Moral Significance and Autonoetic Consciousness (AC)

Gary E. Varner

in Personhood, Ethics, and Animal Cognition

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199758784
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199949465 | DOI:
Moral Significance and Autonoetic Consciousness (AC)

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In what is called here “the autonoetic consciousness paradigm,” the lives of individuals with a robust, conscious sense of their own past and future have special moral significance in comparison to those of the merely sentient. This chapter shows why Hare, who never directly addressed the moral significance of either biographical consciousness or a more limited ability to consciously think about the past and future, should have endorsed the autonoetic consciousness paradigm. In Harean terms, good reasons can be given for building a distinction among persons, near-persons, and the merely sentient into the intuitive level rules of a society. This chapter also responds to three general objections to the autonoetic consciousness paradigm, ending with an initial treatment of the so-called “problem of marginal cases.”

Keywords: autonoetic consciousness; persons/personhood; utilitarianism; biographical consciousness; problem of marginal cases

Chapter.  11031 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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