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Should animal welfare be defined in terms of consciousness?

Birch, Jonathan ORCID: 0000-0001-7517-4759 (2022) Should animal welfare be defined in terms of consciousness? Philosophy of Science, 89 (5). 1114 – 1123. ISSN 0270-8647

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Identification Number: 10.1017/psa.2022.59


Definitions of animal welfare often invoke consciousness or sentience. Marian Stamp Dawkins has argued that to define animal welfare this way is a mistake. In Dawkins’s alternative view, an animal with good welfare is one that is healthy and “has what it wants.” The dispute highlights a source of strain on the concept of animal welfare: consciousness-involving definitions are better able to capture the normative significance of welfare, whereas consciousness-free definitions facilitate the validation of welfare indicators. I reflect on how the field should respond to this strain, ultimately recommending against splitting the concept and in favor of consciousness-involving definitions.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2022 The Author
Divisions: Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Date Deposited: 10 Jun 2022 09:57
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 03:46

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