The Evolution of Consciousness by Euan MacphailThe Evolution of Consciousness by Euan Macphail

The Evolution of Consciousness

byEuan Macphail

Paperback | September 1, 1998

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Are nonhuman animals conscious? When do babies begin to feel pain? What function is served by consciousness? What evidence could resolve these issues? These questions are tackled by exploring psychologists' findings on topics as diverse as: animal cognition, unconscious learning andperception in humans, infantile amnesia, theory of mind in primates, and the nature of pleasure and pain. Experimental results are placed in theoretical context by tracing the development of concepts of consciousness in animals and humans (from Plato to Penrose). Two themes emerge: first, thecapacity for language marks a fundamental difference between humans and nonhumans; second, there is neither proof that any nonhuman species is conscious, nor any convincing function to be found for consciousness. Finally, a sketch is offered of a novel functionalist theory according to which thedeveloping capacity for language allows the creation by infants of a 'self', which may be a precondition for consciousness.
Dr Euan Macphail, Dept of Psychology, University of York, Heslington, York, YO1 5DD. Tel: 01904 433147, Fax: 01904 433181, Email:
Title:The Evolution of ConsciousnessFormat:PaperbackPublished:September 1, 1998Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198503245

ISBN - 13:9780198503248


Table of Contents

Preface1. Body and Soul2. Concepts of the Mind3. From Philosophy to Psychology4. Behaviourism: Mindless Psychology5. Of Mice and Men6. Unconscious Minds7. Self and Sensitivity8. Minds and MachinesReferencesIndex

Editorial Reviews

'the author has done an admirable job of providing a truly interdisciplinary perspective' Swiss Journal of Psychology