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The Evolution of Consciousness$
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Euan Macphail

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780198503248

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198503248.001.0001

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Of mice and men

Of mice and men

(p.108) 5 Of mice and men
The Evolution of Consciousness

Euan M. Macphail

Oxford University Press

Part of the rationale for this chapter was that the exploration of animal cognition might give some insight into such questions as whether some animals might be conscious, and some not, and whether some animals might be more conscious than others. It is seen that associative processes are ubiquitous in animals, and have been unable to find evidence for a significant ‘leap’ in cognition between one animal species and another — with one exception. If there is a strong link between consciousness and cognition, this suggests a difference in consciousness between animals and humans. But whether cognition is related to consciousness is an interesting question. Is language merely a cognitive leap, or is it the Rubicon between unconsciousness and consciousness? This is the central question that this chapter attempts to explore.

Keywords:   animal cognition, consciousness, associative processes, animal species, language, stimulus

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