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Seeing And Perceptual Content, Ben S. Phillips 2016 The Graduate Center, City University of New York

Seeing And Perceptual Content, Ben S. Phillips

All Graduate Works by Year: Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

There are two widely held assumptions about perception: ascriber-independence (the view that the facts regarding what a subject perceives, as well as what her perceptual states represent, are independent of the interests of those attributing the relevant states to her), and determinacy (the view that perceptual content is relatively determinate). I challenge both of these assumptions, and develop a new approach to perceptual content, with implications for theories of mental content more broadly. In chapter one, I address the question of whether, in addition to low-level features, vision represents ordinary objects. I argue that there is just no fact of ...


Ecopsychology Revisited: For Whom Do The “Nature” Bells Toll? (In Progress), Jorge Conesa-Sevilla 2016 European Ecopsychology Society

Ecopsychology Revisited: For Whom Do The “Nature” Bells Toll? (In Progress), Jorge Conesa-Sevilla

Jorge Conesa-Sevilla PhD

"[...] A recurring theme in “ecopsychology,” in its present and inchoate form, is the continuation and extension of “spirit” in juxtaposition with other privileged and/or habitually preferred (perhaps even psychologically needed) practices or causes (spirituality-somethings, farcical chemistry or physics, yoga, coopted and partially understood indigenous lore, extreme diets, and various fetishes). That these mostly emotion-laden, unreasoned, and/or idiosyncratic amalgamations are prevalent says more about the psychological needs of the persons espousing these sentiments or beliefs (their hobbies or interests) than about “nature.” Certainly, it is nothing new that humans project their hopes, desperations, and wish-fulfillment thinking onto the shifting ...


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

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

Animal Sentience: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Animal Feeling

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 2016 East Tennessee State University

Bacteria And The Cellular Basis Of Consciousness, Michael L. Woodruff

Animal Sentience: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Animal Feeling

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.


Unity Of Consciousness In Animals, Bernard E. Rollin 2016 Animal Studies Repository

Unity Of Consciousness In Animals, Bernard E. Rollin

Animal Sentience: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Animal Feeling

Both Descartes the rationalist and Hume the empiricist, polar opposites philosophically, denied the unity and continuity of animal mind. Kant pointed out that the presence of retrievable memories entails unity of consciousness. Rowlands now argues that animals too have unity of consciousness.


Understanding Consciousness—Have We Cut The Gordian Knot Or Not? (Integration, Unity, And The Self), Robert Van Gulick 2016 Syracuse University

Understanding Consciousness—Have We Cut The Gordian Knot Or Not? (Integration, Unity, And The Self), Robert Van Gulick

Philosophic Exchange

No abstract provided.


To Bee Or Not To Bee?, Shimon Edelman, Roy Moyal, Tomer Fekete 2016 Cornell University

To Bee Or Not To Bee?, Shimon Edelman, Roy Moyal, Tomer Fekete

Animal Sentience: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Animal Feeling

Klein & Barron’s (2016) (K & B’s) case for insect consciousness is a welcome development in an area that, in all of the science and philosophy of mind, is probably the most anthropocentric. In this commentary, we seek to strengthen K & B’s side of the argument by appealing not just to putative neural mechanisms but also to computational theory that supports it (section 1). We also offer some remarks on three distinctions that are relevant to K & B’s thesis and are central to phenomenal awareness: between the capacity for awareness and its contents (section 2); between awareness and selfhood (section 3); and between “easy” and “hard” problems in consciousness research (section 4).


No Proof For Subjective Experience In Insects, Holk Cruse, Malte Schilling 2016 Bielefeld University

No Proof For Subjective Experience In Insects, Holk Cruse, Malte Schilling

Animal Sentience: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Animal Feeling

Klein & Barron (2016) provide an inspiring review collecting arguments that show quite related functions in humans and insects. Here we extend the comparison to robots, and formulate two critical objections. One concerns an epistemological question related to the phenomenon of subjective experience. The other questions whether insects need integrated spatiotemporal modeling for navigation.


Consciousness As Integrated Perception, Motivation, Cognition, And Action, Murray Shanahan 2016 Imperial College London

Consciousness As Integrated Perception, Motivation, Cognition, And Action, Murray Shanahan

Animal Sentience: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Animal Feeling

This commentary has two aims: first to clarify the behavioural grounds for the ascription of consciousness to non-human animals (including insects), and second to show how Klein & Barron’s views can be reconciled with the core claims of global workspace theory.


The Moral Dimension Of Pre-Reflective Self-Awareness, Susana Monsó 2016 Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED), Madrid, and Messerli Research Institute, Vienna

The Moral Dimension Of Pre-Reflective Self-Awareness, Susana Monsó

Animal Sentience: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Animal Feeling

Rowlands offers a de-intellectualised account of personhood that is meant to secure the unity of a mental life. I argue that his characterisation also singles out a morally relevant feature of individuals. Along the same lines that the orthodox understanding of personhood reflects a fundamental precondition for moral agency, Rowlands’s notion provides a fundamental precondition for moral patienthood.


What Makes Us Conscious Is Not What Makes Us Human, Ezequiel Morsella, Erica B. Walker 2016 San Francisco State University

What Makes Us Conscious Is Not What Makes Us Human, Ezequiel Morsella, Erica B. Walker

Animal Sentience: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Animal Feeling

Consistent with the promising proposal of Klein & Barron (K & B), we discuss how what makes us conscious appears to be distinct from and more widespread in the animal kingdom than what distinguishes us from other species. Many of the abilities that do distinguish humans from other species (e.g., syntax and co-articulation in speech production) can be mediated unconsciously. The kind of functional architecture proposed by K & B may engender an “action selection bottleneck” in both humans and nonhuman species. As noted by K & B, this bottleneck is intimately related to conscious processing.


Insect Consciousness: Fine-Tuning The Hypothesis, Jon Mallatt, Todd E. Feinberg 2016 Washington State University

Insect Consciousness: Fine-Tuning The Hypothesis, Jon Mallatt, Todd E. Feinberg

Animal Sentience: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Animal Feeling

Although we are mostly supportive, we point out the strengths and weaknesses of Klein & Barron’s (2016) hypothesis that insects have the most basic form of consciousness. The strengths are in their application of Bjorn Merker’s vertebrate-derived ideas to arthropods, using their deep knowledge of insect brains. The weaknesses involve the controversial aspects of some of Merker’s ideas. We describe how the latter can be modified to strengthen the authors’ case for insect consciousness.


Feel Or Perspective?, Mark Rowlands 2016 University of Miami

Feel Or Perspective?, Mark Rowlands

Animal Sentience: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Animal Feeling

The title of Klein & Barron’s well-argued and thought-provoking target article is, “Insects have the capacity for subjective experience.” However, they also frame their claim using the term “consciousness,” which they seem to take as equivalent to “subjective experience.” This assumed equivalence, I shall argue, is problematic in a way that might vitiate their central argument.


Universal Modes Of Awareness? A “Pre-Reflective” Premise, Uta M. Jürgens 2016 Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zürich & Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow, and Landscape Research, Birmensdorf

Universal Modes Of Awareness? A “Pre-Reflective” Premise, Uta M. Jürgens

Animal Sentience: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Animal Feeling

Mark Rowlands holds that creatures endowed with pre-reflective awareness may qualify as persons: In pre-reflective awareness, the self and the unity of mental life are implicit in the stream of experience. Rowlands generalizes from an introspective analysis of pre-reflective consciousness in humans to pre-reflective awareness in general. I describe three examples of empirical findings that corroborate the assumption that animal minds have some of the same basic modes of pre-reflective awareness as human minds.


What If Klein & Barron Are Right About Insect Sentience?, Bob Fischer 2016 Texas State University

What If Klein & Barron Are Right About Insect Sentience?, Bob Fischer

Animal Sentience: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Animal Feeling

If Klein & Barron are right, then insects may well be able to feel pain. If they can, then the standard approach to animal ethics generates some implausible results. Philosophers need to develop alternatives to this framework to avoid them.


Subjective Experience And Moral Standing, Andy Lamey 2016 University of California, San Diego

Subjective Experience And Moral Standing, Andy Lamey

Animal Sentience: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Animal Feeling

Klein & Barron’s analysis focuses on the capacity for any subjective experience at all. It does not seek to demonstrate that insects can experience pleasure and pain in particular. This would be something of which insects have not traditionally been thought capable. If further research were to demonstrate that one or more insect species turn out to be conscious, yet incapable of experiencing pleasure and pain, it would give rise to a philosophical question that ethicists have yet to answer: Would a creature that is conscious, but lacks the capacity to feel pain, have moral standing?


Is Cortex Necessary?, Sean Allen-Hermanson 2016 Florida Int'l University

Is Cortex Necessary?, Sean Allen-Hermanson

Animal Sentience: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Animal Feeling

A key contention of Klein & Barron (2016) is that consciousness does not depend on cortical structures. A critical appraisal suggests they have overestimated the strength of their evidence.


Who Is A Person? Whoever You Want It To Be, Gwen J. Broude 2016 Vassar College

Who Is A Person? Whoever You Want It To Be, Gwen J. Broude

Animal Sentience: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Animal Feeling

Rowlands provides an expanded definition of personhood that preserves the requirement of unity of mental life from the orthodox definition but argues that implicit unity of mind is sufficient for conferring personhood. This allows more or all animals to be considered persons. Implicit unity of mind may be a bridge too far for those who endorse the orthodox account of personhood, and for good reasons. More fundamentally, who gets to decide what personhood entails or that personhood per se matters to such other issues as who receives legal or moral status and consideration? Perhaps we should worry less about definitions ...


Are Insects Sentient?, Michael Tye 2016 University of Texas, Austin

Are Insects Sentient?, Michael Tye

Animal Sentience: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Animal Feeling

I comment on the methodology used by Klein & Barron for dealing with the question of insect sentience and I briefly make a proposal of my own. Once it is granted that insects are sentient, a further question arises: which insects are subject to which states of sentience? Do insects feel pain, for example? If so, which ones? On the further question, I note, Klein & Barron have nothing to say.


Animal Grieving And Human Mourning, Matteo Colombo 2016 Tilburg University

Animal Grieving And Human Mourning, Matteo Colombo

Animal Sentience: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Animal Feeling

King’s How animals grieve beautifully describes several ways in which animals and humans show a similar capacity for grief. Yet this book does not sufficiently emphasise the language-empowered capacity to objectify thinking and sentiments about death, which makes human mourning unique. Here I put this capacity into focus and relate it to the social-normative aspect of human mourning that seems to be missing in other animals.


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