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Articles 1 - 24 of 24

Full-Text Articles in Philosophy

Fish Sentience Denial: Muddying The Waters, Lynne U. Sneddon, Javier Lopez-Luna, David C.C. Wolfenden, Matthew C. Leach, Ana M. Valentim, Peter J. Steenbergen, Nabila Bardine, Amanda D. Currie, Donald M. Broom, Culum Brown Jan 2018

Fish Sentience Denial: Muddying The Waters, Lynne U. Sneddon, Javier Lopez-Luna, David C.C. Wolfenden, Matthew C. Leach, Ana M. Valentim, Peter J. Steenbergen, Nabila Bardine, Amanda D. Currie, Donald M. Broom, Culum Brown

Animal Sentience

Recent empirical studies have reported evidence that many aquatic species, including fish, cephalopods and crustaceans, have the capacity for nociception and pain, and that their welfare should be taken into consideration. Some sceptics, rejecting the precautionary principle, have denied that any study demonstrates pain or other aspects of sentience in fish. This target article discusses some of the scientific shortcomings of these critiques through a detailed analysis of a study exploring nociception and analgesia in larval zebrafish.


Pain In Fish: Evidence From Peripheral Nociceptors To Pallial Processing, Michael L. Woodruff Jan 2018

Pain In Fish: Evidence From Peripheral Nociceptors To Pallial Processing, Michael L. Woodruff

Animal Sentience

The target article by Sneddon et al. (2018) presents convincing behavioral and pharmacological evidence that ray-finned fish consciously perceive noxious stimuli as painful. One objection to this interpretation of the evidence is that the fish nervous system is not complex enough to support the conscious experience of pain. Data that contradict this objection are presented in this commentary. The neuroanatomy and neurophysiology of the fish nervous system from the peripheral nerves to the pallium is able to support the sentient appreciation of pain.


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.


On Crabs And Statistics, Jonathan Birch Jan 2018

On Crabs And Statistics, Jonathan Birch

Animal Sentience

I respond to commentaries by Elwood and Seth & Dienes and to a recent critique by Diggles, discussing the link between avoidance learning and sentience, the relevance of the clash between frequentist and Bayesian statistics, the risks to decapod welfare in aquaculture, and the broader concerns one may have about a “precautionary” approach to protecting invertebrates.


If It Looks Like A Duck: Fish Fit The Criteria For Pain Perception, Julia E. Meyers-Manor Jan 2018

If It Looks Like A Duck: Fish Fit The Criteria For Pain Perception, Julia E. Meyers-Manor

Animal Sentience

Whereas we have denied the experience of pain to animals, including human babies, the evidence is becoming clearer that animals across a variety of species have the capacity to feel pain (Bellieni, 2012). As converging findings are collected from pain studies and the study of cognition, it is becoming harder to deny that fish are among the species that do feel pain.


The Potential For Sentience In Fishes, Jay R. Stauffer Jr. Jan 2017

The Potential For Sentience In Fishes, Jay R. Stauffer Jr.

Animal Sentience

Balcombe’s book is filled with information on the biology, behavior, and life history of fishes. I do not agree with all his premises. I am still somewhat perplexed about the discussion of whether fish feel pain; I am not sure whether the distinction between nociception and pain makes any difference. Overall, however, his treatment of the principles of both natural and sexual selection is comprehensive and accurate, and has greatly increased my knowledge and awareness of the biology, ethology, and potential for sentience in fishes. In summary, this work has exposed me to new ideas about how to examine ...


Assessing Negative And Positive Evidence For Animal Pain, Robert W. Elwood Jan 2017

Assessing Negative And Positive Evidence For Animal Pain, Robert W. Elwood

Animal Sentience

Jonathan Birch suggests that we should take one well-conducted study that produces results consistent with the idea of pain as being sufficient to invoke the animal sentience precautionary principle. Here, I consider how to balance negative and positive results from such studies using examples from my own work. I also consider which criteria of pain might provide strong inference about pain and which may prove to be weaker.


The “Precautionary Principle” – A Work In Progress, Shelley Adamo Jan 2017

The “Precautionary Principle” – A Work In Progress, Shelley Adamo

Animal Sentience

The target article by Birch illustrates the practical difficulties with the “Animal Sentience Precautionary Principle” (ASPP) while presenting potential solutions. However, the ASPP will be difficult to use without guidelines detailing how evidence of sentience should be assessed. Moreover, extrapolating conclusions found for a single species to all species within an Order is problematic. Finally, I recommend that Birch demonstrate his ASPP framework using a controversial test case to help show how it could be used in real-world situations.


Insect Consciousness: Commitments, Conflicts And Consequences, Colin Klein, Andrew B. Barron Nov 2016

Insect Consciousness: Commitments, Conflicts And Consequences, Colin Klein, Andrew B. Barron

Animal Sentience

Our target article, “Insects have the capacity for subjective experience,” has provoked a diverse range of commentaries. In this response we have collated what we see as the major themes of the discussion. It is clear that we differ from some commentators in our commitments to what subjective experience is and what the midbrain is capable of. Here we clarify where we stand on those points and how our view differs from some other influential perspectives. The commentaries have highlighted the most lively areas of disagreement. We revisit here the debates surrounding whether the cortex is essential for any form ...


Subjective Experience In Insects: Definitions And Other Difficulties, Shelley Adamo Aug 2016

Subjective Experience In Insects: Definitions And Other Difficulties, Shelley Adamo

Animal Sentience

Whether insects have the potential for subjective experiences depends on the definition of subjective experience. The definition used by Klein & Barron (2016) is an unusually liberal one and could be used to argue that some modern robots have subjective experiences. From an evolutionary perspective, the additional neurons needed to produce subjective experiences will be proportionately more expensive for insects than for mammals because of the small size of the insect brain. This greater cost could weaken selection for such traits. Minimally, it may be premature to assume that small neuronal number is unimportant in determining the capacity for consciousness.


Fish Pain: An Inconvenient Truth, Culum Brown May 2016

Fish Pain: An Inconvenient Truth, Culum Brown

Culum Brown, Ph.D.

Whether fish feel pain is a hot political topic. The consequences of our denial are huge given the billions of fish that are slaughtered annually for human consumption. The economic costs of changing our commercial fishery harvest practices are also likely to be great. Key outlines a structure-function analogy of pain in humans, tries to force that template on the rest of the vertebrate kingdom, and fails. His target article has so far elicited 34 commentaries from scientific experts from a broad range of disciplines; only three of these support his position. The broad consensus from the scientific community is ...


Fish Pain's Burden Of Proof, Carl Safina Feb 2016

Fish Pain's Burden Of Proof, Carl Safina

Animal Sentience

A hypothesis like Key’s, that fish cannot feel pain, should really be stated as a null hypothesis — an assumption that there is no difference in the things being compared. Then evidence — including anecdotal evidence — for and against rejecting the null hypothesis can be examined and weighed. Key (2016a) has proven only that fish lack mammalian brains.


Why Fish Do Not Feel Pain, Brian Key Jan 2016

Why Fish Do Not Feel Pain, Brian Key

Animal Sentience

Only humans can report feeling pain. In contrast, pain in animals is typically inferred on the basis of nonverbal behaviour. Unfortunately, these behavioural data can be problematic when the reliability and validity of the behavioural tests are questionable. The thesis proposed here is based on the bioengineering principle that structure determines function. Basic functional homologies can be mapped to structural homologies across a broad spectrum of vertebrate species. For example, olfaction depends on olfactory glomeruli in the olfactory bulbs of the forebrain, visual orientation responses depend on the laminated optic tectum in the midbrain, and locomotion depends on pattern generators ...


Should Fish Feel Pain? A Plant Perspective, František Baluška Jan 2016

Should Fish Feel Pain? A Plant Perspective, František Baluška

Animal Sentience

Key (2016) claims fish that fish do not feel pain because they lack the necessary neuronal architecture: their responses to noxious stimuli, according to Key, are executed automatically without any feelings. However, as pointed out by many of his commentators, this conclusion is not convincing. Plants might provide some clues. Plants are not usually thought to be very active behaviorally, but the evidence suggests otherwise. Moreover, in stressful situations, plants produce numerous chemicals that have painkilling and anesthetic properties. Finally, plants, when treated with anesthetics, cannot execute active behaviors such as touch-induced leaf movements or rapid trap closures after localizing ...


What Would The Babel Fish Say?, Monica Gagliano Jan 2016

What Would The Babel Fish Say?, Monica Gagliano

Animal Sentience

Starting with its title, Key’s (2016) target article advocates the view that fish do not feel pain. The author describes the neuroanatomical, physiological and behavioural conditions involved in the experience of pain in humans and rodents and confidently applies analogical arguments as though they were established facts in support of the negative conclusion about the inability of fish to feel pain. The logical reasoning, unfortunately, becomes somewhat incoherent, with the arbitrary application of the designated human criteria for an analogical argument to one animal species (e.g., rodents) but not another (fish). Research findings are reported selectively, and questionable ...


Cortex Necessary For Pain — But Not In Sense That Matters, Adam J. Shriver Jan 2016

Cortex Necessary For Pain — But Not In Sense That Matters, Adam J. Shriver

Animal Sentience

Certain cortical regions are necessary for pain in humans in the sense that, at particular times, they play a direct role in pain. However, it is not true that they are necessary in the more important sense that pain is never possible in humans without them. There are additional details from human lesion studies concerning functional plasticity that undermine Key’s (2016) interpretation. Moreover, no one has yet identified any specific behaviors that mammalian cortical pain regions make possible that are absent in fish.


Fish Pain: Would It Change Current Best Practice In The Real World?, B. K. Diggles Jan 2016

Fish Pain: Would It Change Current Best Practice In The Real World?, B. K. Diggles

Animal Sentience

Much of the “fish pain debate” relates to how high the bar for pain should be set. The close phylogenetic affinities of teleosts with cartilaginous fishes which appear to lack nociceptors suggests caution should be applied by those who seek to lower the bar, especially given the equivocal and conflicting nature of the experimental data currently available for teleosts. Nevertheless, even if we assume fish “feel pain,” it is difficult to see how current best practice in aquaculture would change. This is because of the need to avoid stress at all stages of the rearing process to optimize health, growth ...


Anthropomorphic Denial Of Fish Pain, Lynne U. Sneddon, Matthew C. Leach Jan 2016

Anthropomorphic Denial Of Fish Pain, Lynne U. Sneddon, Matthew C. Leach

Animal Sentience

Key (2016) affirms that we do not know how the fish brain processes pain but denies — because fish lack a human-like cortex — that fish can feel pain. He affirms that birds, like fish, have a singly-laminated cortex and that the structure of the bird brain is quite different from that of the human brain, yet he does not deny that birds can feel pain. In this commentary we describe how Key cites studies that substantiate mammalian pain but discounts the same kind of data as evidence of fish pain. We suggest that Key's interpretations are illogical, do not reflect ...


No Evidence That Pain Is Painful Neural Process, Riccardo Manzotti Jan 2016

No Evidence That Pain Is Painful Neural Process, Riccardo Manzotti

Animal Sentience

Key (2016) claims that fish do not feel pain because they lack the neural structures that have a contingent causal role in generating and feeling pain in mammals. I counterargue that no conclusive evidence supports the sufficiency of any mammalian neural structure to produce pain. We cannot move from contingent necessity in mammals to necessity in every organism.


Fish Pain: A Painful Topic, Carl Safina Jan 2016

Fish Pain: A Painful Topic, Carl Safina

Animal Sentience

If fish cannot feel pain, why do stingrays have purely defensive tail spines that deliver venom? Stingrays’ ancestral predators are fish. And why do many fishes possess defensive fin spines, some also with venom that produces pain in humans? These things did not evolve just in case sentient humans would evolve millions of years later and then invent scuba. If fish react purely unconsciously to “noxious” stimuli, why aren’t sharp jabbing spines enough? Why also stinging venom?


Fish Pain: An Inconvenient Truth, Culum Brown Jan 2016

Fish Pain: An Inconvenient Truth, Culum Brown

Animal Sentience

Whether fish feel pain is a hot political topic. The consequences of our denial are huge given the billions of fish that are slaughtered annually for human consumption. The economic costs of changing our commercial fishery harvest practices are also likely to be great. Key outlines a structure-function analogy of pain in humans, tries to force that template on the rest of the vertebrate kingdom, and fails. His target article has so far elicited 34 commentaries from scientific experts from a broad range of disciplines; only three of these support his position. The broad consensus from the scientific community is ...


Nonverbal Indicators Of Pain, Simon Van Rysewyk Jan 2016

Nonverbal Indicators Of Pain, Simon Van Rysewyk

Animal Sentience

In discussing fish pain, Key (2016) privileges pain in humans — “the only species able to directly report on its feelings.” Human experience of pain is not necessarily best reflected by verbal self-report, however. Neural responses to noxious stimuli are influenced by individual differences and by context. Nonverbal pain displays such as facial expressions reflect part of the neural response to noxious stimuli. Most mammals have a specific facial grimace reflecting pain. If fish have a somatic expression of pain, the development of a reliable and accurate somatic pain scale specific to fish could make a contribution to the debate about ...


Brain Processes For “Good” And “Bad” Feelings: How Far Back In Evolution?, Jaak Panksepp Jan 2016

Brain Processes For “Good” And “Bad” Feelings: How Far Back In Evolution?, Jaak Panksepp

Animal Sentience

The question of whether fish can experience pain or any other feelings can only be resolved by neurobiologically targeted experiments. This commentary summarizes why this is essential for resolving scientific debates about consciousness in other animals, and offers specific experiments that need to be done: (i) those that evaluate the rewarding and punishing effects of specific brain regions and systems (for instance, with deep-brain stimulation); (ii) those that evaluate the capacity of animals to regulate their affective states; and (iii) those that have direct implications for human affective feelings, with specific predictions — for instance, the development of new treatments for ...


Pain In Fish: Weighing The Evidence, James D. Rose Jan 2016

Pain In Fish: Weighing The Evidence, James D. Rose

Animal Sentience

The target article by Key (2016) examines whether fish have brain structures capable of mediating pain perception and consciousness, functions known to depend on the neocortex in humans. He concludes, as others have concluded (Rose 2002, 2007; Rose et al. 2014), that such functions are impossible for fish brains. This conclusion has been met with hypothetical assertions by others to the effect that functions of pain and consciousness may well be possible through unknown alternate neural processes. Key's argument would be bolstered by consideration of other neurological as well as behavioral evidence, which shows that sharks and ray are ...