The philosophical implications of affective neuroscience

First paragraph of this paper: Cross-species affective neuroscience is a new approach to understanding the mammalian BrainMind. 1 To achieve a coherent vision of foundational issues, the border between human and animal consciousness is intentionally blurred, especially at the primary-process level of organization (Table 1) — namely at the subcortical level — shared homologously by all mammals. This adheres to Darwin’s dictum that the differences in the mental lives of animals ‘is one of degree and not of kind’ (Darwin, 1872/1988, p. 127). It also respects Darwin’s justpreceding ontological reflection that ‘There can be no doubt that the difference between the mind of the lowest man and that of the highest animal is immense’, but this applies primarily to the tertiary-process level, namely the fully formed MindBrain, after it is contextualized within ever-present cultural and developmental landscapes. Most of twentieth-century behaviourism, and now behavioural neuroscience, have been devoted to characterizing the secondary-processes of learning and memory. In contrast, human cognitive science deals mostly with tertiary-processes that are largely inaccessible in animal research.

First paragraph of this paper: Cross-species affective neuroscience is a new approach to understanding the mammalian BrainMind. 1 To achieve a coherent vision of foundational issues, the border between human and animal consciousness is intentionally blurred, especially at the primary-process level of organization (Table 1) — namely at the subcortical level — shared homologously by all mammals. This adheres to Darwin’s dictum that the differences in the mental lives of animals ‘is one of degree and not of kind’ (Darwin, 1872/1988, p. 127). It also respects Darwin’s justpreceding ontological reflection that ‘There can be no doubt that the difference between the mind of the lowest man and that of the highest animal is immense’, but this applies primarily to the tertiary-process level, namely the fully formed MindBrain, after it is contextualized within ever-present cultural and developmental landscapes. Most of twentieth-century behaviourism, and now behavioural neuroscience, have been devoted to characterizing the secondary-processes of learning and memory. In contrast, human cognitive science deals mostly with tertiary-processes that are largely inaccessible in animal research.

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