Dimensions of Animal Consciousness

Trends in Cognitive Sciences 24 (10):789-801 (2020)
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Abstract

How does consciousness vary across the animal kingdom? Are some animals ‘more conscious’ than others? This article presents a multidimensional framework for understanding interspecies variation in states of consciousness. The framework distinguishes five key dimensions of variation: perceptual richness, evaluative richness, integration at a time, integration across time, and self-consciousness. For each dimension, existing experiments that bear on it are reviewed and future experiments are suggested. By assessing a given species against each dimension, we can construct a consciousness profile for that species. On this framework, there is no single scale along which species can be ranked as more or less conscious. Rather, each species has its own distinctive consciousness profile.

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Author Profiles

Nicola Clayton
University of Cambridge
Jonathan Birch
London School of Economics

Citations of this work

Towards a Comparative Study of Animal Consciousness.Walter Veit - 2022 - Biological Theory 17 (4):292-303.
Animal Sentience.Heather Browning & Jonathan Birch - 2022 - Philosophy Compass 17 (5):e12822.
Degrees of Consciousness.Andrew Y. Lee - 2023 - Noûs 57 (3):553-575.
Non-Human Moral Status: Problems with Phenomenal Consciousness.Joshua Shepherd - 2023 - American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 14 (2):148-157.

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References found in this work

Consciousness Explained.Daniel C. Dennett - 1993 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 53 (4):905-910.
Fish and microchips: on fish pain and multiple realization.Matthias Michel - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (9):2411-2428.

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