KLI Colloquia are informal, public talks that are followed by extensive dissussions. Speakers are KLI fellows or visiting researchers who are interested in presenting their work to an interdisciplinary audience and discussing it in a wider research context. We offer three types of talks:

1. Current Research Talks. KLI fellows or visiting researchers present and discuss their most recent research with the KLI fellows and the Vienna scientific community.

2. Future Research Talks. Visiting researchers present and discuss future projects and ideas togehter with the KLI fellows and the Vienna scientific community.

3. Professional Developmental Talks. Experts about research grants and applications at the Austrian and European levels present career opportunities and strategies to late-PhD and post-doctoral researchers.

  • The presentation language is English.
  • If you are interested in presenting your current or future work at the KLI, please contact the Scientific Director or the Executive Manager.

Event Details

Claudia Passos-Ferreira
KLI Colloquia
Are Infants Conscious?
Claudia PASSOS-FERREIRA (Center for Bioethics, New York University)
2018-06-19 10:00 - 2018-06-19 11:30
Organized by KLI

Topic description / abstract:

Two questions about infant consciousness are especially central. First: are infants conscious? Second: what is infants’ conscious experience like? These are fundamental questions to be answered if we aim to understand the infant mind. They raise important epistemological problems that are closely related to the traditional problem of other minds.
I argue that newborn babies are conscious at birth and that it is possible to know something about what infants’ experiences are like. I propose a methodology for investigating infant consciousness, and I present two approaches to determining whether infants are conscious. First, I consider behavioral signs of consciousness. I present two behavior-based arguments for consciousness: an argument from pain behavior, and an argument from flexible behavior. Second, I discuss what the major theories of consciousness, including both philosophical and scientific theories, predict about infant consciousness.


Biographical note:

Claudia Passos-Ferreira is a philosopher and a psychologist in the Center for Bioethics at New York University. She works on the development of consciousness and self-consciousness, moral psychology, and other topics in the philosophy of psychology and philosophy of mind. She was trained as a psychologist and has a Ph.D. in public health and a second Ph.D. in philosophy.