Primitive Self-Consciousness and Avian Cognition

Andy Lamey

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Philosophy

May 25, 2012

The Monist, Volume 95, Issue 3, July 2012.

This is an uncorrected author's draft of a paper published in The Monist issue on neuroethics, Volume 95, Issue 3 (July 2012). For citation and quoting purposes, please use the published version.

Recent work in moral theory has seen the refinement of theories of moral standing, which increasingly recognize a position of intermediate standing between fully self-conscious entities and those which are merely conscious. Among the most sophisticated concepts now used to denote such intermediate standing is that of primitive self-consciousness, which has been used to more precisely elucidate the moral standing of human newborns. New research into the structure of the avian brain offers a revised view of the cognitive abilities of birds. When this research is approached with a species-specific focus, it appears likely that one familiar species, the chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus), also exhibits primitive self-consciousness. Given the likelihood that they are primitively self-consciousness, chickens warrant a degree of moral standing that falls short of that enjoyed by persons, but which exceeds the minimal standing of merely conscious entities.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 31

Keywords: Animal cognition, primitive self-consciousness, moral standing, neuroethics

Open PDF in Browser Download This Paper

Date posted: May 26, 2012 ; Last revised: July 14, 2014

Suggested Citation

Lamey, Andy, Primitive Self-Consciousness and Avian Cognition (May 25, 2012). The Monist, Volume 95, Issue 3, July 2012.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2066265

Contact Information

Andy Lamey (Contact Author)
University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Philosophy ( email )
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093-0119
United States
HOME PAGE: http://andylamey.com
Feedback to SSRN

Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 3,329
Downloads: 401
Download Rank: 56,281
Paper comments
No comments have been made on this paper