On Being Simple-Minded

Peter Carruthers

in Consciousness

Published in print May 2005 | ISBN: 9780199277360
Published online July 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602597 | DOI:
On Being Simple-Minded

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Argues that belief/desire psychology – and with it a form of first-order access-consciousness – are very widely distributed in the animal kingdom, being shared even by navigating insects. Although the main topic of this chapter (unlike the others) is not mental-state consciousness (of which phenomenal consciousness is one variety), it serves both to underscore the argument of the previous chapter, and to emphasise how wide is the phylogenetic distance separating mentality per se from phenomenally conscious mentality. On some views, these things are intimately connected. But on the author’s view, they could not be further apart. We share the basic forms of our mental lives even with bees and ants. But we may be unique in the animal kingdom in possessing mental states that are phenomenally conscious.

Keywords: access consciousness; bees; belief/desire psychology; insect mentality; phenomenal consciousness

Chapter.  8912 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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