Animal Consciousness




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Image Credit: Claudia Bensimoun


“A variety of theoretical and empirical arguments have been put forward to the effect that consciousness is shared across all mammals. Seth, Baars and Edelman (2005) argue that the neural processes essential to human conscious — widespread reentrant activity in the thalamo-cortical complex — involve anatomical systems that are shared among all mammals (and perhaps more widely). Panksepp (reviewed in 2005) takes a similar approach, although focusing on the neurophysiological systems involved in the ‘core emotions’. Although in both of the above proposals, the authors acknowledge that consciousness may be more widespread than just mammals, they argue that in the case of mammals, the weight of evidence based on homology of relevant neurophysiological systems is overwhelming, whereas outside of mammals, the inference is more tenuous because of the biological differences in non-mammalian animals. Further, it should be kept in mind that all of the following proposals imply that consciousness is widely shared among mammals. Hence, the position that all mammals are conscious is widely agreed upon among scientists who express views on the distribution of consciousness.” via Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 6.3, Mammals.

Animal Consciousness Stanford

The Cambridge Declaration of Consciousness

Animal Consciousness Wiki

First published Sat Dec 23, 1995; substantive revision Mon Oct 24, 2016
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Claudia Bensimoun
Text Copyright © 2016 Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 6.3, Mammals.

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