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Topic description / abstract:
I argue that the question of animal consciousness is an extrapolation problem and, as such, is best tackled by deploying currently accepted methodology for validating experimental models of a phenomenon of interest. This methodology relies on an assessment of similarities and dissimilarities between experimental models, the partial replication of findings across complementary models, and evidence from the successes and failures of explanations, technologies and medical applications developed by extrapolating and aggregating findings from multiple models. Crucially important, this methodology does not require a commitment to any particular theory or construct of consciousness, thus avoiding theory-biased reinterpretations of empirical findings rampant in the literature.
Tudor Baetu received a master’s degree in microbiology and immunology from McGill University and a doctorate degree in philosophy from Université de Montréal. He held post-doctoral positions at the University of Maryland (College Park, USA) and the Konrad Lorenz Institute (Klosterneuburg, Austria), followed by an associate professor position at Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos (São Leopoldo, Brazil). He was a lecturer in philosophy of science at the University of Bristol and is now Associate Professor at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR) in Canada.