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  1. Preserving the Normative Significance of Sentience.Leonard Dung - 2024 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 31 (1):8-30.
    According to an orthodox view, the capacity for conscious experience (sentience) is relevant to the distribution of moral status and value. However, physicalism about consciousness might threaten the normative relevance of sentience. According to the indeterminacy argument, sentience is metaphysically indeterminate while indeterminacy of sentience is incompatible with its normative relevance. According to the introspective argument (by François Kammerer), the unreliability of our conscious introspection undercuts the justification for belief in the normative relevance of consciousness. I defend the normative relevance (...)
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  • Why Canada’s Artificial Intelligence and Data Act Needs “Mental Data”.Dylan J. White & Joshua August Skorburg - 2023 - American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 14 (2):101-103.
    By introducing the concept of “mental data,” Palermos (2023) highlights an underappreciated aspect of data ethics that policymakers would do well to heed. Sweeping artificial intelligence (AI) legi...
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  • Wild Animal Ethics: A Freedom-Based Approach.Eze Paez - 2023 - Ethics, Policy and Environment 26 (2):159-178.
    On expectation, most wild animals have lives of net suffering due to naturogenic causes. Some have claimed that concern for their well-being gives us reasons to intervene in nature on their behalf. Against this, it has been said that many interventions to assist wild animals would be wrong, even if successful, because they would violate their freedom. According to the Freedom-based Approach I defend in this paper, this view is misguided. Concern for wild animal freedom does indeed gives us reasons (...)
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  • Vulnerability and the Ethics of Environmental Enhancement.Catia Faria - 2023 - Ethics, Policy and Environment 26 (2):179-197.
    In this paper, following the taxonomy developed by Mackenzie, Rogers and Dodds of different sources and states of vulnerability, I claim that wild animals are inherently and situationally vulnerable. This is because they can experience suffering as a response to certain internal and external states and have a high exposure to, and a low capacity to cope with, harmful natural processes. From this it follows that we have a moral obligation to support and assist individuals who are occurrently vulnerable and (...)
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  • Why the Epistemic Objection Against Using Sentience as Criterion of Moral Status is Flawed.Leonard Dung - 2022 - Science and Engineering Ethics 28 (6):1-15.
    According to a common view, sentience is necessary and sufficient for moral status. In other words, whether a being has intrinsic moral relevance is determined by its capacity for conscious experience. The _epistemic objection_ derives from our profound uncertainty about sentience. According to this objection, we cannot use sentience as a _criterion_ to ascribe moral status in practice because we won’t know in the foreseeable future which animals and AI systems are sentient while ethical questions regarding the possession of moral (...)
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  • Pain in Pleocyemata, but not in Dendrobranchiata?Gary Comstock - 2022 - Animal Sentience 7.
    Crump et al.’s contribution to assessing whether decapods feel pain raises an important question: Is pain distributed unevenly across the order? The case for pain appears stronger in Pleocyemata than in Dendrobranchiata. Some studies report pain avoidance behaviors in Dendrobranchiata (Penaeidae) shrimp, but further studies are needed to determine whether the chemicals used are acting as analgesics to relieve pain, or as soporifics to reduce overall alertness. If the latter, the most farmed shrimp species may not require the same level (...)
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  • Optimism about Measuring Animal Feelings.Heather Browning & Walter Veit - 2023 - Asian Bioethics Review 15 (3):351-355.
    While animal sentience research has flourished in the last decade, scepticism about our ability to accurately measure animal feelings has unfortunately remained fairly common. Here, we argue that evolutionary considerations about the functions of feelings will give us more reason for optimism and outline a method for how this might be achieved.
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  • When Is a Brain Organoid a Sentience Candidate?Jonathan Birch - forthcoming - Molecular Psychology.
    It would be unwise to dismiss the possibility of human brain organoids developing sentience. However, scepticism about this idea is appropriate when considering current organoids. It is a point of consensus that a brainstem-dead human is not sentient, and current organoids lack a functioning brainstem. There are nonetheless troubling early warning signs, suggesting organoid research may create forms of sentience in the near future. To err on the side of caution, researchers with very different views about the neural basis of (...)
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