CONN 357

Exploring Animal Minds

In 2012, seven neuroscientists collaborated to write the Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness--effectively stating that many other species, including octopuses, have the same neurobiological mechanisms that are associated with conscious awareness in humans. This multidisciplinary course integrates perspectives and concepts from biology, psychology, and philosophy as well as ethics and law to further explore the nonhuman animal mind. Topics include what consciousness is and whether it has a physical home in the brain, why being conscious might be evolutionarily adaptive to species other than humans, specific tasks scientists have developed to assess consciousness in other species, as well as ethical, legal, and societal repercussions of deeming other species conscious. Students who have some background or interest in biology, neuroscience, and/or psychology may find this course particularly relevant.

Prerequisites: Junior or Senior standing