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Can Animals Be Persons?$
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Mark Rowlands

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190846039

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190846039.001.0001

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Consciousness in Animals

Consciousness in Animals

Chapter:
(p.47) 3 Consciousness in Animals
Source:
Can Animals Be Persons?
Author(s):

Mark Rowlands

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190846039.003.0003

An animal is phenomenally conscious if there is something it is like to be that animal. There are excellent scientific reasons for thinking that many animals are phenomenally conscious. In humans, consciousness is strongly correlated with widespread, relatively fast, low-amplitude interactions in the thalamocortical region of the brain. When the brains of many animals are examined, precisely this sort of activity in these areas is found. The primary philosophical objection to the idea that animals are phenomenally conscious is based on the higher-order thought (HOT) model of consciousness, according to which mental state is conscious when, and only when, the individual who has it is conscious of it. The HOT account suffers from a number of fatal difficulties.

Keywords:   blindsight, consciousness, higher-order thought, higher-order experience, neuroscience

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