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Zombies, Predatory Wasps And Consciousness, James K. Peterson 2016 Clemson University

Zombies, Predatory Wasps And Consciousness, James K. Peterson

Annual Symposium on Biomathematics and Ecology: Education and Research

No abstract provided.


Structural Dichotomy Of The Mind; The Role Of Sexual Neuromodulators, Ion G. Motofei, David L. Rowland 2016 Carol Davila University, Department of Surgery and Psychiatry

Structural Dichotomy Of The Mind; The Role Of Sexual Neuromodulators, Ion G. Motofei, David L. Rowland

Journal of Mind and Medical Sciences

The mind (mental function) and sexuality represent two distinct environmental functions, but which are supported within the brain by a common (somatic-autonomic) neurobiological substrate. As a consequence, mental function takes on autonomic characteristics from the sexual-autonomic system (like autonomy, duality), while sexual function takes on features from mental functioning (such as lateralization). In this paper we discuss the lateralized action of two classes of sexual neuromodulators: hormones and pheromones. This process of lateralization is assimilated with the structural dichotomy of the mind.

A relatively similar process but related to informational dichotomy of the mind will be presented in a forthcoming ...


Evolutionary Continuity Of Personhood, Anne Benvenuti 2016 University of Winchester

Evolutionary Continuity Of Personhood, Anne Benvenuti

Animal Sentience: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Animal Feeling

Rowlands applies the two organizing ideas of the Lockean concept of personhood — mental life and unity — to animals as potential persons. Especially valuable in this context is his descriptive phenomenology of pre-reflective self-awareness as a fundamental form of mental life that necessarily entails unity. Rowland describes certain fundamentals of mental experience that exist across species boundaries, challenging assumptions of early modern philosophers regarding the definition of human personhood and affirming the principle of evolutionary continuity. This opens the door to a broader and deeper set of questions, related to whether we should continue to attempt to apply to other animals ...


Darwin’S Empirical Evidence, Maxine Sheets-Johnstone 2016 University of Oregon

Darwin’S Empirical Evidence, Maxine Sheets-Johnstone

Animal Sentience: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Animal Feeling

Darwin’s extensive writings may seem antiquated to current thinkers with their predilections for cognitive science, neuroscience, and analytic branches of philosophy. He showed that morphologies are not simply taxonomic distinctions that allow classification into species. They describe living animals, hence morphologies-in-motion: animate forms of life engaged in synergies of meaningful movement, all of which are testimony to animal sentience.


Animal Personhood Is An Evolutionary Issue, James E. King 2016 University of Arizona

Animal Personhood Is An Evolutionary Issue, James E. King

Animal Sentience: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Animal Feeling

The Rowlands target article makes a case, based on John Locke’s metaphysical argument, that personhood can be applied to many species beyond a few nonhuman primates. The problem with this argument is that personhood has an open-ended list of defining attributes and can, at best only be partially applied to nonhuman species. Therefore, a dichotomous distinction cannot be made between qualifying and non-qualifying species. Instead, between-species comparisons must be based on observational and experimental procedures to demonstrate the extent to which human mental attributes are shared with other species. This would allow a more informed view about the appropriateness ...


How Could Consciousness Emerge From Adaptive Functioning?, Max Velmans 2016 Goldsmiths, University of London

How Could Consciousness Emerge From Adaptive Functioning?, Max Velmans

Animal Sentience: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Animal Feeling

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 2016 The University of Queensland

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

Animal Sentience: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Animal Feeling

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 ...


The Person And The Self As Social Accomplishment, Leslie Irvine 2016 University of Colorado Boulder

The Person And The Self As Social Accomplishment, Leslie Irvine

Animal Sentience: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Animal Feeling

Rowlands (2016) presents a compelling argument for extending personhood to nonhuman animals. Sociological conceptions of the person also do not require that animals meet the elusive standard of self-awareness. Sociological ideas on selfhood support the claims about pre-reflective awareness and extend the requisite experiences to animals.


The Evolutionary History Of Consciousness, Eirik Søvik, Clint Perry 2016 Volda University College

The Evolutionary History Of Consciousness, Eirik Søvik, Clint Perry

Animal Sentience: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Animal Feeling

Klein & Barron argue that insects are capable of subjective experience, i.e., sentience. Whereas we mostly agree with the conclusion of their arguments, we think there is an even more important message to be learned from their work. The line of reasoning opened by Klein & Barron proves instructive for how neuroscientists can and should explore the biological phenomenon of consciousness.


Beginnings: Physics, Sentience And Luca, Carolyn A. Ristau 2016 Animal Studies Repository

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

Animal Sentience: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Animal Feeling

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 ...


Might Insects Experience Pain?, Robert W. Elwood 2016 Queen's University - Belfast

Might Insects Experience Pain?, Robert W. Elwood

Animal Sentience: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Animal Feeling

The aim of this commentary is to expand the discussion about subjective experience to other arthropods, notably crustaceans. Various species of crustaceans show responses consistent with their feeling pain. Hermit crabs also show prolonged investigation of new shells. They clearly attend to and integrate information from a wide variety of sources that enable them to evaluate the quality of the new shell relative to their current shell. These observations too are consistent with their having subjective experience.


Mind/Body “Hard Problem” Is Not A Category Error, Linda A.W. Brakel 2016 University of Michigan

Mind/Body “Hard Problem” Is Not A Category Error, Linda A.W. Brakel

Animal Sentience: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Animal Feeling

Reber’s Cellular Basis of Consciousness (CBC) has much to recommend it. However, while the CBC effectively renders null any ontological gap between mind and body, it leaves two important remaining gaps unaddressed: the epistemologic and the causal gap. Brakel’s (2013) Diachronic Conjunctive Token Physicalism (DiCoToP) is briefly introduced as a beginning remedy for the epistemologic, but unfortunately not the causal, gap. Thus the “hard problem” remains both hard and problematic.


Phenomenal Consciousness In Insects? A Possible Way Forward, Brian Key 2016 The University of Queensland

Phenomenal Consciousness In Insects? A Possible Way Forward, Brian Key

Animal Sentience: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Animal Feeling

Klein & Barron (2016) propose that subjective experience in humans arises in the midbrain and then argue that insects have the capacity for subjective experience because their nervous system can perform neural processing similar to that of the midbrain. This approach ultimately fails because it is built on the false premise that the midbrain is the source of the awareness of sensory stimuli. I instead propose that the capacity for subjective experience must be based on fundamental neural computations that generate the “what it feels like” experience. Two such computations associated with metarepresentations and high level representations entering working memory are ...


If Insects Have Phenomenal Consciousness, Could They Suffer?, Elizabeth S. Paul, Michael T. Mendl 2016 University of Bristol

If Insects Have Phenomenal Consciousness, Could They Suffer?, Elizabeth S. Paul, Michael T. Mendl

Animal Sentience: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Animal Feeling

Klein & Barron’s (K & B’s) suggestion that insects have the capacity for phenomenal consciousness is a refreshing and challenging departure from the cautious and agnostic stance that is taken by many researchers when considering this possibility. It is impossible to falsify the sceptic’s view that neural and behavioural parallels between humans and insects need not imply either similar conscious experience or even any phenomenal consciousness in insects at all. But if K & B are right, it is important to consider the possible contents of insect consciousness. Here we discuss whether affective consciousness, with its implications for potential suffering ...


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.


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.


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