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If I Could Talk to the Animals: Measuring Subjective Animal Welfare

Dissertation, Australian National University (2019)

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  1. Perspectival pluralism for animal welfare.Walter Veit & Heather Browning - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (1):1-14.
    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 (...)
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  • Experimental philosophy of medicine and the concepts of health and disease.Walter Veit - 2020 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics:1-18.
    If one had to identify the biggest change within the philosophical tradition in the twenty-first century, it would certainly be the rapid rise of experimental philosophy to address differences in intuitions about concepts. It is, therefore, surprising that the philosophy of medicine has so far not drawn on the tools of experimental philosophy in the context of a particular conceptual debate that has overshadowed all others in the field: the long-standing dispute between so-called naturalists and normativists about the concepts of (...)
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  • Experimental philosophy of medicine and the concepts of health and disease.Walter Veit - 2020 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 42 (3):169-186.
    If one had to identify the biggest change within the philosophical tradition in the twenty-first century, it would certainly be the rapid rise of experimental philosophy to address differences in intuitions about concepts. It is, therefore, surprising that the philosophy of medicine has so far not drawn on the tools of experimental philosophy in the context of a particular conceptual debate that has overshadowed all others in the field: the long-standing dispute between so-called naturalists and normativists about the concepts of (...)
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  • Biological normativity: a new hope for naturalism?Walter Veit - 2021 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 24 (2):291-301.
    Since Boorse [Philos Sci 44(4):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 (...)
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  • Animal welfare: science without hard problems: Marian Stamp Dawkins: The science of animal welfare: understanding what animals want. [REVIEW]Nicolas Delon - 2021 - Metascience 30 (3):463-466.
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  • Welfare comparisons within and across species.Heather Browning - 2023 - Philosophical Studies 180 (2):529-551.
    One of the biggest problems in applications of animal welfare science is our ability to make comparisons between different individuals, both within and across species. Although welfare science provides methods for measuring the welfare of individual animals, there’s no established method for comparing measures between individuals. In this paper I diagnose this problem as one of underdetermination—there are multiple conclusions given the data, arising from two sources of variation that we cannot distinguish: variation in the underlying target variable (welfare experience) (...)
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  • The Measurement Problem of Consciousness.Heather Browning & Walter Veit - 2020 - Philosophical Topics 48 (1):85-108.
    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 nonhuman cases—what we call the indicator validity problem and the extrapolation problem. The first (...)
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  • Positive Wild Animal Welfare.Heather Browning & Walter Veit - 2023 - Biology and Philosophy 38 (2):1-19.
    With increasing attention given to wild animal welfare and ethics, it has become common to depict animals in the wild as existing in a state dominated by suffering. This assumption is now taken on board by many and frames much of the current discussion; but needs a more critical assessment, both theoretically and empirically. In this paper, we challenge the primary lines of evidence employed in support of wild animal suffering, to provide an alternative picture in which wild animals may (...)
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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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  • More Than Zombies: Considering the Animal Subject in De-Extinction.Heather Browning & Walter Veit - 2022 - Ethics, Policy and Environment 25 (2):121-124.
    Katz (2022) provides a range of arguments drawn from the environmental philosophy literature to criticize the conceptualisation and practice of de-extinction. The discussion is almost completely de...
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  • Evolutionary biology meets consciousness: essay review of Simona Ginsburg and Eva Jablonka’s The Evolution of the Sensitive Soul.Heather Browning & Walter Veit - 2021 - Biology and Philosophy 36 (1):1-11.
    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 (...)
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  • Does utilitarianism need a rethink? Review of Louis Narens and Brian Skyrms' The Pursuit of Happiness.Heather Browning & Walter Veit - forthcoming - Tandf: Journal of Economic Methodology:1-5.
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  • Animal Sentience.Heather Browning & Jonathan Birch - 2022 - Philosophy Compass 17 (5):e12822.
    ‘Sentience’ sometimes refers to the capacity for any type of subjective experience, and sometimes to the capacity to have subjective experiences with a positive or negative valence, such as pain or pleasure. We review recent controversies regarding sentience in fish and invertebrates and consider the deep methodological challenge posed by these cases. We then present two ways of responding to the challenge. In a policy-making context, precautionary thinking can help us treat animals appropriately despite continuing uncertainty about their sentience. In (...)
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  • Assessing measures of animal welfare.Heather Browning - 2022 - Biology and Philosophy 37 (4):1-24.
    There are many decision contexts in which we require accurate information on animal welfare, in ethics, management, and policy. Unfortunately, many of the methods currently used for estimating animal welfare in these contexts are subjective and unreliable, and thus unlikely to be accurate. In this paper, I look at how we might apply principled methods from animal welfare science to arrive at more accurate scores, which will then help us in making the best decisions for animals. I construct and apply (...)
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  • How can we know whether fish feel pain? Epistemology of the scientific study of fish sentience.Victor Duran-Le Peuch - 2021 - Dissertation,
    I start by defining sentience and giving an analysis of the epistemological problems that plague its scientific study; this consists mainly in justifying that the attribution of sentience is underdetermined by the data. Second I show that as a result of this situation of underdetermination, most of the types of arguments used to infer sentience from the data are inconclusive and lead to a stalemate. Third, I argue that the stalemates arise from a foundationalist epistemology which needlessly leads to skeptical (...)
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  • Extending animal welfare science to include wild animals.Walter Veit & Heather Browning - forthcoming - Animal Sentience:1-4.
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