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Animal Sentience: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Animal Feeling

Commentary Type

Invited Commentary

Abstract

Reber (2016) attempts to resuscitate an obscure and outdated hypothesis referred to as the “cellular basis of consciousness” that was originally formulated by the author nearly twenty years ago. This hypothesis proposes that any organism with flexible cell walls, a sensitivity to its surrounds, and the capacity for locomotion will possess the biological foundations of mind and consciousness. Reber seeks to reduce consciousness to a fundamental property inherent to individual cells rather than to centralised nervous systems. This commentary shows how this hypothesis is based on supposition, false premises and a misunderstanding of evolutionary theory. The cellular basis of consciousness hypothesis has little explanatory and predictive power with regards to subjective experience.

Author Biography

Brian Key is Head of the Brain Growth and Regeneration Lab at the University of Queensland. He is dedicated to understanding the principles of stem cell biology, differentiation, axon guidance, plasticity, regeneration and development of the brain.

http://www.uq.edu.au/sbms/staff/brian-key