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Global Workspace Theory and Animal Consciousness

Birch, Jonathan (2020) Global Workspace Theory and Animal Consciousness. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Carruthers has recently argued for a surprising conditional: if a global workspace theory of phenomenal consciousness is both correct and fully reductive, then there are no substantive facts to discover about phenomenal consciousness in non-human animals. I present two problems for this conditional. First, it rests on an odd double-standard about the ordinary concept of phenomenal consciousness: its intuitive non-gradability is taken to be unchallengeable by future scientific developments, whereas its intuitive determinacy is predicted to fall by the wayside. Second, it relies on dismissing, prematurely, the live empirical possibility that phenomenal consciousness may be linked to a core global broadcast mechanism that is (determinately) shared by a wide range of animals. Future developments in the science of consciousness may lead us to reconsider the non-gradability of phenomenal consciousness, but they are unlikely to lead us to accept that there are no facts to discover outside the paradigm case of a healthy adult human.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Birch, Jonathanj.birch2@lse.ac.uk0000-0001-7517-4759
Keywords: animal consciousness, phenomenal consciousness, consciousness science, global workspace theory, phenomenal concepts
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Psychology > Comparative Psychology and Ethology
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science > Consciousness
Depositing User: Dr Jonathan Birch
Date Deposited: 27 Aug 2020 03:06
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2020 03:06
Item ID: 18031
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Psychology > Comparative Psychology and Ethology
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science > Consciousness
Date: 19 August 2020
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/18031

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