Mon April 19, 2010
What is Consciousness?
Public Radio Tulsa – This Friday at 8:00 pm on Public Radio 89.5 HD1, The Really Big Questions will explore the latest thinking about consciousness, by looking at what the minds of nonhuman animals can tell us about human minds.
The quest to define consciousness has inspired philosophers and scientists for much of human history. The Really Big Questions (TRBQ), will explore the latest thinking about consciousness, by looking at what the minds of nonhuman animals can tell us about human minds. Do you ever wonder what your dog is thinking when you talk to her, and she cocks her head and looks at you with the saddest eyes you have ever seen? Or what is going on in your cat's head while you scratch its chin and it purrs. It wasn't too long ago that scientists considered conscious thought to be an exclusively human attribute. Today, however, a growing body of research suggests that nonhuman animals exhibit varying degrees of conscious-like behavior, from planning for the future and memorizing previous events, to considering the thoughts of and deliberately misleading other members of their species. Which brings us to a really big question: What is consciousness, anyway?