Commentary Type

Open Commentary


Mark Rowlands, Are animals persons?


Rowlands argues that animals have implicit pre-reflective awareness and that this is adequate to create the unity of conscious thought required for personhood. For him pre-reflective awareness does not include intentionality and is probably an unconscious process. I suggest that his sense of implicit leads to significant difficulties for his argument and that including intentionality in the definition of a first-person perspective provides a stronger base for viewing animals as persons.

Author Biography

Michael L. Woodruff is Professor Emeritus of Biomedical Sciences and of Psychology at East Tennessee State University. Author of more than 120 professional publications, his research interests include cognitive neuroscience and the philosophy of mind. https://etsu.academia.edu/MikeWoodruff