Re: Animal Consciousness (was Mindless Thought Experiments)

From: M T (
Date: Fri Mar 07 2008 - 07:30:54 MST

<!-- DIV {margin:0px;}-->While on thistopic, I have to ask: What is the lowest level level ofcomplexity in life forms that you would assign consciousness andself-awareness? Mice? Ants? Mussels maybe? It is also obviouslyimpossible to answer objectively, but one has to try..... It's apractical question for me as it relates directly to being vegetarianbut obviously has theoretical implications. Though I will stillchoose not to eat meat as an exercise in compassion I would like tohear some more educated views on the matter. My (uneducated) view onthe matter is that it would be surprising if most insects wereconscious because of their simple brains and their great reliance onchemical signals on the blood flow for simple communication ofinformation within the body. The same might hold for some of thesmaller mammals. And I would say “no” for the mussels, butwouldn't I love to be surprised...... :) ----- Original Message ---- From: Krekoski Ross <> To: Sent: Friday, 7 March, 2008 5:21:36 AM Subject: Re: Animal Consciousness (was Mindless Thought Experiments) Lee Corbin <> wrote: Oh yes, we do. I suggest the books "Kanzi: The Ape at the Brink of the Human Mind", or parts of "The First Word" (by Christine Kenneally), just two that spring to mind of many. And there are many other books and essays that make extremely reasonable to surmise that animals are conscious to one degree or another, on any normal or usual meaning of the term. We ought not to suppose that on one fine day a hundred thousand years ago consciousness just suddenly appeared. Also, it's very clear that Helen Keller was conscious while entirely deaf, blind, and dumb, and before finding a teacher who communicated with her via touch. Agreed. The estimate was to be conservative. Notto mention the fact that attributing a 'soul' or the modern equivalentto humans and not animals is largely a judaeo-christian tendency andtraceable largely to that tradition. Rgds, Ross Lee Rise to the challenge for Sport Relief with Yahoo! for Good __________________________________________________________ Sent from Yahoo! Mail. The World's Favourite Email

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