Irina Mikhalevich and Russell Powell, Minds without spines: Evolutionarily inclusive animal ethics


Mikhalevich & Powell (2020) review evidence that invertebrates have the capacity to suffer. If they do, then, according to utilitarians (those advocating “the greatest good for the greatest number”) and deontologists (those advocating rights and corresponding duties), research practices and funding policies should be required to protect invertebrates. But if the evidence is mistaken, then, according to utilitarians and deontologists, our constraints would be unjustified and even morally suspect. Virtue ethicists, in contrast, endorse acting rationally in an effort to cultivate the virtues — even if the basis for our action is mistaken. Virtue ethics seems more compelling than the problematic assumptions and vague requirements of the Animal Sentience Precautionary Principle (Birch 2017).

Author Biography

Jeffrey A. Lockwood, Ph.D. in entomology from Louisiana State University, worked for 15 years as an insect ecologist at the University of Wyoming. In 2003, he metamorphosed into a Professor of Natural Sciences & Humanities in the Department of Philosophy. Website