Non-Human Animals Feel Pain in a Morally Relevant Sense

Philosophia 51 (1):329-336 (2022)
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Abstract

In a recent article in this journal, Calum Miller skillfully and creatively argues for the counterintuitive view that there aren’t any good reasons to believe that non-human animals feel pain in a morally relevant sense. By Miller’s lights, such reasons are either weak in their own right or they also favor the view that non-human animals don’t feel morally relevant pain. In this paper, I explain why Miller’s view is mistaken. In particular, I sketch a very reasonable abductive argument for the conclusion that non-human animals feel morally relevant pain. This argument shows that, even in the face of Miller’s moderate skepticism about whether non-human animals feel pain in a morally relevant sense, it’s still more epistemically reasonable to believe that non-human animals feel pain in a morally relevant sense than not. In which case, I conclude that Miller has failed to show that there aren’t any good reasons to believe that non-human animals don’t feel pain in a morally relevant sense that don’t also count in favor of the view that non-human animals don’t feel morally relevant pain.

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James Simpson
University of Florida

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References found in this work

The Abductivist Reply to Skepticism.James R. Beebe - 2009 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 79 (3):605-636.
Wild Animal Suffering is Intractable.Nicolas Delon & Duncan Purves - 2018 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 31 (2):239-260.
Explanationism: Defended on All Sides.Kevin Mccain - 2015 - Logos and Episteme 6 (3):333-349.
The mere considerability of animals.Mylan Engel Jr - 2001 - Acta Analytica 16:89-108.

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