Saturday, 28 April 2018

A Statue Commemorating Lady Mary Shepherd


Time for a statue of Lady Mary Shepherd, first Scottish female philosopher – Please sign the petition!

On Tuesday (24th April 2018) I attended the unveiling of the statue of Millicent Fawcett in Parliament Square (London, UK). It was an historic moment because it is the first statue of a woman to be placed in Parliament Square. It is also the first time a statue in this square has been created by a woman artist, Gillian Wearing, a conceptual BritArtist (YBA). For more on this day and photos see:


This would not have been possible without the campaigning and petitioning of Caroline Criado Perez (feminist writer/activist). So, as I watched the unveiling of the statue to the suffragist Millicent Fawcett I thought what about women philosophers? There’s already a petition for a statue of Mary Wollstonecraft in London which I have signed and it would be great to have more signatures, so do add to the numbers by signing the petition at:


But London shouldn’t be the only place to celebrate women philosophers. Indeed, Scotland is debating and campaigning to start placing the first statues of women in the city of Edinburgh and listing possible candidates of famous influential historical woman. For more, see:



So, why not Scotland’s first woman philosopher, Lady Mary Shepherd? I find her fascinating to research because she was such an incredible thinker and writer who led a very interesting life yet barely receives a mention within philosophical circles never mind wider society. It’s time her achievements were recognized!

Therefore, I started this petition today to honour Lady Shepherd’s contribution to philosophy and hope you’ll sign the petition to make her the first statue of a woman in Edinburgh:   


My petition reads:

There are no statues in honour of women philosophers in Edinburgh. There are statues honouring Scottish male philosophers such as Hume, whom Shepherd analyses in her treaties, but none of her. Despite being well-known and influential in her day, the male philosophers of her era, including those not highly regarded during their lifetime, have since become canonical in philosophy, but not her. Yet Shepherd (1777-1847) was a key figure during the Scottish Enlightenment.

Shepherd is considered the first Scottish female philosopher and hosted salons attended by a diverse group of great thinkers. She wrote two long treatises and was a major influence on the Edinburgh School so shaping the future of philosophy. William Whewell (1794-1866) used a Treatise she wrote as a textbook at Cambridge University. Yet in 2018, she is still not part of the philosophical canon.

It’s 240 years since her birth so it is an apt time to begin petitioning for a statue of her in Edinburgh. The statue will serve to inspire girls to pursue philosophy, a discipline in which women are still woefully underrepresented. Shepherd shows that philosophy is for girls and that women philosophers have written major philosophical works for centuries. More locally, the statue will hopefully inspire Scottish women to engage in philosophy and not see philosophy as being predominantly a male pursuit through a lack of visibility of Scottish women philosophers in history.

Please sign this petition to remember and celebrate Lady Mary Shepherd.

I’ll give updates on here about how the petition is progressing.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Time to #PressforProgress in Philosophy!


Today is International Women’s Day. This year, 2018, the theme is #PressforProgress.

My #PressforProgress is to bring to light the visibility of women (which includes celebrating women’s achievements and challenging bias and stereotypes) and, in particular, to press for gender parity.

My original aim in researching Shepherd was to make an Early Modern woman philosopher visible. Although there has been a little bit of research done on her I felt she needed to be more celebrated for her achievements, such as her two long Treatises and for being so influential in her day.

As part of my #PressforProgress this year, through my research on Shepherd I will:


Challenge stereotypes and bias by promoting and celebrating Mary Shepherd as a role model whose achievements show that abstract thinking and philosophical debating is not a male preserve. Even some contemporary feminists have fallen into believing and perpetuating the stereotype that perhaps abstract philosophy and adversarial philosophical debates don’t (naturally) suit women, contributing to the lack of women philosophers. However, I think Mary Shepherd shows women are just as naturally suited to the rigorous demands of philosophy and its various styles of argumentation, logic and debate as men. Women’s limited representation in philosophy is not due to women’s inherent abilities but rather restrictions imposed on them by male-dominated academia, which still struggles to include them in educational institutions (from being given the opportunity to engage in academic study as a student through to gaining professorships), academic research, publishing and discourse within the wider philosophical community. Philosophy has a long way to go before parity is achieved. This is something which needs to be addressed urgently because as a discipline it even lags behind STEM! It’s time philosophy pressed for progress in an active and successful way! ‘Deeds not Words’ is what is needed for gender parity in philosophy! Actions speak louder than just words!

The lack of parity makes many women in philosophy, including myself, invisible even to this day. So I shall continue to forge positive visibility for women through my research of women in the history of philosophy.  Shepherd is still rather invisible in philosophy which is why I also published a book on her early this year on this blog so that she emerges out of this cocoon of invisibility. In doing so, I hope to generate interest in her philosophy so that she becomes part of the philosophical canon which would then go towards making up the numbers for 50/50 parity between men and women in the history of philosophy.

Positive visibility and celebrating women’s achievements both highlight the importance of giving women credit for their contributions. Just as Shepherd should be credited for her work and ideas, so we should call it out when a woman philosopher is being written out of history these days by not receiving the credit and positivity she is due for her research contribution. In the spirit of this, I endeavour to have my contribution to academic scholarship respected and acknowledged, as part of the ongoing movement of #PressforProgress. Otherwise, we are ironically perpetuating the cycle of sexism if we make contemporary women philosophers like myself invisible whilst seemingly addressing women’s invisibility by researching, presenting and publishing on lesser-known women in the history of philosophy.  

You can join me in pressing for progress by going to:

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Are we dead when we die?

Further to my published research on Shepherd (see previous posts here for my ebook 'Research Thoughts on ...Lady Mary Shepherd - Volume 1), here's a fascinating article on consciousness I've just read which is relevant to my research on Shepherd's writings on consciousness and death:
https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/techandscience/where-do-you-go-when-you-die-the-increasing-signs-that-human-consciousness-remains-after-death/ar-BBIWSKB?li=AAmiR2Z&ocid=spartandhp

This article summarises key points discovered in studies published in 2016 and 2017 and indicates how the field is scientifically progressing and what remains to be discovered. My summary of this article's main points of interest for Shepherd's philosophy are:

- brain cells don't all die immediately upon bodily death and that bodily death is also not as clearly demarcated as once thought
- genes have been observed to continue working (and even "increasing in abundance") after a person is considered dead
- "the period immediately following death, our bodies start reverting to the cellular conditions that were present when we were embryos." This means that Shepherd may be on the right lines when considering whether we become more akin to a foetus-like state and simplicity after death.
-  all of us does not die at the same rate: aspects of us die at differing rates. "...some cells are more resilient to death than others.." but, it would seem, scientific research is yet to understand why this is.
- "In a 2016 study published in the Canadian Journal of Biological Sciences, doctors recounted shutting off life support for four terminally ill patients, only to have one of the patients continue emitting delta wave bursts—the measurable electrical activity in the brain we normally experience during deep sleep—for more than 10 minutes after the patient had been pronounced dead; no pupil dilation, no pulse, no heartbeat. The authors were at a loss for a physiological explanation." This is interesting because Shepherd explores dreams, sleep, the unconscious in themselves as well as relating them to life and death.
- Parnia argues "...we have a consciousness that makes up who we are—our selves, thoughts, feelings, emotions—and that entity, it seems, does not become annihilated just because we've crossed the threshold of death; it appears to keep functioning and not dissipate. How long it lingers, we can’t say.” So Shepherd is right to explore but leave the possibility of memory, emotion and a clear sense of a continuous self an open question in her discussion of the afterlife.

This is very exciting because, firstly it shows the importance of philosophy in furthering our reasoning and understanding of the world and secondly, that philosophy can play a vital role in supporting other disciplines, such as science (quite apart from others ranging from politics, maths to the arts). It is also astounding that Shepherd is already, during the 18th and 19th century when she's reading, thinking, discussing and writing her treatises, formulating theses which are so accurate that they are still relevant today. What's more, when scientifically studied today, with the aid of modern, sophisticated equipment, they are still not much further along than her reasoning concluded!  

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Shepherd vol 1 ebook concluding Remarks, Appendix, Bibliography



In this blog ebook, I have put forward my interpretation of Lady Mary Shepherd, given my reasons and provided textual evidence from both her philosophical treatises to support my view. I hope I have shown how and why I suggest that she may be the first analytic philosopher (male or female) in the History of Philosophy and that she should be included in the canon. I hope I have demonstrated how her approach to philosophising has informed her system of thought and works.

 This ebook has dealt with some of the topics and arguments in Shepherd’s philosophy, however others remain. In my Volume 2 on Shepherd, I shall go on to examine these.

Appendix: Additional Research Material on the Afterlife and the Science of Foetal Consciousness[i]

1: How Did the Notion of Foetal Consciousness Occur to Shepherd?[ii]

In appendix 1, I will explore the questions: Where did Shepherd get the notion of foetal consciousness from? Could it have come from scientists she knew or read, or could she have come across it in philosophy? Was she merely expressing an intuition of hers? Is she right in thinking foetuses are capable of a consciousness of sorts? I shall detail my additional research findings on what knowledge about foetal consciousness may have existed in Shepherd’s era and how far knowledge has come since then.

The Philosophical Background to Foetal Consciousness:

Arnauld (1612–1694) uses the concept of unborn children’s minds as a counterexample in order to refute Descartes’ claim that we are all conscious of our thoughts[iii]. Contra Descartes, Arnauld argues for the possibility of having thoughts we are not aware of having.  Arnauld supports this by arguing that foetuses are an exception to Descartes’ claim because they have thoughts without being conscious of having that thought. Arnauld writes:

“The author lays it down as certain that there can be nothing in him, in so far as he is a thinking thing, of which he is not aware [conscius], but it seems to me that this is false. For by ‘himself, in so far as he is a thinking thing,’ he means simply his mind, in so far as it is distinct from his body. But all of us can surely see that there may be many things in our mind of which the mind is not aware [conscius]. The mind of an infant in its mother's womb has the power of thought, but is not aware [conscius] of it. And there are countless similar examples, which I will pass over. (CSM II 150 / AT VII 214)”[iv]

Descartes answers Arnauld by reaffirming his intuition that we are indeed aware of all our thoughts and that foetuses are not an exception to this so his claim remains intact:

“As to the fact that there can be nothing in the mind, in so far as it is a thinking thing, of which it is not aware [conscius], this seems to me to be self-evident. For there is nothing that we can understand to be in the mind, regarded in this way, that is not a thought or dependent on a thought. If it were not a thought or dependent on a thought it would not belong to the mind qua thinking thing; and we cannot have any thought of which we are not aware [conscius] at the very moment when it is in us. In view of this I do not doubt that the mind begins to think as soon as it is implanted in the body of an infant, and that it is immediately aware [conscius] of its thoughts, even though it does not remember this afterwards because the impressions of these thoughts do not remain in the memory. (CSM II 171–172 / AT VII 246)”[v]

So Descartes seems to think that Arnauld’s mistake is to assume that a lack of memory of our thoughts when foetuses has misled him to conclude that they are thinking without consciousness/awareness.

Nevertheless, I wonder whether this passage could be read differently. What if Arnauld was referring to our capacity to have unconscious thoughts rather than having thoughts that you are aware of at the time but you cannot remember later on? This would better refute Descartes’ claim because it would point out the possibility of thinking without being aware of thinking and thus avoid the problem of whether you remember having thought it at a later date. Whichever way you prefer to interpret Arnauld’s objection to Descartes, it is useful to remember Jorgensen’s[vi] insightful summary of Descartes’ argument as claiming that:

“consciousness, for Descartes, is an intrinsic property of all thoughts (even of the thoughts of infants) by which the subject becomes aware of the thought itself. While this involves reflection, this is not distinct from the thought itself.”[vii]

However, the puzzle remains because Shepherd does not refer to Descartes or Arnauld in either of her philosophical treatises. Moreover, they seem to think about consciousness differently from Shepherd[viii] in that they have not taken different levels of consciousness into account, unless we read Arnauld as referring to unconscious thought rather than a subsequent lack of memory. Even so, Shepherd[ix] goes further by positing simple and complex levels of consciousness. So given the difference between the concepts explored in Descartes’ and Arnauld’s correspondence and Shepherd’s philosophy, it still leaves open the question of whether Shepherd could have been convinced by the possibility of foetal consciousness through philosophy. Furthermore, as far as I am aware, foetal consciousness doesn’t seem to feature in summaries of 18th Century philosophy of consciousness either[x].

This leaves science as a contender for how Shepherd may have been so confident that foetal consciousness was possible that she merely states it boldly and factually in passing without feeling the need to argue for it or explain it to her readers. I shall discuss this in appendix 2.

2: Could Shepherd Have Learnt About Foetal Minds from Scientists in Her Era?

In appendix 2, I want to consider whether scientific knowledge is a contender for how Shepherd seemed so confident that foetal consciousness was plausible. Was there sufficient interest in foetuses in her era and just before her time? If so, could she have come across the notion in science? Here I shall discuss what knowledge about foetuses may have been accessible to Shepherd around the publication of her philosophical treatise ‘Essays on the Perception of an External Universe and Other Subjects Connected with the Doctrine of Causation’ in 1827[xi].

Historical Background to Science about Foetuses:

A recent study has shown that scientists were already specifically taking a keen interest in the anatomy of foetuses during the 18th and 19th century[xii]. Stillborn babies in particular were relatively easy to obtain and study until 1838[xiii]. This is 11 years after Shepherd publishes her 1827 treatise where she mentions foetal consciousness. The study conducted shows that ‘bodies of foetuses and babies were a “prized source of knowledge” by British scientists of the 18th and 19th centuries, and were dissected more commonly than previously thought…’[xiv]. So, figuring out exactly how much knowledge Shepherd could acquire about foetuses is an open question given that we still are unsure about the extent and depth of scientific knowledge about foetuses in general during this era.

Given we are still learning about scientists’ depth of interest and knowledge about foetuses around Shepherd’s era, it is not inconceivable that Shepherd could also have more knowledge about foetuses than we expect her to have, especially given that she met and had academic discussions with eminent scientists in her day. McRobert points out that Shepherd was friends with well-known scientists throughout her life, including many who had links with the main universities in her day, including the University of London[xv]. This, I think, is important because some of the very few drawings and studies of foetal brains I discovered were images from a best-selling book by Jones Quain, professor of Anatomy and Physiology at the University of London[xvi],[xvii]. This book, entitled ‘Elements of Anatomy’ was first published in 1828, only a year after Shepherd’s mention of foetuses in her 1827 treatise. So it is possible that Shepherd knew him and his work on the foetal brain and could have discussed it with him because he may well have attended her London salon. I’m not yet sure what his views were on consciousness but this shows that knowledge in this field was developed enough for Shepherd to either learn about it from others or draw on their work to form her own views on the matter. Indeed, Quain was not the only scientist examining foetal brains. In France, Jules Germain Cloquet was producing a 5 volume anatomy atlas and included drawings of foetal brain development over time in the last volume[xviii], published in 1825, only a few years prior to Shepherd’s 1827 treatise. As can been seen by the artist Jan van Rymsdyk[xix], who worked in the UK during the 18th century producing images of foetuses, interest in producing images of foetal anatomy stretched back to the 18th century. So, given that Shepherd was born in 1777 and van Rymsdyk worked in the UK between 1745 and 1780, it is possible that detailed pictures and knowledge of foetuses would have been accessible to Shepherd throughout her life.  

So I think it is a strong possibility that Shepherd may have learnt about foetal minds from scientists in her era and that this led her to take the notion of foetal consciousness as something she didn’t feel she needed to explain to her readers. Given that Shepherd didn’t mention how foetal consciousness crossed her mind in her 1827 treatise[xx], and given that studies are only now, very recently grasping the extent of knowledge of and interest in foetuses in the 18th to 19th century, we shall never know for sure how it occurred to her. Indeed, at times, she belatedly mentions in a footnote that she learnt that, subsequent to writing her 1827 treatise[xxi], her views unknowingly coincide with other thinkers. So even if her ideas could be traced back to resembling something a scientist or philosopher expressed about foetal consciousness, this would not be sufficient evidence to suggest that she did not reach such conclusions through her own independent thought despite this. Nevertheless, given the above, I think that it is highly likely that Shepherd learnt about foetal minds by discussing science with eminent scientists, family friends and intellectuals who were part of her London circle, especially since science was one of her favourite subjects and informed her philosophy[xxii]. Consequently, I think her views on foetal consciousness probably sprung from these discussions and her own reading, either by learning it from them or by formulating her own thoughts on it based on knowledge available to her.

However, scientific discoveries and theories progress all the time. So, in appendix 3, I want to explore whether contemporary science can tell us if Shepherd is right in thinking foetuses are capable of a consciousness of sorts. 

3: Can Contemporary Science Tell Us If Shepherd Was Right to Think Foetuses Are Capable of a Consciousness of Sorts?[xxiii]

Here I will explain some of what I have found out thus far in my research about the science of consciousness in general and how it applies to the possibility of foetuses having a type of consciousness.

What I find remarkable about Shepherd mentioning foetal consciousness back in the early 19th century, is that science today still doesn’t have a good grasp of what consciousness is, and even less so when it comes to foetuses. In the New Scientist, published in 2017, Homes states that “We don’t even fully understand what consciousness is” and that the question of how it evolved and “what is it for?” has “Until recently, …. been largely ignored”[xxiv]. So I think it is all the more fascinating that Shepherd doesn’t ignore the possibility of foetal consciousness back in the early 19th century[xxv]. Homes[xxvi] tells us the latest shift of focus in science of consciousness is that scientific researchers have broadened their focus now by analysing the historical evolution of consciousness, including consciousness in animals, rather than restricting the question to what it is and applying it only to humans, and thereby furthering our knowledge of the “nature of consciousness” by approaching it from a different but related research question.

Homes[xxvii] outlines the differing, competing theories and accounts of consciousness which take this different research angle. There is still no one agreed scientific view on it and much ignorance in this field remains[xxviii]. The important key concepts in this article by Homes, which relate to my research focus, are that there are various “kinds of consciousness”[xxix]. This means two things. One, that there may be different types of consciousness other than the ones we are familiar with as human beings[xxx]. Two, that there may be different levels of consciousness, ranging from “minimal consciousness” to more complex ways of being conscious[xxxi]. Homes wonderfully sums up this message at the end of his article when he says “consciousness is not clear cut” and that, by looking at the animal world, we appreciate what the neuroscientist Anil Seth means when he says “there is not just one single way of being conscious”[xxxii].      

This, I think, matches up well with Shepherd’s hypothesis that consciousness can be simple early on in life, then be more complex when we are adults before returning to a simple kind of consciousness after death. So I wonder whether what Shepherd had in mind when writing about consciousness, including “consciousnesses (simple or complex)”[xxxiii], and “mental capacity” being “simple”[xxxiv] is something akin to what we would now term minimal consciousness.

However, there can be a fine line in determining the difference between very minimal levels of consciousness and unconsciousness and this difference is not always clearly understood. Block[xxxv], highlights that the philosopher Searle puts forward and explores “petit mal epilepsy”[xxxvi] as described by Penfield. I shall put aside the criticisms and rebuttals of Searle’s approach to consciousness and instead try to bring out how this type of epilepsy really illustrates the difficulty of untangling different types of human conscious and how to accurately delineate between consciousness and unconsciousness. Penfield observed that his patients with petit mal epilepsy were able to do things like walk around busy streets, drive a car and play a musical instrument despite being described as “totally unconscious”[xxxvii]. This raises two points. One, as Block highlights, that this may be because, while they lack some types of consciousness, such as “phenomenal consciousness”, they still possess others, such as “cognitive and functional consciousness”[xxxviii]. Two, Block questions the phrase “totally unconscious” in an earlier work of Searles’ and explores the idea of whether what is really going on is related to attentiveness[xxxix]. On this picture, when we say sufferers are unconscious yet managing to be up and about and navigating their way through the world, it is more akin to being conscious but “on automatic pilot” rather than actually being completely unconscious[xl]. Not only does this impact on how we want to demarcate and define the difference between consciousness and unconsciousness, but it also has implications for how we talk about different kinds of consciousness[xli].

The relevance of the similarities and differences between conscious states and unconscious states is that some scientists / paediatricians maintain that foetal consciousness is a type of unconsciousness and that foetuses are in a sleep-like state until birth[xlii]. This claim, I think, is of particular interest when assessing how close Shepherd’s suggested hypotheses are to contemporary scientific knowledge because in a different section in her 1827 treatise she calls sleep an unconscious state[xliii].

So how should we draw on all this when examining the concept of foetal consciousness in Shepherd? At first glance, it might seem that foetuses are not strictly speaking conscious, but rather, unconscious. However, considering that this unconsciousness is likened to a sleep-like state and that people can sleepwalk and petit mal epilepsy sufferers have sometimes been considered unconscious despite being up and about and capable of doing tasks, should we think of foetal unconsciousness as a type of very minimal consciousness, akin to sleep and certain types of so-called unconscious behaviours? Are foetuses unconscious in some ways but not others, making them seem unconscious? Would Shepherd have refined her terms of simple consciousness and unconsciousness in relation to foetuses had she known they may be in a sleep-like state? How should we accurately interpret Shepherd’s notion of foetal consciousness and how she meant it? How should we assess and compare it to the deeper knowledge we now possess in philosophy and science about levels and types of consciousness?





[i] Liba Kaucky, ‘Lady Mary Shepherd on the Afterlife’ (British Society for the History of Philosophy Annual Conference, University of Sheffield: Conference website (on weebly.com), 2017), http://bshp2017.weebly.com/uploads/2/7/0/3/27039653/bshp_2017_final_abstract_book_2.pdf.

This appendix provides extra material which grew out of the questions I was asked during question time after my presentation above, available at: https://www.academia.edu/32731828/abridged_paper_presented_6th_April_2017_Lady_Mary_Shepherd_on_the_Afterlife_plus_Q_and_A.docx.pdf


After the conference I blogged about my further research findings which were inspired by these questions I was asked. I have reproduced these three blogs here for readers’ convenience to read alongside part 3. The blogs have been adapted for this ebook.



[ii] Liba Kaucky, ‘How Did the Notion of Foetal Consciousness Occur to Shepherd?’, The Lady Mary Shepherd Salon (blog), 6 August 2017, https://theladymaryshepherdphilosophysalon.blogspot.co.uk/2017/08/how-did-notion-of-foetal-consciousness.html.
[iii] Larry Jorgensen M., ‘Seventeenth-Century Theories of Consciousness’, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (USA: Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University, 2014), https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2014/entries/consciousness-17th.
[iv] Jorgensen.
[v] Jorgensen.
[vi] Jorgensen.
[vii] Jorgensen.
[viii] Mary Shepherd, Essays on the Perception of an External Universe and Other Subjects Connected with the Doctrine of Causation (Piccadilly, London, United Kingdom: John hatchard and Son., 1827), https://archive.org/stream/essaysonpercepti00shep/#page/n7/mode/2up.
[ix] Shepherd.
[x] Alexander Broadie, ‘Scottish Philosophy in the 18th Century’, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (USA: Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University, 2013), https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2013/entries/scottish-18th.
[xi] Shepherd, Essays on the Perception of an External Universe and Other Subjects Connected with the Doctrine of Causation.
[xii] Anon., ‘Infant Bodies Were “prized” by 19th Century Anatomists, Study Suggests’, educational, Cambridge University research news, 1 July 2016, https://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/infant-bodies-were-prized-by-19th-century-anatomists-study-suggests.
[xiii] Anon.,.
[xiv] Anon.,.
[xv] Jennifer McRobert, ‘Mary Shepherd and the Causal Relation’ February 2002, p48-9, https://philpapers.org/archive/MCRMSA.pdf.
[xvi] Anon., ‘Human Embryo, Cranial Nerves (from Quain’s “Elements of Anatomy”)’, educational, Science Photo Library (Science Source), n.d., http://www.sciencephoto.com/media/860830/view.
[xvii] Anon., ‘Human Embryo, Optic Vesicles, 3rd Week (from Quain’s “Elements of Anatomy”)’, educational, Science Photo Library (Science Source), n.d., http://www.sciencephoto.com/media/860833/view.
[xviii] Anon., ‘Foetal Brain Development, 1825 Artwork (Cloquet)’, educational, Science Photo Library (Science Source), n.d., http://www.sciencephoto.com/media/484107/view.
[xix] Anon., ‘Human Foetus in the Uterus, 18th Century ( Jan van Rymsdyk)’, educational, Science Photo Library (Science Source), n.d., http://www.sciencephoto.com/media/538085/view.
[xx] Shepherd, Essays on the Perception of an External Universe and Other Subjects Connected with the Doctrine of Causation.
[xxi] Shepherd.
[xxii] McRobert, ‘Mary Shepherd and the Causal Relation’, p49. “Many of those in Lady Mary’s social circle shared a love of mathematics, science, and abstract analysis — subjects that played an important role in the emerging philosophy and science of the nineteenth century. They were subjects in which Lady Mary had a keen philosophical interest.” 
[xxiii] Liba Kaucky, ‘Can Contemporary Science Tell Us If Shepherd Was Right to Think Foetuses Are Capable of a Consciousness of Sorts?’, The Lady Mary Shepherd Salon (blog), 5 September 2017, https://theladymaryshepherdphilosophysalon.blogspot.co.uk/2017/09/can-contemporary-science-can-tell-us-if.html.
[xxiv] B. Homes, ‘Why Be Conscious? The Improbable Origins of Our Unique Mind’, The New Scientist, 13 May 2017, p29, https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg23431250-300-why-be-conscious-the-improbable-origins-of-our-unique-mind/.
[xxv] Shepherd, Essays on the Perception of an External Universe and Other Subjects Connected with the Doctrine of Causation.
[xxvi] Homes, ‘Why Be Conscious? The Improbable Origins of Our Unique Mind’, p29.
[xxvii] Homes, p29-31.
[xxviii] Homes, p29-31.
[xxix] Homes, p31.
[xxx] Homes, p29-31.
[xxxi] Homes, p31.
[xxxii] Homes, p31.
[xxxiii] Shepherd, Essays on the Perception of an External Universe and Other Subjects Connected with the Doctrine of Causation, p221. “What then remains as given data? Nothing but our sensations, mental consciousnesses, (simple or complex,) arbitrarily named, and their relations”
[xxxiv] Shepherd, p379. “But the inquiry should be, whether when the organs which are in relation to any individual capacity, undergo the change called death, if the continuing mental capacity become simple in its aptitudes again, or, whether it remain so far in an altered state by what it has gone through in the present life, that it continues as the result of that modification?”
In other words, Shepherd thinks that either our mental capabilities go from being simple to more complex in adulthood before becoming simple again after death or that our mental capabilities continually change in some way throughout.    

[xxxv] N. Block, Consciousness, ed. S. Guttenplan, Blackwell Companions to Philosophy (UK: Blackwell Publishing, 2004).
[xxxvi] Block, p217.
[xxxvii] Block, p217.
[xxxviii] Block, p217.
[xxxix] Block, p218.
[xl] Block, p218.
[xli] Block, p218. In addition, Block argues here that “The main error here is to transfer by conflation an obvious function of access-consciousness to phenomenal consciousness”. For an overview and explanation of these terms see:
This terminology also shows that there are even different terms for various levels and types of consciousness between philosophy and science.
[xlii] H. Lagercrantz and J.-P. Changeux, ‘The Emergence of Human Consciousness: From Foetal to Neonatal Life’, Pediatric Research 65, no. 3 (1 March 2009): p255, https://doi.org/doi:10.1203/PDR.0b013e3181973b0d.
[xliii] Shepherd, Essays on the Perception of an External Universe and Other Subjects Connected with the Doctrine of Causation, p155. From quote here where Shepherd uses sleep as an example of an unconscious state: “when unconscious, (as in sound sleep)…”



Bibliography:


Anon.,. ‘Charles Babbage 1791-1871’. Educational. Science Museum (Collection), n.d. http://collection.sciencemuseum.org.uk/people/cp36993/charles-babbage.
———. ‘Foetal Brain Development, 1825 Artwork (Cloquet)’. Educational. Science Photo Library (Science Source), n.d. http://www.sciencephoto.com/media/484107/view.
———. ‘Groundbreaking Discovery Confirms Existence of Orbiting Supermassive Black Holes’. Educational. EurekAlert: The global Source for Science News, 27 June 2017. https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-06/uonm-gdc062617.php.
———. ‘Human Embryo, Cranial Nerves (from Quain’s “Elements of Anatomy”)’. Educational. Science Photo Library (Science Source), n.d. http://www.sciencephoto.com/media/860830/view.
———. ‘Human Embryo, Optic Vesicles, 3rd Week (from Quain’s “Elements of Anatomy”)’. Educational. Science Photo Library (Science Source), n.d. http://www.sciencephoto.com/media/860833/view.
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A Statue Commemorating Lady Mary Shepherd

Time for a statue of Lady Mary Shepherd, first Scottish female philosopher – Please sign the petition! On Tuesday (24 th April 2018)...