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The Missing Link in CognitionOrigins of self-reflective consciousness$
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Herbert S. Terrace and Janet Metcalfe

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195161564

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195161564.001.0001

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Progress in the Study of Chimpanzee Recall and Episodic Memory

Progress in the Study of Chimpanzee Recall and Episodic Memory

Chapter:
(p.188) 8 Progress in the Study of Chimpanzee Recall and Episodic Memory
Source:
The Missing Link in Cognition
Author(s):

Charles Menzel

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195161564.003.0008

This chapter provides philosophical perspective on self-consciousness contributing a historical grounding for modern theories. The chapter assesses the extent to which animals might be self-conscious by applying two epistemological criteria to their behavior: episodic memory and metacognition. In the case of moral responsibility, the chapter asks whether an animal could think back to a past action that was punished and try to make amends if given the opportunity. In the case of epistemic self-improvement, the chapter asks whether animals can notice when they lack sufficient information to solve a problem and proceed to obtain that information. Modern philosophers regarded self-consciousness as marking the fundamental divide between humans and other animals. The central normative tasks assigned to self-consciousness by the moderns have either analogues with animal capacities or components in common with animal capacities. Modern philosophers believed that in self-consciousness they had finally found the key to human uniqueness.

Keywords:   self-consciousness, episodic memory, metacognition, moral responsibility, central normative tasks

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