Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Philosophy of Mind Commons

Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Articles 1 - 20 of 20

Full-Text Articles in Philosophy of Mind

Our Brains Make Us Out To Be Unique In Ways We Are Not, Matthew J. Criscione, Julian Paul Keenan Jan 2019

Our Brains Make Us Out To Be Unique In Ways We Are Not, Matthew J. Criscione, Julian Paul Keenan

Animal Sentience

Humans have long viewed themselves in a favorable light. This bias is consistent with a general pattern of self-enhancement. Neural systems in the medial prefrontal cortex underlie this way of thinking, which, even when false, may be beneficial for survival. It is hence not surprising that we often disregard contrary evidence in believing ourselves superior.


Sentience Is The Foundation Of Animal Rights, Michael L. Woodruff Jan 2019

Sentience Is The Foundation Of Animal Rights, Michael L. Woodruff

Animal Sentience

Chapman & Huffman argue that the cognitive differences between humans and nonhuman animals do not make humans superior to animals. I suggest that humans have domain-general cognitive abilities that make them superior in causing uniquely complex changes in the world not caused by any other species. The ability to conceive of and articulate a claim of rights is an example. However, possession of superior cognitive ability does not entitle humans to superior moral status. It is sentience, not cognitive complexity, that is the basis for the assignment of rights and the protections under the law that accompany them.


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.


Can They Suffer?, Todd K. Shackelford Jan 2018

Can They Suffer?, Todd K. Shackelford

Animal Sentience

We should treat sentient nonhuman animals as worthy of moral consideration, not because we share an evolutionary history with them, but because they can suffer. As Chapman & Huffman (2018) argue, humans are not uniquely disconnected from other species. We should minimize the suffering we inflict on sentient beings — whether human or nonhuman — not because they, too, are tool-makers or have sophisticated communication systems, but because they, too, can suffer, and suffering is bad.


Animal Suicide: An Account Worth Giving?, Irina Mikhalevich Jan 2018

Animal Suicide: An Account Worth Giving?, Irina Mikhalevich

Animal Sentience

Peña-Guzmán (2017) argues that empirical evidence and evolutionary theory compel us to treat the phenomenon of suicide as continuous in the animal kingdom. He defends a “continuist” account in which suicide is a multiply-realizable phenomenon characterized by self-injurious and self-annihilative behaviors. This view is problematic for several reasons. First, it appears to mischaracterize the Darwinian view that mind is continuous in nature. Second, by focusing only on surface-level features of behavior, it groups causally and etiologically disparate phenomena under a single conceptual umbrella, thereby reducing the account’s explanatory power. Third, it obscures existing analyses of suicide in biomedical ethics ...


Consciousness Is Not Inherent In But Emergent From Life, Jon Mallatt, Todd E. Feinberg Jan 2017

Consciousness Is Not Inherent In But Emergent From Life, Jon Mallatt, Todd E. Feinberg

Animal Sentience

Reber’s theory of the cellular basis of consciousness (CBC) is right to emphasize that we should study consciousness (sentience) in its simplest form, taking its evolution into account. However, not enough evidence is presented to support CBC’s unorthodox claim that even simple, one-celled organisms are conscious. As pointed out by other commentators, the CBC seems to be based on outdated ideas about evolution and does not acknowledge that consciousness could be an evolutionary novel feature. Such emergent features are abundant in living organisms. We review our own emergentist solution, in which consciousness evolved in the elaborating nervous systems ...


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.


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.


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.


“Cellular Basis Of Consciousness”: Not Just Radical But Wrong, Brian Key Sep 2016

“Cellular Basis Of Consciousness”: Not Just Radical But Wrong, Brian Key

Animal Sentience

Reber (2016) attempts to resuscitate an obscure and outdated hypothesis referred to as the “cellular basis of consciousness” that was originally formulated by the author nearly twenty years ago. This hypothesis proposes that 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. Reber seeks to reduce consciousness to a fundamental property inherent to individual cells rather than to centralised nervous systems. This commentary shows how this hypothesis is based on supposition, false premises and a misunderstanding of evolutionary theory. The cellular basis of consciousness ...


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 ...


Fish Pain: An Inconvenient Truth, Culum Brown May 2016

Fish Pain: An Inconvenient Truth, Culum Brown

Culum Brown, PhD

Whether fish feel pain is a hot political topic. The consequences of our denial are huge given the billions of fish that are slaughtered annually for human consumption. The economic costs of changing our commercial fishery harvest practices are also likely to be great. Key outlines a structure-function analogy of pain in humans, tries to force that template on the rest of the vertebrate kingdom, and fails. His target article has so far elicited 34 commentaries from scientific experts from a broad range of disciplines; only three of these support his position. The broad consensus from the scientific community is ...


Slavery, Welfare And The Sixth Extinction, Stephen R. Clark Mar 2016

Slavery, Welfare And The Sixth Extinction, Stephen R. Clark

Animal Sentience

Ng’s laudable concern for animal welfare would be welcome to any sensible slave-owner wishing to preserve his investment. What welfarism – for slave-owners and animal husbandmen – fails to call into question is whether we have the right to breed, hold captive and kill animals at all: If it matters, as the widely recognized slogan of ‘Five Freedoms’ suggests, that animals have the chance to live a ‘normal’ life, then more matters than keeping them ‘happy’ in subjection. Their lives – and also the lives of wild things – also deserve respect.


Pain-Capable Neural Substrates May Be Widely Available In The Animal Kingdom, Edgar T. Walters Jan 2016

Pain-Capable Neural Substrates May Be Widely Available In The Animal Kingdom, Edgar T. Walters

Animal Sentience

Neural and behavioral evidence from diverse species indicates that some forms of pain may be generated by coordinated activity in networks far smaller than the cortical pain matrix in mammals. Studies on responses to injury in squid suggest that simplification of the circuitry necessary for conscious pain might be achieved by restricting awareness to very limited information about a noxious event, possibly only to the fact that injury has occurred, ignoring information that is much less important for survival, such as the location of the injury. Some of the neural properties proposed to be critical for conscious pain in mammals ...


Fish Pain: An Inconvenient Truth, Culum Brown Jan 2016

Fish Pain: An Inconvenient Truth, Culum Brown

Animal Sentience

Whether fish feel pain is a hot political topic. The consequences of our denial are huge given the billions of fish that are slaughtered annually for human consumption. The economic costs of changing our commercial fishery harvest practices are also likely to be great. Key outlines a structure-function analogy of pain in humans, tries to force that template on the rest of the vertebrate kingdom, and fails. His target article has so far elicited 34 commentaries from scientific experts from a broad range of disciplines; only three of these support his position. The broad consensus from the scientific community is ...


Pain And Fish Welfare, Eliane Gonçalves-De-Freitas Jan 2016

Pain And Fish Welfare, Eliane Gonçalves-De-Freitas

Animal Sentience

The evolutionary approach of Key’s (2016) target article, generically comparing humans with fish of all kinds, is simplistic. The author ignores published research on structural and molecular aspects of pain in fish. The target article reads more like a selective polemic against fish welfare than an even-handed analysis.


Rethinking Empathy: Value And Context In Motivation And Adaptation, O'Neal Buchanan Aug 2015

Rethinking Empathy: Value And Context In Motivation And Adaptation, O'Neal Buchanan

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

The broad aim of this dissertation is to present an alternative approach to empathy research. The three main questions raised are: What is empathy? How do its component psychological processes become active and operate together? How did empathy evolve? In answering these questions, most researchers have started from a conventional approach that can be described as focusing on short-term phenomena “inside the head” of an individual, evidence that is gathered exclusively in a laboratory environment, and neurocognitive processes that are universally shared by all humans.

A problem with the conventional approach is that it makes social and normative issues in ...


Risen Apes And Fallen Angels: The New Museology Of Human Origins, Stephen Asma Mar 2011

Risen Apes And Fallen Angels: The New Museology Of Human Origins, Stephen Asma

Stephen T Asma

There has been a little explosion of "origin" exhibitions in the past few years. The recent bicentennial of Darwin's birth, in 2009, ushered in a bevy of traveling exhibitions and events. Grandscale permanent exhibitions have recently opened at the American Museum of Natural History (the Spitzer Hall of Human Origins) in New York, and the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History (the David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins) in Washington, D.C. A new museology is afoot, and some of the recent changes are worth tracking. And let's not forget the recently opened Creation Museum in ...


You And Me Baby Ain't Nothing But Mammals: Disgust, Evolution, And The Transcendence Of An Immaterial Soul, Sara G. Gottlieb May 2010

You And Me Baby Ain't Nothing But Mammals: Disgust, Evolution, And The Transcendence Of An Immaterial Soul, Sara G. Gottlieb

Psychology Honors Projects

Materialist theories of mind are disturbing for those who endorse the idea that an immortal soul is distinct from the material body. Many argue for a uniqueness of the human spirit that transcends bodily qualities. The present research focuses on the rejection of human evolution from the perspective of disgust, which has both a physical (body) and moral (soul) component and is elicited by objects that remind us of both death and animals. Study 1 asked whether those primed to feel disgusted would show an implicit preference for creationism over evolution on an Implicit Associations Test but failed to find ...


Strokes Of Existence: The Connection Of All Things, Mari Gorman Jan 2007

Strokes Of Existence: The Connection Of All Things, Mari Gorman

Graduate Student Publications and Research

Acted or real—and all life is real whether one is acting or not—the common denominator and consistent, ubiquitous reality of life and all behavior is that it manifests in the form of relationships on all scales. But what is a relationship? Until now, the answer to this question has not been sufficiently known. As a result of many years of empirical research that began with the aim of discovering what is going on in a gifted actor when s/he is playing a character that can be observed and experienced as a living, intuitive being, and based on ...