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The Inside and Outside Aspects of Consciousness: Complementary Approaches to the Study of Animal Emotion

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Abstract:

This paper reviews the debate that is currently taking place in the field of philosophy of mind on different conceptual models of consciousness. More and more philosophers argue that the explanation of subjective phenomena requires two complementary perspectives of understanding, known as the first- and third-person perspectives. The third-person perspective (ie conventional objectivity) accounts for the physical, functional aspects of consciousness, while the first-person perspective addresses the subjective, experiential aspects of consciousness. It is suggested that each of these conceptual perspectives may facilitate a different type of research in the study of animal emotion. Within the conventional, third-person perspective, a growing enthusiasm for issues of animal consciousness has led to sophisticated physical and cognitive models of animal emotion. The potential of the first-person perspective, however, to provide a basis for models of animal subjective experience has remained largely unexplored. The paper concludes with a brief review of the author's recent experimental work on concepts of animal behavioural expression. The high reliability and repeatability of such concepts indicates that the first-person perspective may provide a valid research perspective in its own right.

Keywords: ANIMAL CONSCIOUSNESS; ANIMAL WELFARE; COGNITION; EMOTION; FIRST-PERSON PERSPECTIVE; SUBJECTIVE EXPERIENCE

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2001

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