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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.


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).


Voltage-Gated K+ Channels And Hiv-1-Induced Neural Injury: Implications For Pathogenesis Of Hiv-1-Associated Neurocognitive Disorders, Han Liu 2016 University of Nebraska Medical Center

Voltage-Gated K+ Channels And Hiv-1-Induced Neural Injury: Implications For Pathogenesis Of Hiv-1-Associated Neurocognitive Disorders, Han Liu

Theses & Dissertations

Human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1)-associated neurocognitive disorder (HAND) is a subcortical disease involving neuronal loss and myelin damage. Myelin is deposited by oligodendrocytes through a complex process including oligodendrocyte progenitor cell (OPC) proliferation and maturation. Oligodendrocytes/OPCs are susceptible to viral proteins such as Tat and that myelin damage is associated with oligodendrocyte number decrease. It has been shown that activation of voltage-gated K+ (KV) channels mediates apoptosis in various cell types. KV1.3 is the most predominant KV channel expressed in OPCs/oligodendrocytes and potentially involved in OPC developmental regulation. We studied the involvement of ...


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.


Insects Join The Consciousness Fray, Bjorn H. Merker 2016 retired, no institutional affiliation

Insects Join The Consciousness Fray, Bjorn H. Merker

Animal Sentience: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Animal Feeling

Klein & Barron's review of recent insect neurobiology helps correct the impression that insect behavior is orchestrated without the benefit of central integrative mechanisms. Given their existence, the authors go on to ask whether these central mechanisms also feature the kind of integrative operations that support sentience, and propose that they do. Along the way they raise a number of conceptual and evidentiary issues of fundamental importance for the neuroscience of consciousness, allowing me to comment favorably on a number of them. I conclude by pointing to ways in which the conception of insect sentience they outline might be tested ...


Spatial Memory In Black-Capped Chickadees: Studies Of Adult Hippocampal Neurogenesis And Win-Shift/Win-Stay Spatial Search, Nicole Ann Guitar 2016 The University of Western Ontario

Spatial Memory In Black-Capped Chickadees: Studies Of Adult Hippocampal Neurogenesis And Win-Shift/Win-Stay Spatial Search, Nicole Ann Guitar

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Two cognitive adaptations were studied in Black-capped chickadees through tests of adult hippocampal neurogenesis and Win-shift/Win-stay spatial search. Neurogenesis has been proposed to aid memory, therefore it was hypothesized that birds with decreased neurogenesis would perform poorer than controls in hippocampal-dependent spatial working and reference memory tasks followed by a reversal. Subjects with decreased neurogenesis, caused by the neurotoxin MAM, reversed slower than controls, suggesting that neurogenesis may contribute to differentiating similar memories, although this effect was nonsignificant. Win-shift/Win-stay foraging behavior is an adaptation to the replenishing and depleting nature of food. Since chickadees forage on food that ...


Dyslexia And Language Impairment Associated Genetic Markers Influence Cortical Thickness And White Matter In Typically Developing Children, John D. Eicher, Jean A. Frazier, David N. Kennedy, Jeffrey R. Gruen 2016 Yale University

Dyslexia And Language Impairment Associated Genetic Markers Influence Cortical Thickness And White Matter In Typically Developing Children, John D. Eicher, Jean A. Frazier, David N. Kennedy, Jeffrey R. Gruen

Jean A. Frazier

Dyslexia and language impairment (LI) are complex traits with substantial genetic components. We recently completed an association scan of the DYX2 locus, where we observed associations of markers in DCDC2, KIAA0319, ACOT13, and FAM65B with reading-, language-, and IQ-related traits. Additionally, the effects of reading-associated DYX3 markers were recently characterized using structural neuroimaging techniques. Here, we assessed the neuroimaging implications of associated DYX2 and DYX3 markers, using cortical volume, cortical thickness, and fractional anisotropy. To accomplish this, we examined eight DYX2 and three DYX3 markers in 332 subjects in the Pediatrics Imaging Neurocognition Genetics study. Imaging-genetic associations were examined by ...


Unravelling The Subfields Of The Hippocampal Head Using 7-Tesla Structural Mri, Jordan M. K. DeKraker 2016 The University of Western Ontario

Unravelling The Subfields Of The Hippocampal Head Using 7-Tesla Structural Mri, Jordan M. K. Dekraker

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Probing the functions of human hippocampal subfields is a promising area of research in cognitive neuroscience. However, defining subfield borders in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is challenging. Here, we present a user-guided, semi-automated protocol for segmenting hippocampal subfields on T2-weighted images obtained with 7-Tesla MRI. The protocol takes advantage of extant knowledge about regularities in hippocampal morphology and ontogeny that have not been systematically considered in prior related work. An image feature known as the hippocampal ‘dark band’ facilitates tracking of subfield continuities, allowing for unfolding and segmentation of convoluted hippocampal tissue. Initial results suggest that this protocol offers sufficient ...


Therapeutic Raavrh10 Mediated Sod1 Silencing In Adult Sod1(G93a) Mice And Nonhuman Primates, Florie Borel, Gwladys Gernoux, Brynn Cardozo, Jake P. Metterville, Gabriela Toro Cabrera, Lina Song, Qin Su, Guang Ping Gao, Mai K. Elmallah, Robert H. Brown Jr., Christian Mueller 2016 University of Massachusetts Medical School

Therapeutic Raavrh10 Mediated Sod1 Silencing In Adult Sod1(G93a) Mice And Nonhuman Primates, Florie Borel, Gwladys Gernoux, Brynn Cardozo, Jake P. Metterville, Gabriela Toro Cabrera, Lina Song, Qin Su, Guang Ping Gao, Mai K. Elmallah, Robert H. Brown Jr., Christian Mueller

Christian Mueller

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease; survival in ALS is typically 3-5 years. No treatment extends patient survival by more than three months. Approximately 20% of familial ALS and 1-3% of sporadic ALS patients carry a mutation in the gene encoding superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1). In a transgenic ALS mouse model expressing the mutant SOD1(G93A) protein, silencing the SOD1 gene prolongs survival. One study reports a therapeutic effect of silencing the SOD1 gene in systemically treated adult ALS mice; this was achieved with a short hairpin RNA, a silencing molecule that has raised multiple safety concerns ...


Insects Have Agency But Probably Not Sentience Because They Lack Social Bonding, J. H. van Hateren 2016 University of Groningen

Insects Have Agency But Probably Not Sentience Because They Lack Social Bonding, J. H. Van Hateren

Animal Sentience: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Animal Feeling

Klein & Barron (2016) argue that insects have sentience because of functional similarities between the insect brain and vertebrate midbrain. Based on a recent theory of agency and consciousness, I argue that the functional similarities merely point to an advanced form of agency. Insects presumably lack the capacity for social bonding that may be required for subjective experiencing.


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