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


In common with most other authors, Mikhalevich & Powell assume that phenomenal consciousness is a “precondition” of moral standing. Although the evidence they present makes it much more likely than usually thought that arthropods are phenomenally conscious, scepticism in the face of this evidence remains intellectually respectable. I suggest that we best make progress here by rejecting the notion that phenomenal consciousness is necessary for moral standing. Mental states that may lack phenomenal properties can do a lot of work in grounding moral standing, and there is less room for scepticism about these mental states than about phenomenal consciousness.

Author Biography

Neil Levy, Professor of Philosophy, Macquarie University, Sydney, and senior research fellow, Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, University of Oxford, is the author of 7 books, including Consciousness and Moral Responsibility (Oxford University Press). Website