described the essential elements of a research agenda: the axiological, ontological, epistemological, methodological, and rhetorical. Each carries with it assumptions that hold implications for practice and research. Transformative inquiry addresses all of these elements through considerations given to deep ecology, transdisciplinarity, integral meta-theory, heuristic research, and eudaimonistic philosophy, respectively. Transformative inquiry is an approach to understanding and fostering the full range of deep and meaningful relationships from the personal to the political, and beyond. It is a ...


Global Consciousness: A Functionalist Neurophilosophical Perspective, Connor C. Bowen Jan 2019

Global Consciousness: A Functionalist Neurophilosophical Perspective, Connor C. Bowen

CMC Senior Theses

The purpose of this thesis is to explore a thought-provoking consequence of the functionalist theory of mind. Given the current organizational structure of Earth and field theories of consciousness in neuroscience, Earth is probably conscious. The argument is explored through an examination of the current organizational structure of Earth and field theories of consciousness in neuroscience, which leads to the conclusion that Earth is conscious. Various theories of mind have been proposed by neuroscientists and philosophers alike in an attempt to qualify what consciousness is and what provides the basis for consciousness to occur. Support, in the form of data ...


Volition And The Readiness Potential, Paul David Sanford Jan 2019

Volition And The Readiness Potential, Paul David Sanford

Online Theses and Dissertations

In the “Libet study” the onset of movement-related brain activity preceded the reported time of the conscious intention to move, suggesting that non-conscious brain processes predetermine voluntary movements (Libet, Gleason, Wright, & Pearl, 1983). While the study’s basic results have been replicated, its validity and assumptions have been questioned. Dominik et al. (2017) provided evidence against the study’s assumption that movement and intention to move are distinct events. In this study, in which researchers did not train participants to distinguish between movement and intention, reports for intention and movement were identical. This differed from the Libet study, in which ...


Higher-Order Thought And Borderline Cases Of Consciousness: An Objection To Hot, Francesca Karin Beach Jan 2019

Higher-Order Thought And Borderline Cases Of Consciousness: An Objection To Hot, Francesca Karin Beach

Scripps Senior Theses

David Rosenthal, in his Higher-Order Thought (HOT) theory of consciousness, argues that it is a higher-order thought to the effect that the subject is in a conscious state that makes one conscious of his or her own mental states. In this paper, I argue that since phenomenal consciousness can be vague and Rosenthal’s HOT cannot, HOT is not a necessary condition of phenomenal consciousness. I use primarily Ned Blocks’ refrigerator hum case and Sartre’s example of non-positional awareness to argue that the threshold which determines the degree of first-person awareness necessary for a mental state to be conscious ...


Pursuing Natural Unity, Consciousness Included, Rowen Cox-Rubien Jan 2019

Pursuing Natural Unity, Consciousness Included, Rowen Cox-Rubien

Scripps Senior Theses

An ontological exploration of consciousness and how it is related to the body and other aspects of physical reality. Framed by David Chalmers' conception of "The Hard Problem", we begin from a physicalist perspective to discuss the problem of mental causation, which is the inquiry of how the mind communicates and interacts with the body. From here we examine the employment of identity reduction to functionalize and therefore physically explain mentality. We find that reductionist methods, the backbone of scientific investigation, do not work to explain conscious experience, because conscious experience is not quantifiable--it is qualitative. Thus we are left ...


The Perfecting Of The Octopus, Ila France Porcher Jan 2019

The Perfecting Of The Octopus, Ila France Porcher

Animal Sentience

Cephalopods split away from the phylogenetic tree about half a billion years ago, and octopus evolution has been accelerated by an extremely low survival rate. This helps explain why this unusual animal presents qualities found in no other. It has a radially organized nervous system with a processing centre for each of its eight tentacles. Yet, although this might suggest that each tentacle has its own centre of consciousness, it remains just one animal, with one mouth to feed, and one life to lose, and it behaves as if it is centrally controlled. Its capacity for a range of intelligent ...


Cephalopods Are Best Candidates For Invertebrate Consciousness, Jennifer A. Mather, Claudio Carere Jun 2018

Cephalopods Are Best Candidates For Invertebrate Consciousness, Jennifer A. Mather, Claudio Carere

Jennifer Mather, PhD

Insects might have been the first invertebrates to evolve sentience, but cephalopods were the first invertebrates to gain scientific recognition for it.


Communication Ethics: Ellul's Complexity Of Form, Marianne Pabis May 2018

Communication Ethics: Ellul's Complexity Of Form, Marianne Pabis

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

This project aims to enlarge understanding of Ellul’s dilemma of the ethical Christian communicator through a hermeneutic exploration of his intentionally un-paradigmatic treatment of technology as the determining factor in the formation of contemporary structural realities, a claim central to Ellul’s theory of technological society. It attends to the question of why, over the course of more than 50 books and over 1,000 articles, Ellul has refused to expound upon this claim as an overarching theoretical construct. As a contribution to the field of communication ethics from Ellul’s Christocentric perspective, this work also explicates the importance ...


Explaining The Illusion Of Phenomenal Consciousness, Daniel S. Shabasson Apr 2018

Explaining The Illusion Of Phenomenal Consciousness, Daniel S. Shabasson

Publications and Research

According to illusionism, phenomenal consciousness does not exist. There is nothing “it is like” to see red or feel pain. Most people find illusionism highly counterintuitive and it remains a minority view among philosophers. To increase its intuitive plausibility, we proponents of illusionism must solve what Keith Frankish (2016) has termed the illusion problem. We must explain why phenomenal consciousness seems to exist and why the illusion that it exists is so powerful. Focusing on introspective judgments about our color experiences, I propose a theory to solve the illusion problem.

I intend to show that we can understand the general ...


Fish Sentience, Consciousness, And Ai, Ila France Porcher Jan 2018

Fish Sentience, Consciousness, And Ai, Ila France Porcher

Animal Sentience

The systematic criticism of articles providing evidence that fish and invertebrates can feel pain is discussed. Beliefs are known to be stronger than evidence in the human mind, and could generate this outcry, while from another perspective, the criticisms appear as a territorial move by fishermen against a perceived threat to their domain. The scientific inconsistency in which consciousness is granted to machines but not to fish and invertebrates, purely due to political bias, is pointed out. No basis exists for denying sentience to any life form as long as science is ignorant of the nature and source of consciousness.


If It Looks Like A Duck: Fish Fit The Criteria For Pain Perception, Julia E. Meyers-Manor Jan 2018

If It Looks Like A Duck: Fish Fit The Criteria For Pain Perception, Julia E. Meyers-Manor

Animal Sentience

Whereas we have denied the experience of pain to animals, including human babies, the evidence is becoming clearer that animals across a variety of species have the capacity to feel pain (Bellieni, 2012). As converging findings are collected from pain studies and the study of cognition, it is becoming harder to deny that fish are among the species that do feel pain.


Pain In Fish: Evidence From Peripheral Nociceptors To Pallial Processing, Michael L. Woodruff Jan 2018

Pain In Fish: Evidence From Peripheral Nociceptors To Pallial Processing, Michael L. Woodruff

Animal Sentience

The target article by Sneddon et al. (2018) presents convincing behavioral and pharmacological evidence that ray-finned fish consciously perceive noxious stimuli as painful. One objection to this interpretation of the evidence is that the fish nervous system is not complex enough to support the conscious experience of pain. Data that contradict this objection are presented in this commentary. The neuroanatomy and neurophysiology of the fish nervous system from the peripheral nerves to the pallium is able to support the sentient appreciation of pain.


Hegel And The Problem Of The Multiplicity Of Conflicting Philosophies, Matthew M. Peters Jul 2017

Hegel And The Problem Of The Multiplicity Of Conflicting Philosophies, Matthew M. Peters

Dissertations (2009 -)

As Hegel notes in his long Introduction to the Lectures on the History of Philosophy, the problem of the multiplicity of conflicting philosophies presents a particularly urgent problem to the very discipline of philosophy itself. For, from the viewpoint of what Hegel would refer to as “ordinary consciousness”, the fact that there are so many different philosophies which seem constantly to disagree can only lead to one conclusion: philosophy itself is a futile enterprise. Hegel, perhaps more than any previous philosopher, was sensitive to this charge of futility levelled against philosophy. In response, he provided an explanatory account of the ...


The Nature Of Introspection, Adriana Renero Jun 2017

The Nature Of Introspection, Adriana Renero

All Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

My dissertation proposes a new model of introspection by examining those aspects of the nature of introspection that have been neglected in the contemporary literature, such as the ones determining variables or mental phenomena in accordance with specific cases of introspection. I assert that these neglected aspects are the very ones which provide a precise account of the way we are aware of our mental life and help us arrive at self-attributions. I begin by raising issues already extant in the epistemology of introspection, and not only argue against skeptical doubts about the reliability of introspection but also provide empirical ...


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 ...


Searle And Buddhism On The Non-Self, Soraj Hongladarom Jan 2017

Searle And Buddhism On The Non-Self, Soraj Hongladarom

Comparative Philosophy

In this brief note I continue the discussion that I had with John Searle on the topic of the self and the possibility of continuity of consciousness after death of the body. The gist of Searle's reply to my original paper (Hongladarom 2008) is that it is logical possible, though extremely unlikely, that consciousness survives destruction of the body. This is a rather startling claim given that Searle famously holds that consciousness is the work of the body. Nonetheless, he claims that such issue is an empirical matter which could perhaps be discovered by future science. Another point concerns ...


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.


Animal Models, Agendas And Sentience, Thomas Creson Jan 2017

Animal Models, Agendas And Sentience, Thomas Creson

Animal Sentience

Woodruff’s target article on teleost consciousness is a well-organized logical argument for considering the fish as a sentient being. This becomes more important for animal ethical discussion as the fish becomes a more important and legitimate animal model for investigating animal states and traits associated with higher levels of behavior such as learning and memory.


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.


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.



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 ...


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 ...


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.


Beginnings: Physics, Sentience And Luca, Carolyn A. Ristau Sep 2016

Beginnings: Physics, Sentience And Luca, Carolyn A. Ristau

Animal Sentience

According to Reber’s model, Cellular Basis of Consciousness (CBC), sentience had its origins in a unicellular organism and is an inherent property of living, mobile organic forms. He argues by analogy to basic physical forces which he considers to be inherent properties of matter; I suggest that they are instead the stuff of scientific investigation in physics. I find no convincing argument that sentience had to begin in endogenously mobile cells, a criterial attribute of the originator cell(s)for sentience according to CBC. Non-endogenously mobile cells, (i.e., plants or precursors) in a moving environment would suffice. Despite ...


Subjective Experience In Insects: Definitions And Other Difficulties, Shelley Adamo Aug 2016

Subjective Experience In Insects: Definitions And Other Difficulties, Shelley Adamo

Animal Sentience

Whether insects have the potential for subjective experiences depends on the definition of subjective experience. The definition used by Klein & Barron (2016) is an unusually liberal one and could be used to argue that some modern robots have subjective experiences. From an evolutionary perspective, the additional neurons needed to produce subjective experiences will be proportionately more expensive for insects than for mammals because of the small size of the insect brain. This greater cost could weaken selection for such traits. Minimally, it may be premature to assume that small neuronal number is unimportant in determining the capacity for consciousness.


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.