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Full-Text Articles in Philosophy

Anthropocentrism As Cognitive Dissonance In Animal Research?, Ellen Furlong, Zachary Silver, Jack Furlong Jan 2018

Anthropocentrism As Cognitive Dissonance In Animal Research?, Ellen Furlong, Zachary Silver, Jack Furlong

Animal Sentience

Harmon-Jones et al. (2017) make a thought-provoking suggestion in their commentary on Zentall (2016): Overlooked biases among researchers on animal cognition might lead them to discount the traces of higher-order cognition in animals they study. We find the suggestion both philosophically important and worth further reflection for animal scientists. Harmon-Jones et al. point to two “cognitive dissonance” biases involving the clash between the common human resistance to viewing ourselves as animals/meat-eaters and how these biases might lead to discounting possible advanced cognitive performances in the animals studied. We show how these biases might appear in cognitive research generally and ...


Caterpillar/Basil-Plant Tandems, Paco Calvo Jan 2018

Caterpillar/Basil-Plant Tandems, Paco Calvo

Animal Sentience

According to Reber (2016), subjectivity springs from primitive life itself. Granting his non-neurocentric stance, I shall try to show that his framework falls prey to zoocentric preconceptions that divest certain non-animal life-forms of mentality. There is no reason to exclude the possibility that plants have evolved different structures that underlie their own subjective experiences, all according to Reber’s model. It is the degree of phenotypic flexibility and integration that we observe in the behavioral repertoire of plants that may end up supporting their capacity for subjective experience. This remains an open empirical question.


Chickens Play To The Crowd, Cinzia Chiandetti Jan 2018

Chickens Play To The Crowd, Cinzia Chiandetti

Animal Sentience

The time was ripe for Marino’s review of chickens’ cognitive capacities. The research community, apart from expressing gratitude for Marino’s work, should now use it to increase public awareness of chickens’ abilities. People’s views on many animals are ill-informed. Scientists need to communicate and engage with the public about the relevance and societal implications of their findings.


Lessons From Chimpanzee Sign Language Studies, Mary Lee Jensvold Jan 2018

Lessons From Chimpanzee Sign Language Studies, Mary Lee Jensvold

Animal Sentience

Claims are often made about behaviors being unique to humans; the evidence usually shows they are not. Sign language studies on chimpanzees may provide a useful model for comparative studies of suicide. A productive approach to comparative studies is to focus on observable behaviors rather than getting lost in the pitfalls of vague definitions and changing measures.


Canine Emotions: Guidelines For Research, Miiamaaria V. Kujala Jan 2018

Canine Emotions: Guidelines For Research, Miiamaaria V. Kujala

Animal Sentience

In the target article, I called for a discussion on the nature and extent of dogs’ emotions. The commentators generally agreed on the existence of dog emotions, but the diversity and quality of dog emotions, as well as the influence of human social cognition on perceiving dog emotions, raised more debate. To respond to the stimulating commentaries, I touch briefly on the philosophy of (canine) mind and discuss further the benefits of comparing cognition across species, secondary emotions, and the shaping of canine emotions by evolution, breeding and experience. I conclude with suggestions for future research guidelines on studies of ...


Thinking About Thinking Chickens, Lori Marino Jan 2018

Thinking About Thinking Chickens, Lori Marino

Animal Sentience

This response focuses on three major conceptual threads that run through the peer commentary on my target article: (1) how the use of chickens influences our views of them, (2) whether education is effective, and (3) what components of chicken psychology are most relevant to understanding who chickens are.



Jealousy, Competition, Or A Contextual Cue For Reward?, Thomas R. Zentall Jan 2018

Jealousy, Competition, Or A Contextual Cue For Reward?, Thomas R. Zentall

Animal Sentience

Emotions are difficult to assess, even in humans. The attribution of jealousy in an animal like a dog is especially difficult because performance of a particular behavior in the context of another animal receiving a reward may not be easily distinguishable from intra-species competition or simply a response to a contextual cue for the availability of reward. The authors provide distinguishing evidence in the form of fMRI data to show that in the presence of a “fake” dog being fed, there is bilateral activation in the amygdala, an area associated with anxiety, anger, fear, and even jealousy in humans.


What Can The Social Emotions Of Dogs Teach Us About Human Emotions?, Dean Mobbs Jan 2018

What Can The Social Emotions Of Dogs Teach Us About Human Emotions?, Dean Mobbs

Animal Sentience

It has long been believed that social emotions such as guilt and jealousy are only expressed in humans. In the case of jealousy, its adaptive value has been linked to the prevention of sexual infidelity or fairness. So why would dogs feel jealousy? I suggest that understanding how social emotions have been bred into dogs can help us understand our own emotions, including their functionality — and potentially their mechanisms.


Lessons From Behaviour For Brain Imaging, Carolyn J. Walsh Jan 2018

Lessons From Behaviour For Brain Imaging, Carolyn J. Walsh

Animal Sentience

Integrating physiological and behavioural arousal with social context is fundamental to understanding affect in dogs. Cook et al. (2018) have made a worthy start towards illuminating the neural basis of dog affect underlying resource loss. However, their study depends on retrospective behaviour reports versus direct testing, and an interpretation of differential neural activation that is based on too few dogs. Research groups conducting canine brain-imaging work might: (1) consider collaborative approaches to augment sample sizes and replicability, and (2) take a recent lesson from dog behavioural research regarding a more cautious approach to applying functional labels to physiological and/or ...


Sentience, The Final Frontier...., Shelley Adamo Jan 2018

Sentience, The Final Frontier...., Shelley Adamo

Animal Sentience

Arguments for fish sentience have difficulty with the philosophical zombie problem. Progress in AI has shown that complex learning, pain behavior, and pain as a motivational drive can be emulated by robots without any internal subjective experience. Therefore, demonstrating these abilities in fish does not necessarily demonstrate that fish are sentient. Further evidence for fish sentience may come from optogenetic studies of neural networks in zebrafish. Such studies may show that zebrafish have neural network patterns similar to those that correlate with sentience in humans. Given the present uncertainty regarding sentience in fish, caution should be applied regarding the precautionary ...


Denialism And Muddying The Water Or Organized Skepticism And Clarity? That Is The Question, Ben Diggles, Howard I. Browman Jan 2018

Denialism And Muddying The Water Or Organized Skepticism And Clarity? That Is The Question, Ben Diggles, Howard I. Browman

Animal Sentience

The research being commented on here has been criticized and defended in journals. Sneddon et al. (2018) add nothing substantive. We have nothing further to add. Readers are referred to Diggles (2018) and to Browman et al. (2018) for a detailed assessment.


Fish Are Smart And Feel Pain: What About Joy?, Becca Franks, Jeff Sebo, Alexandra Horowitz Jan 2018

Fish Are Smart And Feel Pain: What About Joy?, Becca Franks, Jeff Sebo, Alexandra Horowitz

Animal Sentience

Sneddon et al. rightly point out that the evidence of fish pain is now so strong and comprehensive that arguments against it have become increasingly difficult to defend in balanced academic discourse. But sentience involves more than just pain. Recent research indicates that fish have an impressive range of cognitive capacities, including the capacity for pleasure, in the form of play and other behaviors likely to involve positively valenced experience. Having made the case for pain, research can now focus on other aspects of fish sentience. Doing so will not only provide a more complete picture of the mental lives ...


Ample Evidence For Fish Sentience And Pain, Lynne U. Sneddon, David C.C. Wolfenden, Matthew C. Leach, Ana M. Valentim, Peter J. Steenbergen, Nabila Bardine, Donald M. Broom, Culum Brown Jan 2018

Ample Evidence For Fish Sentience And Pain, Lynne U. Sneddon, David C.C. Wolfenden, Matthew C. Leach, Ana M. Valentim, Peter J. Steenbergen, Nabila Bardine, Donald M. Broom, Culum Brown

Animal Sentience

The majority of commentaries are supportive of our position on the scepticism that muddies the waters surrounding fish pain and sentience. There is substantial empirical evidence for pain in fish. Animals’ experience of pain cannot be compared to artificial intelligence (AI) because AI can only mimic responses to nociceptive input on the basis of human observations and programming. Accepting that fish are sentient would not be detrimental to the industries reliant on fish. A more proactive discussion between scientists and stakeholders is needed to improve fish welfare for the benefit of all.


Inferring Emotion From Amygdala Activation Alone Is Problematic, Thomas F. Denson Jan 2018

Inferring Emotion From Amygdala Activation Alone Is Problematic, Thomas F. Denson

Animal Sentience

Cook et al. investigated neural responses in domestic dogs in an experiment designed to elicit jealousy. Relative to a control condition, watching the dogs’ caregivers feed a fake dog activated the amygdala bilaterally. Dogs rated higher in dog-directed aggressiveness showed larger initial amygdala activation. Amygdala activity in this context is insufficient evidence to infer that the dogs experienced jealousy or even negative affect. The experimental design does not provide an adequate level of control to infer the presence of jealousy.


Limits Of Neuroscience, Paul Morris Jan 2018

Limits Of Neuroscience, Paul Morris

Animal Sentience

Examining the relationship between jealous behaviour and the amygdala may be quite informative about the function of the amygdala, but the amygdala may be less helpful in informing us about jealous behaviour. Claims about the potential practical relevance of the results also require that the magnitude of the effects inform the relevant discussion. The dogs used in the study probably share some very important personality characteristics; this too limits the practical implications of Cook et al.’s findings for dogs in general. It is nevertheless a testament to the skill of the experimenters, and the amazing bond between dogs and ...


Can A Dog Be Jealous?, Yaoguang Jiang, Annamarie W. Huttunen, Michael L. Platt Jan 2018

Can A Dog Be Jealous?, Yaoguang Jiang, Annamarie W. Huttunen, Michael L. Platt

Animal Sentience

Whether humans alone experience complex emotions like jealousy or envy remains hotly debated, partly because of the difficulty of measuring them without a verbal report. Cook, Berns and colleagues use functional brain imaging to identify in dogs neural responses very similar to those evoked by jealousy in humans. When dogs see their caregiver reward a facsimile dog, their amygdala is activated and the strength of this response predicts aggressive behavior — just as jealousy leads to aggression in humans. The authors conclude that dogs feel something very similar to human jealousy. This novel and creative study tackles one of the most ...


Dogs Aren’T Jealous – They Are Just Asking For Accurate Information, Karen L. Overall Jan 2018

Dogs Aren’T Jealous – They Are Just Asking For Accurate Information, Karen L. Overall

Animal Sentience

Awake fMRI offers us a unique opportunity to view and understand how dogs see the world and use the information in it. Given the limitations of behavioral assays and the small sample sizes inherent in these studies, labeling of patterns of canine behaviors using pop psychology terms may actually interfere with our understanding of canine brains and obscure for us a more parsimonious but exciting interpretation of canine behavior. We should use this window into how dogs think wisely.



Good News: Humans Are Neither Distinct Nor Superior, Anne Benvenuti Jan 2018

Good News: Humans Are Neither Distinct Nor Superior, Anne Benvenuti

Animal Sentience

Chapman & Huffman suggest that to correct our thinking about the supposed superiority of humans over other animals, we must train our reasoned investigation upon ourselves. Their thesis may usefully be viewed from within the general findings of the cognitive revolution in science, particularly findings that speak to the limits of rationality in everyday thought of humans. That we have failed — throughout a long history of scientific and philosophical thought — to ask fundamental questions about animal cognition and emotion is rooted in the fact that much of our thinking, feeling, and behaving is beyond our own immediate grasp. Scientific investigation has ...


Can They Suffer?, Todd K. Shackelford Jan 2018

Can They Suffer?, Todd K. Shackelford

Animal Sentience

We should treat sentient nonhuman animals as worthy of moral consideration, not because we share an evolutionary history with them, but because they can suffer. As Chapman & Huffman (2018) argue, humans are not uniquely disconnected from other species. We should minimize the suffering we inflict on sentient beings — whether human or nonhuman — not because they, too, are tool-makers or have sophisticated communication systems, but because they, too, can suffer, and suffering is bad.


Individuals In The Wild, Bob Fischer Jan 2018

Individuals In The Wild, Bob Fischer

Animal Sentience

If many wild animals have net negative lives, then we have to consider how likely it is that the good for animals, considered as individuals, aligns with the good for species, or the climate, or the preservation of wild spaces.


How To Foster Respect For Animals? Superiority, Dissimilarity, And Prejudice, Matteo Colombo Jan 2018

How To Foster Respect For Animals? Superiority, Dissimilarity, And Prejudice, Matteo Colombo

Animal Sentience

Chapman & Huffman (C & H) might be taken to argue as follows: Humans may treat animals however they want only if humans are superior to animals. But humans are not superior to animals. Therefore, humans may not treat animals however they want. Whatever its merit, this is not C & H’s actual argument. Their point, instead, is that humans often mistreat animals because they tend to perceive them as inferior. A remedy for animal mistreatment would then be acknowledging the deep similarities between us and animals. But is C & H’s suggested remedy likely to be effective to foster respect for ...


Fish Consciousness, David Gamez Jan 2018

Fish Consciousness, David Gamez

Animal Sentience

Woodruff makes two arguments to support his claim that ray-finned fish are conscious: (1) Fish neuroanatomy has similarities with the structures in the human brain that support consciousness. (2) The complexity and flexibility of fish behaviour suggest that they are conscious. This commentary will argue that neither the neuroanatomical nor the behavioural argument can provide conclusive evidence for consciousness in fish. We should suspend judgement until we have discovered mathematical theories of consciousness that can reliably map between states of consciousness and states of the physical world.


The Degeneracy Of Behavior And The Rise Of Neuroimaging To Measure Affective States In Dogs, Peter F. Cook, Gregory S. Berns Jan 2018

The Degeneracy Of Behavior And The Rise Of Neuroimaging To Measure Affective States In Dogs, Peter F. Cook, Gregory S. Berns

Animal Sentience

It is gratifying and significant that so many scientists from diverse fields are arguing in-depth regarding a particularly complex set of social emotions in a non-human animal. Emotions play a fundamental role in decision making and information processing. Neuroimaging is important in understanding the cognitive and emotional worlds of non-human animals and can help measure covert emotions lacking clear behavioral correlates. Various experimental approaches could clarify the relative importance of attachment and aggression in jealousy and whether the phenomenon we measured is more akin to human envy or jealousy. Reverse inference from amygdala activation is probably justified because behavior is ...


Human Superiority?, Bernard Rollin Jan 2018

Human Superiority?, Bernard Rollin

Animal Sentience

Like Charles Darwin and George Romanes, I am quite willing to use anecdotal information as a source of knowledge about animal behavior. There are many more people observing nonhuman animals than there are people conducting controlled experiments, and we can thereby learn that behaviors we think are unique to humans are shared by other animals. From a strictly biological point of view, it makes no sense to speak of “human superiority.” One species of animal can be superior to another only in terms of survival and niche occupation. As moral concern for animals increases across the world, claims of human ...


We Don’T Want To Know What We Know, Judith Benz-Schwarzburg Jan 2018

We Don’T Want To Know What We Know, Judith Benz-Schwarzburg

Animal Sentience

Why are humans so ignorant with regard to the fundamental gap between ethical claims and the status quo of the human-animal relationship? To answer this, we should include more psychological and sociological perspectives in our discussions.


Fish Sentience, Consciousness, And Ai, Ila France Porcher Jan 2018

Fish Sentience, Consciousness, And Ai, Ila France Porcher

Animal Sentience

The systematic criticism of articles providing evidence that fish and invertebrates can feel pain is discussed. Beliefs are known to be stronger than evidence in the human mind, and could generate this outcry, while from another perspective, the criticisms appear as a territorial move by fishermen against a perceived threat to their domain. The scientific inconsistency in which consciousness is granted to machines but not to fish and invertebrates, purely due to political bias, is pointed out. No basis exists for denying sentience to any life form as long as science is ignorant of the nature and source of consciousness.


Fish Sentience Denial: Muddy Moral Water, Robert C. Jones Jan 2018

Fish Sentience Denial: Muddy Moral Water, Robert C. Jones

Animal Sentience

Sneddon et al. (2018) authoritatively summarize the compelling and overwhelming evidence for fish sentience, while methodically dismantling one rather emblematic research paper (Diggles et al. 2017) intended to discount solid evidence of fish sentience (Lopez-Luna et al. 2017a, 2017b, 2017c, & 2017d). I explore the larger practical moral contexts within which these debates take place and argue that denials of animal sentience are really moral canards.


Fish And Plant Sentience: Anesthetized Plants And Fishes Cannot Respond To Stimuli, Ken Yokawa, František Baluška Jan 2018

Fish And Plant Sentience: Anesthetized Plants And Fishes Cannot Respond To Stimuli, Ken Yokawa, František Baluška

Animal Sentience

Recent denial of fish sentience is at variance with the fact that all living organisms need environmental awareness in order to survive in a continuously fluctuating environment. Moreover, fish sentience – like plant sentience – is also strongly supported by the sensitivity of fishes and plants to diverse anesthetics.


Time To (Finally) Acknowledge That Fish Have Emotionality And Pain, Konstantin A. Demin, Anton M. Lakstygal, Allan V. Kalueff Jan 2018

Time To (Finally) Acknowledge That Fish Have Emotionality And Pain, Konstantin A. Demin, Anton M. Lakstygal, Allan V. Kalueff

Animal Sentience

The increasing work using fish as a model organism calls for a better understanding of their sentience. While growing evidence suggests that pain and emotionality exist in zebrafish, many deniers continue to ignore the evidence. Here we revisit the main conceptual breakthroughs in the field that argue clearly for pain and emotionality. We call for an end to denial and a focus on studying the mechanisms of fish pain and emotionality, and their translational relevance to human conditions.


Finding The Green-Eyed Monster In The Brain Of A Dog, Peter Singer Jan 2018

Finding The Green-Eyed Monster In The Brain Of A Dog, Peter Singer

Animal Sentience

That dogs show behavior suggestive of jealousy has long been known and has been demonstrated under controlled conditions. Cook et al. have now shown arousal in the amygdala when dogs see a caregiver feeding another dog. This finding has ethical significance in two respects. First, the consideration shown by the investigators for the welfare of their experimental subjects sets an example for other researchers using animals. Second, the greater understanding of the emotional lives of animals should lead to more concern for their needs.