Mikhalevich & Powell (2020) argue that it is wrong, both scientifically and morally, to dismiss the evidence for sentience in invertebrates. They do not offer any examples, however, of how their welfare should be considered or improved. We draw on animal welfare science to suggest some ways that would not be excessively demanding.
This paper introduces and defends an account of model-based science that I dub model pluralism. I argue that despite a growing awareness in the philosophy of science literature of the multiplicity, diversity, and richness of models and modeling practices, more radical conclusions follow from this recognition than have previously been inferred. Going against the tendency within the literature to generalize from single models, I explicate and defend the following two core theses: any successful analysis of models must target sets of (...) models, their multiplicity of functions within science, and their scientific context and history and for almost any aspect x of phenomenon y, scientists require multiple models to achieve scientific goal z. (shrink)
Imagine a world where everyone is healthy, intelligent, long living and happy. Intuitively this seems wonderful albeit unrealistic. However, recent scienti c breakthroughs in genetic engineering, namely CRISPR/Cas bring the question into public discourse, how the genetic enhancement of humans should be evaluated morally. In 2001, when preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) and in vitro fertilisation (IVF), enabled parents to select between multiple embryos, Julian Savulescu introduced the principle of procreative bene cence (PPB), stating that parents have the obligations to choose (...) the child that is expected to have the best life. In this paper I argue that accepting the PPB and the consequentialist principle (CP) that two acts with the same consequences are morally on par, commits one to accepting the parental obligation of genetically enhancing one's children. (shrink)
For decades Darwinian processes were framed in the form of the Lewontin conditions: reproduction, variation and differential reproductive success were taken to be sufficient and necessary. Since Buss and the work of Maynard Smith and Szathmary biologists were eager to explain the major transitions from individuals to groups forming new individuals subject to Darwinian mechanisms themselves. Explanations that seek to explain the emergence of a new level of selection, however, cannot employ properties that would already have to exist on that (...) level for selection to take place. Recently, Hammerschmidt et al. provided a ‘bottom-up’ experiment corroborating much of the theoretical work Paul Rainey has done since 2003 on how cheats can play an important role in the emergence of new Darwinian individuals on a multicellular level. The aims of this paper are twofold. First, I argue for a conceptual shift in perspective from seeing cheats as a ‘problem’ that needs to be solved for multi-cellularity to evolve to the very ‘key’ for the evolution of multicellularity. Secondly, I illustrate the consequences of this shift for both theoretical and experimental work, arguing for a more prominent role of ecology and the multi-level selection framework within the debate then they currently occupy. (shrink)
We welcome Mikhalevich & Powell’s (2020) (M&P) call for a more “‘inclusive”’ animal ethics, but we think their proposed shift toward a moral framework that privileges false positives over false negatives will require radically revising the paradigm assumption in animal research: that there is a clear line to be drawn between sentient beings that are part of our moral community and nonsentient beings that are not.
One of the biggest ethical issues in animal agriculture is that of the welfare of animals at the end of their lives, during the process of slaughter. Much work in animal welfare science is focussed on finding humane ways to transport and slaughter animals, to minimise the harm done during this process. In this paper, we take a philosophical look at what it means to perform slaughter humanely, beyond simply reducing pain and suffering during the slaughter process. In particular, we (...) will examine the issue of the harms of deprivation inflicted in ending life prematurely, as well as shape of life concerns and the ethical implications of inflicting these harms at the end of life, without the potential for future offsetting through positive experiences. We will argue that though these considerations may mean that no slaughter is in a deep sense truly ‘humane’, this should not undermine the importance of further research and development to ensure that while the practice continues, animal welfare harms are minimised as far as possible. (shrink)
What is it like to be a bat? What is it like to be sick? These two questions are much closer to one another than has hitherto been acknowledged. Indeed, both raise a number of related, albeit very complex, philosophical problems. In recent years, the phenomenology of health and disease has become a major topic in bioethics and the philosophy of medicine, owing much to the work of Havi Carel (2007, 2011, 2018). Surprisingly little attention, however, has been given to (...) the phenomenology of animal health and suffering. This omission shall be remedied here, laying the groundwork for the phenomenological evaluation of animal health and suffering. (shrink)
Since Boorse [Philos Sci 44:542–573, 1977] published his paper “Health as a theoretical concept” one of the most lively debates within philosophy of medicine has been on the question of whether health and disease are in some sense ‘objective’ and ‘value-free’ or ‘subjective’ and ‘value-laden’. Due to the apparent ‘failure’ of pure naturalist, constructivist, or normativist accounts, much in the recent literature has appealed to more conciliatory approaches or so-called ‘hybrid accounts’ of health and disease. A recent paper by Matthewson (...) and Griffiths [J Med Philos 42:447–466, 2017], however, may bear the seeds for the revival of purely naturalist approach to health and disease. In this paper, I defend their idea of Biological Normativity against recent criticism by Schwartz [J Med Philos Forum Bioethics Philos Med 42:485–502, 2017] and hope to help it flower into a revival of naturalist approaches in the philosophy of medicine. (shrink)
As scientific progress approaches the point where significant human enhancements could become reality, debates arise whether such technologies should be made available. This paper evaluates the widespread concern that human enhancements will inevitably accentuate existing inequality and analyzes whether prohibition is the optimal public policy to avoid this outcome. Beyond these empirical questions, this paper considers whether the inequality objection is a sound argument against the set of enhancements most threatening to equality, i.e., cognitive enhancements. In doing so, I shall (...) argue that cognitive enhancements can be embraced wholeheartedly, for three separate reasons. However, though the inequality objection does not sufficiently support the conclusion that cognitive enhancements should be prohibited, it raises several concerns for optimal policy design that shall be addressed here. (shrink)
This paper constitutes a radical departure from the existing philosophical literature on models, modeling-practices, and model-based science. I argue that the various entities and practices called 'models' and 'modeling-practices' are too diverse, too context-sensitive, and serve too many scientific purposes and roles, as to allow for a general philosophical analysis. From this recognition an alternative view emerges that I shall dub model anarchism.
Animal welfare has a long history of disregard. While in recent decades the study of animal welfare has become a scientific discipline of its own, the difficulty of measuring animal welfare can still be vastly underestimated. There are three primary theories, or perspectives, on animal welfare - biological functioning, natural living and affective state. These come with their own diverse methods of measurement, each providing a limited perspective on an aspect of welfare. This paper describes a perspectival pluralist account of (...) animal welfare, in which all three theoretical perspectives and their multiple measures are necessary to understand this complex phenomenon and provide a full picture of animal welfare. This in turn will offer us a better understanding of perspectivism and pluralism itself. (shrink)
If one had to identify the biggest change within the philosophical tradition in the 21st century, it would certainly be the rapid rise of experimental philosophy to address differences in intuitions about concepts. Yet, it is within the philosophy of medicine that one particular conceptual debate has overshadowed all others: the long-standing dispute between so-called ‘naturalists’ and ‘normativists’ about the concepts of health and disease. It is, therefore, surprising that the philosophy of medicine has, so far, not drawn on the (...) tools of XPhi. I shall use this opportunity to defend and advocate the use of empirical methods to inform and advance this and other debates within the philosophy of medicine. (shrink)
This paper is a response to a recent paper by Bobier and Omelianchuk in which they argue that the critics of Giubilini and Minerva’s defence of infanticide fail to adequately justify a moral difference at birth. They argue that such arguments would lead to an intuitively less plausible position: that late-term abortions are permissible, thus creating a dilemma for those who seek to argue that birth matters. I argue that the only way to resolve this dilemma, is to bite the (...) naturalist bullet and accept that the intuitively plausible idea that birth constitutes a morally relevant event is simply mistaken and biologically misinformed. (shrink)
While we agree in broad strokes with the characterisation of rationalization as a “useful fiction,” we think that Fiery Cushman's claim remains ambiguous in two crucial respects: the reality of beliefs and desires, that is, the fictional status of folk-psychological entities and the degree to which they should be understood as useful. Our aim is to clarify both points and explicate the rationale of rationalization.
Since Friedrich Nietzsche, philosophers have grappled with the question of how to respond to nihilism. Nihilism, often seen as a derogative term for a ‘life-denying’, destructive and perhaps most of all depressive philosophy is what drove existentialists to write about the right response to a meaningless universe devoid of purpose. This latter diagnosis is what I shall refer to as existential nihilism, the denial of meaning and purpose, a view that not only existentialists but also a long line of philosophers (...) in the empiricist tradition ascribe to. The absurd stems from the fact that though life is without meaning and the universe devoid of purpose, man still longs for meaning, significance and purpose. Inspired by Bojack Horseman and Rick and Morty, two modern existentialist masterpieces, this paper explores the various alternatives that have been offered in how to respond to the absurd, or as Albert Camus puts it; the only “really serious philosophical problem” and concludes that the problem is compatible with a naturalistic world-view, thereby genuine and transcending existentialism. (shrink)
Recognizing the variety of dystopian science-fiction novels and movies, from Brave New World to Gattaca and more recently Star Trek, on the future of humanity in which eugenic policies are implemented, genetic engineering has been getting a bad reputation for valid but arguably, mostly historical reasons. In this paper, I critically examine the claim from Mehlman & Botkin (1998: ch. 6) that human enhancement will inevitably accentuate existing inequality in a free market and analyze whether prohibition is the optimal public (...) policy for this objection as egalitarians might advise (Lamont and Favor, 2014). (shrink)
In this essay, we discuss Simona Ginsburg and Eva Jablonka’s The Evolution of the Sensitive Soul from an interdisciplinary perspective. Constituting perhaps the longest treatise on the evolution of consciousness, Ginsburg and Jablonka unite their expertise in neuroscience and biology to develop a beautifully Darwinian account of the dawning of subjective experience. Though it would be impossible to cover all its content in a short book review, here we provide a critical evaluation of their two key ideas—the role of Unlimited (...) Associative Learning in the evolution of, and detection of, consciousness and a metaphysical claim about consciousness as a mode of being—in a manner that will hopefully overcome some of the initial resistance of potential readers to tackle a book of this length. (shrink)
The keeping of captive animals in zoos and aquariums has long been controversial. Many take freedom to be a crucial part of animal welfare and, on these grounds, criticise all forms of animal captivity as harmful to animal welfare, regardless of their provisions. Here, we analyse what it might mean for freedom to matter to welfare, distinguishing between the role of freedom as an intrinsic good, valued for its own sake and an instrumental good, its value arising from the increased (...) ability to provide other important resources. Too often, this debate is conducted through trading intuitions about what matters for animals. We argue for the need for the collection of comparative welfare data about wild and captive animals in order to settle the issue. Discovering more about the links between freedom and animal welfare will then allow for more empirically informed ethical decisions regarding captive animals. (shrink)
This paper addresses what we consider to be the most pressing challenge for the emerging science of consciousness: the measurement problem of consciousness. That is, by what methods can we determine the presence of and properties of consciousness? Most methods are currently developed through evaluation of the presence of consciousness in humans and here we argue that there are particular problems in application of these methods to non-human cases - what we call the indicator validity problem and the extrapolation problem. (...) The first is a problem with the application of indicators developed using the differences in conscious and unconscious processing in humans to the identification of other conscious vs. non-conscious organisms or systems. The second is a problem in extrapolating any indicators developed in humans or other organisms to artificial systems. However, while pressing ethical concerns add urgency in the attribution of consciousness and its attendant moral status to non-human animals and intelligent machines, we cannot wait for certainty and we advocate the use of a precautionary principle to avoid doing unintentional harm. We also intend that the considerations and limitations discussed in this paper can be used to further analyse and refine the methods of consciousness science with the hope that one day we may be able to solve the measurement problem of consciousness. (shrink)
The broad spectrum revolution brought greater dependence on skill and knowledge, and more demanding, often social, choices. We adopt Sterelny's account of how cooperative foraging paid the costs associated with longer dependency, and transformed the problem of skill learning. Scaffolded learning can facilitate cognitive control including suppression, whereas scaffolded exchange and trade, including inter-temporal exchange, can help develop resolve.
In a recent special issue dedicated to Dani Rodrik’s influential monograph Economics Rules, Grüne-Yanoff and Marchionni raise a potentially damning problem for Rodrik’s suggestion that progress in economics should be understood and measured laterally, by a continuous expansion of new models. They argue that this could lead to an “embarrassment of riches”, i.e. the rapid expansion of our model library to such an extent that we become unable to choose between the available models, and thus needs to be solved to (...) make ‘model pluralism’ viable. Drawing on Veit’s ‘model pluralism’ account, this paper argues that model pluralism as a thesis about the relationship between science and nature undermines the very idea of a general model selection framework for policy making. (shrink)
Metaphors abound in both the arts and in science. Due to the traditional division between these enterprises as one concerned with aesthetic values and the other with epistemic values there has unfortunately been very little work on the relation between metaphors in the arts and sciences. In this paper, we aim to remedy this omission by defending a continuity thesis regarding the function of metaphor across both domains, that is, metaphors fulfill any of the same functions in science as they (...) do in the arts. Importantly, this involves the claim that metaphors in arts as well as science have both epistemic and aesthetic functions. (shrink)
Imagine a world where everyone is healthy, intelligent, long living and happy. Intuitively this seems wonderful, albeit unrealistic. However, recent scientific developments in genetic engineering, namely CRISPR/Cas bring the question into public discourse, how the genetic enhancement of humans should be evaluated morally.