September
07
 

Human exceptionalism is for the birds

Here’s something we missed about the uniqueness of human beings. In July the Francis Crick Memorial Conference, at Cambridge University, decided that we aren’t as exceptional as we once believed. At the conference a group of people, mostly experimental neuroscientists, tried to put  to rest preconceived notions of human exceptionalism. They issued a manifesto, the Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness in Non-Human Animals. It states:

“The absence of a neocortex does not appear to preclude an organism from  experiencing affective states. Convergent evidence indicates that  non-human  animals have the  neuroanatomical,  neurochemical, and neurophysiological substrates of conscious states along with  the capacity to exhibit intentional behaviors. Consequently, the weight of evidence  indicates that  humans are not unique in possessing the neurological substrates that generate consciousness. Nonhuman animals, including all mammals and birds, and many other creatures, including octopuses, also  possess these neurological substrates.” 



This article is published by Michael Cook and BioEdge.org under a Creative Commons licence. You may republish it or translate it free of charge with attribution for non-commercial purposes following these guidelines. If you teach at a university we ask that your department make a donation. Commercial media must contact us for permission and fees. Some articles on this site are published under different terms.

comments powered by Disqus
 

 Search BioEdge

 Subscribe to BioEdge newsletter
rss Subscribe to BioEdge RSS feed

 Best of the web

 Recent Posts
Swiss suicide tourism doubles in four years
23 Aug 2014
Divergent approaches to treating Ebola
23 Aug 2014
War in Gaza prompts war in The Lancet
23 Aug 2014
Should we compensate organ donors?
23 Aug 2014
What students think about conscientious objection
23 Aug 2014