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Peter Godrey-Smith (CUNY, USA & HPS, University of Sydney, Australia), Individuality and Minimal Cognition
15 September 2016 | 13 h 30 min - 14 h 30 min
Peter Godfrey-Smith (City University of New York, USA & HPS, University of Sydney, Australia)
The paper links discussions of two topics, biological individuality and the simplest forms of mentality. I discuss several attempts to locate the boundary between metabolic activity and ‘minimal cognition.’ I then look at differences between the kinds of individuality present in unicellular life, multicellular life in general, and animals of several kinds. Nervous systems, which are clearly relevant to cognition and subjectivity, also play an important role in the kind of individuality seen in animals. The last part of the paper links the biological transitions discussed earlier to the evolutionary history of subjective experience.