Biology and Philosophy 34 (4):40 (2019)

Ng :255–285, 1995. models the evolutionary dynamics underlying the existence of suffering and enjoyment and concludes that there is likely to be more suffering than enjoyment in nature. In this paper, we find an error in Ng’s model that, when fixed, negates the original conclusion. Instead, the model offers only ambiguity as to whether suffering or enjoyment predominates in nature. We illustrate the dynamics around suffering and enjoyment with the most plausible parameters. In our illustration, we find surprising results: the rate of failure to reproduce can improve or worsen average welfare depending on other characteristics of a species. Our illustration suggests that for organisms with more intense conscious experiences, the balance of enjoyment and suffering may lean more toward suffering. We offer some suggestions for empirical study of wild animal welfare. We conclude by noting that recent writings on wild animal welfare should be revised based on this correction to have a somewhat less pessimistic view of nature.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10539-019-9692-0
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 71,259
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Facing Up to the Problem of Consciousness.D. J. Chalmers - 1996 - Toward a Science of Consciousness:5-28.

View all 15 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Consequentialism and Nonhuman Animals.Tyler John & Jeff Sebo - 2020 - In Douglas W. Portmore (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Consequentialism. New York, USA: Oxford University Press. pp. 564-591.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Animal Suffering: An Evolutionary Approach.Gill Aitken - 2008 - Environmental Values 17 (2):165-180.
Animal Welfare at Home and in the Wild.Kyle Johannsen - 2016 - Animal Sentience 1 (7/10).
Is Animal Suffering Evil? A Thomistic Perspective.B. Kyle Keltz - 2020 - Journal of Value Inquiry 54 (1):1-19.
The Relationship Between Workers and Animals in the Pork Industry: A Shared Suffering.Jocelyne Porcher - 2011 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 24 (1):3-17.
The Asymmetrical Contributions of Pleasure and Pain to Animal Welfare.Adam J. Shriver - 2014 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 23 (2):152-162.
Wild Animal Suffering is Intractable.Nicolas Delon & Duncan Purves - 2018 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 31 (2):239-260.


Added to PP index

Total views
61 ( #188,885 of 2,518,477 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
11 ( #66,500 of 2,518,477 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes