Animal Sentience: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Animal Feeling

Commentary Type

Invited Commentary


Colin Klein and Andrew B. Barron, Insects have the capacity for subjective experience


Klein & Barron’s (2016) (K & B’s) case for insect consciousness is a welcome development in an area that, in all of the science and philosophy of mind, is probably the most anthropocentric. In this commentary, we seek to strengthen K & B’s side of the argument by appealing not just to putative neural mechanisms but also to computational theory that supports it (section 1). We also offer some remarks on three distinctions that are relevant to K & B’s thesis and are central to phenomenal awareness: between the capacity for awareness and its contents (section 2); between awareness and selfhood (section 3); and between “easy” and “hard” problems in consciousness research (section 4).

Author Biography

Shimon Edelman does research on vision, language, and consciousness, integrating computational theory and computer modeling with laboratory studies on behavior as well as neurobiological knowledge.


Roy Moyal Is a doctoral student in psychology at Cornell University.

Tomer Fekete does research on computational approaches to modeling consciousness, using dynamical systems to model spontaneous brain activity, and trying to understand the link between network structure and criticality in cortex.