Key, Brian (2016) “Cellular basis of consciousness”: Not just radical but wrong. Animal Sentience. 2016.137 11(5)
Arthur S. Reber, Caterpillars, consciousness and the origins of mind
Reber (2016) attempts to resuscitate an obscure and outdated hypothesis referred to as the “cellular basis of consciousness” that was originally formulated by the author nearly twenty years ago.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.