69 (6) 407-411

Title: 
IS CONSCIOUSNESS A USEFUL SCIENTIFIC TERM? PROBLEMS OF 'animal consciousness'
Author(s): 
R. W. Byrne
Abstract: 

Application of the normal procedures of scientific hypothesis testing to the question of animal consciousness is flawed, since it presupposes that consciousness (and more especially, its lack) can be reliably identified. Cognitive psychology has made little explanatory use of the concept of consciousness, and comparative psychology has no safe means of pursuing its evolution. It is proposed that the vexed issue of consciousness in animals is not linked to their welfare, which should instead be decided by objective ethological evidence, backed by firm presumptions of “conscious until proven otherwise”.

Full text: 
pp 407-411