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Full-Text Articles in Philosophy of Mind

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 Sep 2019

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

Lynne Sneddon, PhD

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.


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 Aug 2019

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

Culum Brown, PhD

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.


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 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: 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.


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.


Defining Denial And Sentient Seafood, Jennifer Jacquet Jan 2018

Defining Denial And Sentient Seafood, Jennifer Jacquet

Animal Sentience

Sneddon et al. address the scientists who reject the empirical evidence on fish sentience, calling them “sceptics” and their work “denial”. This is the first article to frame the question of fish sentience in these terms, and it provides an obvious opening for social science and humanities research in the science of fish sentience. It is also worth asking what practical changes in the lives of fish might arise from the mounting evidence of their sentience. I suggest that the relationship between sentience and our sense of moral obligation is not as clear as we often assume.


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.


Degrees Of Sentience?, Jonathan Birch Jan 2018

Degrees Of Sentience?, Jonathan Birch

Animal Sentience

I focus on the possibility of sentience in zebrafish larvae. The evidence here prompts two intuitive reactions that are difficult to reconcile: the reaction that larvae, if sentient, should be protected in some way, and the reaction that larvae, if capable of nociception, should be used as replacements for adults. Both reactions are reasonable, but they can be reconciled only by constructing a framework for assigning degrees of protection in proportion to degrees of sentience.


Defining Pain And Painful Sentience In Animals, Edgar T. Walters Jan 2018

Defining Pain And Painful Sentience In Animals, Edgar T. Walters

Animal Sentience

Sentience is essential to most definitions of pain, including a detailed definition invoked by Sneddon et al. to argue that adult and perhaps larval fish feel pain. Because proving painful sentience in non-human animals is not feasible, multiple lines of indirect evidence are needed to implicate pain. This commentary examines the list of 17 criteria used by Sneddon et al. to conclude that fish have conscious pain. The criteria include tests of nociceptive, motivational, and cognitive properties useful for revealing pain-like states that can be understood biologically and be related evolutionarily to human pain. However, additional research is needed to ...


Sentience In Fishes: More On The Evidence, Michael L. Woodruff Jan 2018

Sentience In Fishes: More On The Evidence, Michael L. Woodruff

Animal Sentience

In my target article, I argued that the brains of ray-finned fishes of the teleost subclass (Actinopterygii) are sufficiently complex to support sentience — that these fishes have subjective awareness of interoceptive and exteroceptive sense experience. Extending previous theories centered on the tectum, I focused on the organization of the fish pallium. In this Response to the commentaries, I clarify that I do not propose that the fish pallium is, or must be, homologous to the mammalian neocortex to play a role in sentience. Some form of a functionalist approach to explaining the neural basis of sentience across taxa is probably ...


Nagel-Ing Worries About Fish Sentience, Hugh Lafollette Jan 2017

Nagel-Ing Worries About Fish Sentience, Hugh Lafollette

Animal Sentience

Woodruff (2017) argues that teleosts’ more sophisticated behaviors make sense only if they are sentient. Moreover, their neuroanatomy, although different from mammalian, is sufficiently complex to support sentience. I answer some potential objections to Woodruff’s argument, and try to trace its moral significance. In so doing, I briefly address Birch’s (2017) target article as well.


Animal Models, Agendas And Sentience, Thomas Creson Jan 2017

Animal Models, Agendas And Sentience, Thomas Creson

Animal Sentience

Woodruff’s target article on teleost consciousness is a well-organized logical argument for considering the fish as a sentient being. This becomes more important for animal ethical discussion as the fish becomes a more important and legitimate animal model for investigating animal states and traits associated with higher levels of behavior such as learning and memory.


The Emotional Brain Of Fish, Sonia Rey Planellas Jan 2017

The Emotional Brain Of Fish, Sonia Rey Planellas

Animal Sentience

Woodruff (2017) analyzes structural homologies and functional equivalences between the brains of mammals and fish to understand where sentience and social cognition might reside in teleosts. He compares neuroanatomical, neurophysiological and behavioural correlates. I discuss current advances in the study of fish cognitive abilities and emotions, and advocate an evolutionary approach to the underlying basis of sentience in teleosts.


Learning, Memory, Cognition, And The Question Of Sentience In Fish, Robert Gerlai Jan 2017

Learning, Memory, Cognition, And The Question Of Sentience In Fish, Robert Gerlai

Animal Sentience

Evolutionarily conserved features have been demonstrated at many levels of biological organization across a variety of species. Evolutionary conservation may apply to complex behavioral phenomena too. It is thus not inconceivable that a form of sentience does exist even in the lowest order vertebrate taxon, the teleosts. How similar it is to human sentience in its level of complexity or in its multidimensional features is a difficult question, especially from an experimental standpoint, given that even the definition of human sentience is debated. Woodruff attempts a Turing-like test of fish sentience, and lists numerous neuroanatomic, neurophysiological and behavioral similarities between ...


Fish Sentience: A Hypothesis Worth Pursuing, José E. Burgos Jan 2017

Fish Sentience: A Hypothesis Worth Pursuing, José E. Burgos

Animal Sentience

Woodruff’s case for fish sentience is intriguing. Though far from ready for final acceptance, it is worth pursuing. The case is philosophically uncontroversial under functionalism and reductive materialism. It is also highly heuristic, as it raises interesting issues for further investigation, such as the neural causation of behavior, the role of Mauthner cells in conditioned avoidance, and whether operant conditioning is constitutive of fish sentience.


Fish Pain: An Inconvenient Truth, Culum Brown May 2016

Fish Pain: An Inconvenient Truth, Culum Brown

Culum Brown, PhD

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 ...


Pain-Capable Neural Substrates May Be Widely Available In The Animal Kingdom, Edgar T. Walters Jan 2016

Pain-Capable Neural Substrates May Be Widely Available In The Animal Kingdom, Edgar T. Walters

Animal Sentience

Neural and behavioral evidence from diverse species indicates that some forms of pain may be generated by coordinated activity in networks far smaller than the cortical pain matrix in mammals. Studies on responses to injury in squid suggest that simplification of the circuitry necessary for conscious pain might be achieved by restricting awareness to very limited information about a noxious event, possibly only to the fact that injury has occurred, ignoring information that is much less important for survival, such as the location of the injury. Some of the neural properties proposed to be critical for conscious pain in mammals ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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?


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.


Ethics, Law, And The Science Of Fish Welfare, Colin Allen Aug 2012

Ethics, Law, And The Science Of Fish Welfare, Colin Allen

Between the Species

Fish farming is one of the fastest growing sectors of agriculture, attracting considerable attention to the question of whether existing farming regulations and animal welfare laws are adequate to deal with the expanding role of fish in feeding humans. The role of fish as model organisms in scientific research is also expanding -- a majority of research biology departments now keep zebrafish for the purposes of genome biology, and they are used widely used for basic neuroscience research. However, due to their diversity and distance from mammalian biology, fish pose difficult questions for the application of legal and ethical principles of ...