The Lower Bounds of Cognition: What Do Spinal Cords Reveal? Chapter uri icon


  • Abstract This article examines the role of the spinal cords in cognition. It reviews animal science research that challenges the view that behavioral responses to sensory stimuli that do not involve brain mediation are fixed, automatic, and non-cognitive in nature. This research has shown the spinal cord to be a flexible and interesting learning system in its own right. This article discusses the consequences of these findings for philosophical understanding of the relationship between learning, cognition, and even consciousness. The article also explains the relevant concepts of instrumental conditioning and antinociception and conditioned antinociception.

author list (cited authors)

  • Allen, C., Grau, J. W., & Meagher, M. W.

citation count

  • 3

complete list of authors

  • Allen, Colin||Grau, James W||Meagher, Mary W

Book Title

  • The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Neuroscience

publication date

  • January 1, 2009 11:11 AM