Historic Denial of Consciousness in Other Animals


Because of the basic scientific value of skepticism, there has been a sustained denial of consciousness in other animals ever since science matured, from Rene Descartes to the present day. This is because there has never been any agreed upon way to fathom the subjective experiences of animals, the way human language allows us to communicate about our inner states. Finally, the “weight of evidence” is on the side of common sense on this issue, but the weight-of-history still prevents most scientists, especially animal behaviorists and neuroscientists, from accepting animal sentience as a scientifically workable topic. This talk will summarize how long-standing biases in the field could be overcome, which may greatly benefit our understanding of the emotional foundations of human nature.

Presenter Name: Jaak Panksepp
Date Recorded: November 20, 2013