Towards welfare biology: Evolutionary economics of animal consciousness and suffering [Book Review]

Biology and Philosophy 10 (3):255-285 (1995)

Abstract

Welfare biology is the study of living things and their environment with respect to their welfare. Despite difficulties of ascertaining and measuring welfare and relevancy to normative issues, welfare biology is a positive science. Evolutionary economics and population dynamics are used to help answer basic questions in welfare biology : Which species are affective sentients capable of welfare? Do they enjoy positive or negative welfare? Can their welfare be dramatically increased? Under plausible axioms, all conscious species are plastic and all plastic species are conscious. More complex niches favour the evolution of more rational species. Evolutionary economics also supports the common-sense view that individual sentients failing to survive to mate suffer negative welfare. A kind of God-made fairness between species is also unexpectedly found. The contrast between growth maximization, average welfare, and total welfare maximization is discussed. It is shown that welfare could be increased without even sacrificing numbers. Since the long-term reduction in animal suffering depends on scientific advances, strict restrictions on animal experimentation may be counter-productive to animal welfare

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Citations of this work

Field Deaths in Plant Agriculture.Bob Fischer & Andy Lamey - 2018 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 31 (4):409-428.
Wild Animal Suffering is Intractable.Nicolas Delon & Duncan Purves - 2018 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 31 (2):239-260.
Animal Rights and the Problem of R-Strategists.Kyle Johannsen - 2017 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 20 (2):333-45.
Moral Considerability and the Argument From Relevance.Oscar Horta - 2018 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 31 (3):369-388.
The Case for Welfare Biology.Asher A. Soryl, Mike R. King, Andrew J. Moore & Philip J. Seddon - 2021 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 34 (2):1-25.

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