more from David Papineau

Single Idea 7891

[catalogued under 15. Nature of Minds / B. Features of Minds / 1. Consciousness / a. Consciousness]

Full Idea

If consciousness is availability for HOT judgements, then cats are not conscious, but if it consists in attention, then they are. I say the concept of consciousness is indefinite between the two, so there is no fact about whether cats are conscious.


HOT means higher-order thought

Gist of Idea

We canít decide what 'conscious' means, so it is undecidable whether cats are conscious


David Papineau (Thinking about Consciousness [2002], 7.16)

Book Reference

Papineau,David: 'Thinking about Consciousness' [OUP 2004], p.227

A Reaction

Nice point. My personal view is that the question of whether cats are conscious is hopeless because philosophers insist on making consciousness all-or-nothing (e.g. Idea 5786). If I experienced cat mentality, I might say I was 'semi-conscious'.

Related Idea

Idea 5786 A system is either conscious or it isn't, though the intensity varies a lot [Searle]