Consciousness or the art of foul play

Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 10 (3):227-247 (1997)
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The psychological literature about consciousness has been analyzed. It is argued that: 1) Only the higher symbolic cognitive powers like the ability to keep secrets, knowledge of self or self-consciousness, a long-term view on the future, the ability to determine long-term goals, and to freely plan future behavior, add positive fitness-value to consciousness. Without these higher intellectual abilities consciousness will have only negative fitness value and no positive one. The intellectual powers mentioned may therefore be considered as prerequisites for consciousness. Consciousness may therefore only be expected in those animal species that show these capacities in their behavior. So far these capacities have only been described for the anthropoid apes and humans. For the time being, they are therefore the only species in which consciousness may be expected.



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