Discussion:
cannot prove that any animal is conscious
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Lazypierrot
2020-01-13 01:38:20 UTC
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I would like to know the meaning of "any animal is conscious" in the following
passage.

We might say that a bee is angry when we disturb its nest. But an angry bee does
not act much like an angry baby, so it's easy to remain skeptical. Behavior
alone certainly does not prove that any animal is conscious.


I wonder if it mean that we cannot decide a certain animal is concious based on its behavior; there are some animals that we cannot decide whether it is conscious or not.

Cordially,

LP
Stefan Ram
2020-01-13 02:11:07 UTC
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Post by Lazypierrot
I would like to know the meaning of "any animal is conscious"
in the following passage.
Consciousness is experienced;
it cannot be defined in words
or measured from the outside.

But sometimes conscious beings can meet and at least can
agree that there is such a thing.

The human consciousness can approximately be paraphrased as
"what it's like to be human" (akin to Thomas Nagel).

»Any animal is conscious« means that any animal is (sometimes)
experiencing this phenomenon.

However, what it's like to be me might be different from
what it's like to be you, and what it's like to be a bat
might differ from both.

Heck, what it's like to be me might even differ from what
it was like to be me when I was a child, or ten years ago.

While we cannot know from the inside what it is like to
be a bat, we can see that bats have a brain and a spine
and four limbs just like we do, and similarities in behavior
(searching for food, avoiding pain, ...), and we can
suspect that such similarities, when seen from the outside,
might indicate similarities of the inner experience.
Snidely
2020-01-13 02:43:12 UTC
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Stefan Ram pounded on thar keyboard to tell us
Post by Stefan Ram
Post by Lazypierrot
I would like to know the meaning of "any animal is conscious"
in the following passage.
Consciousness is experienced;
it cannot be defined in words
or measured from the outside.
But sometimes conscious beings can meet and at least can
agree that there is such a thing.
The human consciousness can approximately be paraphrased as
"what it's like to be human" (akin to Thomas Nagel).
»Any animal is conscious« means that any animal is (sometimes)
experiencing this phenomenon.
However, what it's like to be me might be different from
what it's like to be you, and what it's like to be a bat
might differ from both.
Heck, what it's like to be me might even differ from what
it was like to be me when I was a child, or ten years ago.
While we cannot know from the inside what it is like to
be a bat, we can see that bats have a brain and a spine
and four limbs just like we do, and similarities in behavior
(searching for food, avoiding pain, ...), and we can
suspect that such similarities, when seen from the outside,
might indicate similarities of the inner experience.
But none of that answers the AUE side of the question.

/dps
--
Who, me? And what lacuna?
Stefan Ram
2020-01-13 03:25:49 UTC
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Post by Snidely
But none of that answers the AUE side of the question.
The OP wrote:

...
|Behavior alone certainly does not prove that any animal is conscious.
|
|I wonder if it mean that we cannot decide a certain animal is
|concious based on its behavior;
...

So the question of the OP might be:

/ With
/
/ A= "Behavior alone certainly does not prove that any
/ animal is conscious." and
/
/ B="We cannot decide whether a certain animal is concious based
/ on its behavior."
/
/ Does A have the same meaning as B?

Then my answer would be that A does not have the same
meaning as B in a strict sense, but a similar meaning.

Snidely
2020-01-13 02:42:12 UTC
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Post by Lazypierrot
I would like to know the meaning of "any animal is conscious" in the
following passage.
We might say that a bee is angry when we disturb its nest. But an angry bee
does not act much like an angry baby, so it's easy to remain skeptical.
Behavior alone certainly does not prove that any animal is conscious.
I wonder if it mean that we cannot decide a certain animal is concious based
on its behavior; there are some animals that we cannot decide whether it is
conscious or not.
Your first clain is correct, the second one is a generalization from
"based on its behavior" to "based on anything".

Also, I would rewrite the second claim with "whether they are" for
consistency with the "are some animals".

d[s
--
Trust, but verify.
Jerry Friedman
2020-01-13 03:17:46 UTC
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Post by Lazypierrot
I would like to know the meaning of "any animal is conscious" in the following
passage.
We might say that a bee is angry when we disturb its nest. But an angry bee does
not act much like an angry baby, so it's easy to remain skeptical. Behavior
alone certainly does not prove that any animal is conscious.
I wonder if it mean that we cannot decide a certain animal is concious based on its behavior; there are some animals that we cannot decide whether it is conscious or not.
It means that behavior alone is not adequate evidence for consciousness,
a statement that applies to all animals (in the author's view).
--
Jerry Friedman
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