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ARISTOTLE IN THE LAB: ENQUIRING ANIMAL MINDS FROM AN ARISTOTELIAN PERSPECTIVE

From: 2018-03-01 To:2018-03-01

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  • Thematic Line


    Modern & Contemporary Philosophy
  • Research Group


    Mind, Language & Action
  • MLAG RESEARCH SEMINAR 2017-2018

    ARISTOTLE IN THE LAB: ENQUIRING ANIMAL MINDS FROM AN ARISTOTELIAN PERSPECTIVE

    Enrico Postiglione (PhD Student, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia)

     

    1 de março 2018 (quinta-feira)

    15h30 | Sala de Reuniões 2

    Entrada livre

     

    Resumo: For long, humans have been conceiving of themselves both as part of the nature and as an exception to its laws, a sort of super-animal supposed to possess unique powers such as speaking, being conscious and so on. In this respect, evolutionism represented a crucial turn. Properties or powers can no longer be assumed as peculiar in principle, ever since. And peculiar properties (if present), must be a by-product of natural adaption; a response to selection pressures. Therefore, research started enquiring ‘the self’ by contrasting differences (or comparing similarities) between homo sapiens and other animals. Research on animal consciousness and mind (firstly towed by researches on language), gained an increasingly prominent role in understanding what consciousness and mind are. Intriguingly, recent discoveries ascribe to some invertebrates (particularly, octopus vulgaris) highly sophisticated cognitive abilities. Their behavioural repertoire, which is extremely complex, urges for the idea of a distribution of consciousness alongside the animal realm. This task is crucial for both science and philosophy. Indeed, if we could determine that animals with alien neural organisations could carry out complex cognitive functions, the dogma of human brain and nervous system as the only sufficient conditions for consciousness would collapse once and for all. I argue that within a hylomorphic framework the possibility of a distribution of consciousness alongside the phylogenetic three has been opened thousands of years ago. This talk is the result of the analysis of some captivity experiments on Octopus vulgaris housed in enriched environment. I have been investigating their behavioural responses to problem-solving and play-like tests, enquiring human (and non-human) consciousness, mind and language from an Aristotelian perspective.

     

    Imagem: Jackson Pollock, Untitled (Animals and Figures) (1942). The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, USA

     

    Programa MLAG Research Seminars: http://ifilosofia.up.pt/activities/mlag-research-seminar-2017-2018

     

    Organização:
    Research Group Mind Language and Action Group (MLAG)
    MLAG Seminars 2017-2018 (Sofia Miguens, Luís Veríssimo, Diana Couto, José Pedro Correia)

    Instituto de Filosofia da Universidade do Porto - FIL/00502
    Financiamento: FCT

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