Gennaro, Rocco J. (2016) Unconscious higher-order thoughts (HOTs) as pre-reflective self-awareness? Animal Sentience 2016.148
Mark Rowlands, Are animals persons?
Rowlands argues that many nonhuman animals are “persons,” contrary to the prevailing orthodoxy which rests on a mistaken conception of the kind of self-awareness relevant to personhood. He argues that self-awareness bifurcates into two importantly different forms — reflective self-awareness and pre-reflective self-awareness — and that many animals can have the latter, which is sufficient for personhood. I agree that there is good reason to think that many animals can have pre-reflective self-awareness, but I think Rowlands is mistaken about its nature. His account runs the risk of leading to an infinite regress objection, and his notion of pre-reflective self-awareness actually sounds more like reflective self-awareness. If Rowlands treats pre-reflective self-awareness as itself conscious, then it is less likely that animals can have even this form of self-awareness.