Dimensions of Animal Consciousness (2)

  • In recent years, debates about animal consciousness have moved on from the question of whether any non-human animals are conscious to the questions of which animals are conscious and what form their conscious experiences take.
  • There is an emerging consensus that current evidence supports attributing some form of consciousness to other mammals, birds, and at least some cephalopod molluscs (octopuses, squid, cuttlefish).
  • If we try to make sense of variation across the animal kingdom using a single sliding scale, ranking species as ‘more conscious’ or ‘less conscious’ than others, we will inevitably neglect important dimensions of variation.
  • There is a need for a multidimensional framework that allows the conscious states of animals to vary continuously along many different dimensions, so that a species has its own distinctive consciousness profile.