The facilitation hypothesis

Jonathan Birch has an interesting paper in Noûs: The search for invertebrate consciousness.  Birch notes that there is no consensus on whether any invertebrates are conscious, and no agreement on a methodology for establishing whether they are. He starts off assessing the difficulties of applying many human centric theories, such as global workspace, which don't … Continue reading The facilitation hypothesis

Dimensions of animal consciousness

The journal, Trends in Cognitive Science, has an interesting paper up: Dimensions of Animal Consciousness.  After noting the current consensus that some form of consciousness is present in at least mammals, birds, and cephalopods, it looks at how to evaluate it in various species.  The authors take the position that consciousness can be present in … Continue reading Dimensions of animal consciousness

Final thoughts on The Evolution of the Sensitive Soul

This is the final post in a series I've been doing on Simona Ginsburg and Eva Jablonka’s book: The Evolution of the Sensitive Soul, a book focused on the evolution of minimal consciousness.  This is a large book, and it covers a wide range of ideas.  A series of relatively small blog posts can't do them … Continue reading Final thoughts on The Evolution of the Sensitive Soul

The sensitive soul and the rational soul

I think examining the evolution of consciousness in animals helps shed light on it in humans.  Admittedly, there are difficulties.  Animals can't self report using language, which limits just how much of their experience can be garnered from experiments.  Still, taking data from human studies and combining it with animal studies can provide a lot … Continue reading The sensitive soul and the rational soul

For animal consciousness, is there a fact of the matter?

Peter Carruthers has been blogging this week on the thesis of his new book, Human and Animal Minds: The Consciousness Question Laid to Rest.  I mentioned Carruthers' book in my post on global workspace theory (GWT), but didn't get into the details.  While I had been considering taking a fresh look at GWT, his book … Continue reading For animal consciousness, is there a fact of the matter?

Peter Carruthers on the problems of consciousness

Peter Carruthers is posting this week at The Brains Blog on his new book, Human and Animal Minds, which I mentioned in my post on global workspace theory.  His first post focuses on two issues: latent dualism and terminological confusion. I think he's right on both counts.  On the latent dualism issue, I'm reminded of … Continue reading Peter Carruthers on the problems of consciousness

Detecting consciousness in animals and machines, inside-out

An interesting paper came up in my feeds this weekend: Indicators and Criteria of Consciousness in Animals and Intelligent Machines: An Inside-Out Approach.  The authors put forth a definition of consciousness, and then criteria to test for it, although they emphasize that these can't be "hard" criteria, just indicators.  None of them individually definitely establish … Continue reading Detecting consciousness in animals and machines, inside-out