The University of Sussex

Human and animal consciousness

Matthew Elton

Do animals have sensations just as humans do? In addressing this question I explore some necessary, though not sufficient, conditions for conscious experience. Phenomenal sensations, I argue, are not biologically basic, and hence appeals to shared phsyiology are not sufficient to make the case for animal sensation. I suggest that consciousness can be divided into two notions: a short term phenomenal consciousness and a longer term, fully fledged, personal consciousness. I argue that it is having the latter that really matters with respect to having the sorts of pleasures and pains about which we ought to care.


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