Animal Sentience

Commentary Type

Invited Commentary


The hard problem of consciousness is to explain why certain physical states are conscious: why do they feel the way they do, rather than some other way or no way at all? Arthur Reber (2016) claims to solve the hard problem. But he does not: even if we grant that amoebae are conscious, we can ask why such organisms feel the way they do, and Reber’s theory provides no answer. Still, Reber’s theory may be methodologically useful: we do not yet have a satisfactory theory of consciousness, but perhaps the study of simple minds is a way to go about finding one.

Author Biography

Derek Ball is a Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of St Andrews. He has published widely in philosophy of mind and philosophy of language. http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/~db71