Sunday, October 14, 2012

Conscious Entities: The Cambridge Declaration

At the Francis Crick Memorial Conference back in July the participants signed a Declaration (pdf) affirming that animals are conscious. The key passage reads:

“The absence of a neocortex does not appear to preclude an organism from experiencing affective states. Convergent evidence indicates that non-human animals have the neuroanatomical, neurochemical, and neurophysiological substrates of conscious states along with the capacity to exhibit intentional behaviors. Consequently, the weight of evidence indicates that humans are not unique in possessing the neurological substrates that generate consciousness. Nonhuman animals, including all mammals and birds, and many other creatures, including octopuses, also
possess these neurological substrates.”