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Life Sciences

Animal Sentience

Animal suffering

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Full-Text Articles in Philosophy

Debunking Human Prejudice And Blindness, Peter J. Li Jan 2019

Debunking Human Prejudice And Blindness, Peter J. Li

Animal Sentience

Human prejudice and blindness to animal suffering are shocking. Despite their differences in culture, politics, and religious beliefs, humans have one thing in common. They see nonhuman animals as inferior and have since time immemorial assumed a dominant position in an asymmetrical human-animal relationship. When it comes to human-animal relations, there is no “clash of civilizations.” Human prejudice and blindness are predicated on “common sense assumptions” about the natural world and nonhuman animals in particular. Marino & Merskin’s review is part of the growing effort to debunk the assumptions that have shaped human actions so as to end the injustice ...


Moral Relevance Of Cognitive Complexity, Empathy And Species Differences In Suffering, John Lazarus Jan 2019

Moral Relevance Of Cognitive Complexity, Empathy And Species Differences In Suffering, John Lazarus

Animal Sentience

I qualify two criticisms made by commentators on Chapman & Huffman’s target article. Responding to the view that differences between humans and other animals are irrelevant to deciding how we should treat other species, I point out that differences between any species in their capacity to suffer are morally relevant. And in response to the claim that suffering is the sole criterion for the moral treatment of animals, I argue that cognitive complexity and a capacity for empathy also have moral relevance to the extent that they influence suffering.


Insulting Words: "They Are Animals!", Carolyn A. Ristau Jan 2018

Insulting Words: "They Are Animals!", Carolyn A. Ristau

Animal Sentience

As Chapman & Huffman state, creating divisive human categories has rationalized atrocities committed against the “other.” Labeling neighboring warring villagers as “animals” is considered a despicable insult. Yet contemporary scientific views of many animals grant them thinking and conscious faculties, and the capacity for impressive achievements, many unattainable by humans. Robots, too, can accomplish many similar feats. But the essential reason we must protect animals is not because of their admirable abilities, but their capacity for consciousness, for suffering. Robots are not conscious. Participants in the human-animal debate should not complain about changing criteria for determining human uniqueness. New and refined ...


Animal Suffering In China, Peter J. Li Feb 2016

Animal Suffering In China, Peter J. Li

Animal Sentience

Chinese policy has been aimed at maximizing GDP; it is time to focus also on minimizing animal suffering.


Considering Animals’ Feelings: Précis Of Sentience And Animal Welfare (Broom 2014), Donald M. Broom Jan 2016

Considering Animals’ Feelings: Précis Of Sentience And Animal Welfare (Broom 2014), Donald M. Broom

Animal Sentience

The concept of sentience concerns the capacity to have feelings. There is evidence for sophisticated cognitive concepts and for both positive and negative feelings in a wide range of nonhuman animals. All vertebrates, including fish, as well as some molluscs and decapod crustaceans have pain systems. Most people today consider that their moral obligations extend to many animal species. Moral decisions about abortion, euthanasia, and the various ways we protect animals should take into account the research findings about sentience. In addition, all animal life should be respected and studies of the welfare of even the simplest invertebrate animals should ...


How Welfare Biology And Commonsense May Help To Reduce Animal Suffering, Yew-Kwang Ng Jan 2016

How Welfare Biology And Commonsense May Help To Reduce Animal Suffering, Yew-Kwang Ng

Animal Sentience

Welfare biology is the study of the welfare of living things. Welfare is net happiness (enjoyment minus suffering). Since this necessarily involves feelings, Dawkins (2014) has suggested that animal welfare science may face a paradox, because feelings are very difficult to study. The following paper provides an explanation for how welfare biology could help to reduce this paradox by answering some difficult questions regarding animal welfare. Simple means based on commonsense could reduce animal suffering enormously at low or even negative costs to humans. Ways to increase the influence of animal welfare advocates are also discussed, focusing initially on farmed ...