Original Research

Pursuing an understanding of animal consciousness: Implications for animal morality and a creaturely theology

Cornel W. du Toit
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 36, No 3 | a1442 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v36i3.1442 | © 2015 Cornel W. du Toit | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 27 February 2015 | Published: 21 September 2015

About the author(s)

Cornel W. du Toit, Research Institute for Theology and Religion, University of South Africa, South Africa


The importance of animals in the evolutionary history of homo sapiens comes to the fore in light of an increasingly trans-human techno-scientific environment. New research on consciousness, and animal consciousness in particular, has prompted questions relating to animal rights, animal morality and the emergence of a creaturely theology and theological primatology. The possibility of understanding nonhuman animals is investigated with reference to notions like consciousness, thinking, awareness, language and communication, including the importance of emotion in communication. Special attention is given to the nature of animal communication as it came to the fore in bonobo and other chimpanzee research. Building on the notion of awareness and communication, the article focuses on the notion of animal morality and comments on some aspects of a creaturely theology.


Animal consciousness; Cambridge declaration of animal consciousness; animal communication; animal morality; creaturely theology


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Crossref Citations

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