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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 ...


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).


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.


The Effects Of Reading Metaphor On Perceptual Distance Judgments, Jeffrey N. Reid 2016 The University of Western Ontario

The Effects Of Reading Metaphor On Perceptual Distance Judgments, Jeffrey N. Reid

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

The present research examined the effects of reading metaphor on judgments of distance between people. In two experiments, we found that reading metaphor induced participants to perceive pairs of models shown in pictures as physically farther apart compared to reading either literal language, or nothing aside from instructions. A third experiment ruled out that this effect was due to participants feeling closer themselves to the models and a fourth experiment ruled out that this effect was related to perceived social distance. Construal level theory posits that there are multiple dimensions of psychological distance and that these dimensions are cognitively related ...


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 ...


Book Review: Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2008). Flow: The Psychology Of Optimal Experience (1st Ed.). New York, Ny: Harpercollins. 336 Pp. Isbn 978-0-06-133920-2., Diem T.N. Hoang 2016 Lehigh University

Book Review: Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2008). Flow: The Psychology Of Optimal Experience (1st Ed.). New York, Ny: Harpercollins. 336 Pp. Isbn 978-0-06-133920-2., Diem T.N. Hoang

FIRE: Forum for International Research in Education

BOOK REVIEW: Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2008). Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. New York, NY: HarperCollins. 336 pp. ISBN 978-0-06-133920-2.


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