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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 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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  • The Origins of Consciousness or the War of the Five Dimensions.Walter Veit - 2022 - Biological Theory 17 (4):276-291.
    The goal of this article is to break down the dimensions of consciousness, attempt to reverse engineer their evolutionary function, and make sense of the origins of consciousness by breaking off those dimensions that are more likely to have arisen later. A Darwinian approach will allow us to revise the philosopher’s concept of consciousness away from a single “thing,” an all-or-nothing quality, and towards a concept of phenomenological complexity that arose out of simple valenced states. Finally, I will offer support (...)
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  • Better to be a Pig Dissatisfied than a Plant Satisfied.Ethan C. Terrill & Walter Veit - 2024 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 37 (4):1-17.
    In the last two decades, there has been a blossoming literature aiming to counter the neglect of plant capacities. In their recent paper, Miguel Segundo-Ortin and Paco Calvo begin by providing an overview of the literature to then question the mistaken assumptions that led to plants being immediately rejected as candidates for sentience. However, it appears that many responses to their arguments are based on the implicit conviction that because animals have far more sophisticated cognition and agency than plants, and (...)
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  • Shifting attitudes on animal ‘ownership’: Ethical implications for welfare research and practice terminology.Julia Sophie Lyn Henning, Ana Goncalves Costa & Eduardo Jose Fernandez - 2023 - Research Ethics 19 (4):409-418.
    The roles companion animals have played in our lives has dramatically changed over the last few decades. At the same time, the terms we use to describe both the people and animals in these human-animal relationships have also changed. One example includes the use of the terms ‘owner’ or ‘guardian’ to refer to the human caretaker. While preferences by society appear to indicate increased interest in referring to companion animal caretakers as ‘guardians’, others have cautioned against its use or attempted (...)
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  • Towards a Comparative Study of Animal Consciousness.Walter Veit - 2022 - Biological Theory 17 (4):292-303.
    In order to develop a true biological science of consciousness, we have to remove humans from the center of reference and develop a bottom-up comparative study of animal minds, as Donald Griffin intended with his call for a “cognitive ethology.” In this article, I make use of the pathological complexity thesis (Veit 2022a, b, c ) to show that we can firmly ground a comparative study of animal consciousness by drawing on the resources of state-based behavioral life history theory. By (...)
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  • Studying Animal Feelings: Integrating Sentience Research and Welfare Science.Heather Browning & Walter Veit - 2023 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 30 (7):196-222.
    The goal of this article is to bring together two fields of research — animal sentience research and animal welfare science — with the aim of advancing our understanding of animal emotions, especially their subjectively experienced or 'felt' component (feelings). While these two research areas share a common interest in animal feelings, they have had surprisingly little interaction. In this paper, we make a call for the integration of these fields and outline some of the ways in which work done (...)
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  • Grušovnik, Tomaž, Reingard Spannring, and Karen Lykke Syse, eds. Environmental and Animal Abuse Denial: Averting Our Gaze. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2021.Vicky Protopapadaki - 2024 - Conatus 9 (1):203-225.
    Environmental and Animal Abuse Denial: Averting Our Gaze edited by Tomaž Grušovnik, Reingard Spannring, and Karen Lykke Syse, stands as a groundbreaking work that delves into the intricate phenomenon of denialism, a critical barrier in addressing ecological crises and advancing animal rights. Through its compelling interdisciplinary lens, the book dissects the psychological, sociocultural, and political underpinnings of denial, challenging entrenched anthropocentric views. This review provides a critical analysis of the book and highlights its pivotal role in bridging theoretical ethics with (...)
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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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