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consciousness

F. Frank LeFever flefever at ix.netcom.com
Thu May 8 22:41:01 EST 1997


I'm glad you restated the question: "are animals self conscious".  In
the sense of "self observent" and "self-responsive" etc., the question
can be meaningfully approached.  One line of research involves a
paradigm testing limits of animals' abilities to notice and respond to
themselves in a mirror in a way which suggests they know it is
themselves, not another animal.

Can't give refs off-hand, but The Self was a recent 2-year theme of the
speakers at Psychology Section meetings of The New York Academy of
Sciences, and at least one session featured this line of work.  Maybe
published as Annals by now.  Check http://www.nyas.org

Possibly Henry Moss could dig up names of the speakers: hmoss at nyas.org

The OTHER way of stating the question: do animals "have consciousness?"
or "are animals conscious?" leads to the nonsense one sees when famous
pundits solemnly debate whether COMPUTERS can be conscious without
having the sense or the decency to doo what every freshman philosophy
student is required to do: DEFINE THE TERM!

Never waste time even thinking about something that is not defined.
"Conscious OF" in the sense of "responds this or that way TO" can be
argued and evidence developed.  "Conscious" sounds suspiciously like a
reference to private experiences which can never be known directly by
another.  If this is what  you mean, there is in principle NO WAY
WHATSOEVER to know the answer (or even to say how an answer might be
sought).

Frank LeFever
New York Neuropsychology Group
(Member of NYAS Psych Section Advisory Committee; past Chair)








In <863084165.29277 at dejanews.com> hefeng at cz3.nus.sg writes: 
>
>Is the aqusition of consciousness a gradual thing in evolution? Are
>animals self conscious?
>--------------------
>He Feng
>e904952p at hjc.edu.sg
>
>-------------------==== Posted via Deja News
====-----------------------
>      http://www.dejanews.com/     Search, Read, Post to Usenet




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