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Should Animal Welfare Be Defined in Terms of Consciousness?

Birch, Jonathan (2022) Should Animal Welfare Be Defined in Terms of Consciousness? [Preprint]

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Abstract

Definitions of animal welfare often invoke consciousness or sentience. Marian Stamp Dawkins has
argued that to define animal welfare this way is a mistake. On 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 favour of consciousness-involving definitions.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Birch, Jonathanj.birch2@lse.ac.uk0000-0001-7517-4759
Keywords: animal welfare, consciousness, sentience
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science > Consciousness
Depositing User: Dr Jonathan Birch
Date Deposited: 13 Jun 2022 02:40
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2022 02:40
Item ID: 20727
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science > Consciousness
Date: 10 June 2022
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/20727

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