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


Mikhalevich & Powell argue that the exclusion of the vast majority of arthropods from moral standing is unwarranted, particularly given the purported evidence for cognition and sentience in these organisms. The implied association between consciousness and moral standing is questionable and their assumption that rich forms of cognition and flexible behavior are dependent on phenomenal consciousness needs to be reconsidered in light of current neuroscientific evidence. We conclude by proposing a neural algorithmic approach for deciphering whether organisms are capable of subjective experience.

Author Biography

Brian Key is Professor and head of the Neurophilosophy Lab at the University of Queensland. He has extensive experience in comparative neurology employing model organisms (fish, frogs and rodents). He is currently co-funded with Deborah Brown by an Australian Research Council large grant to investigate “Towards Closure on the Animal Pain DebateWebsite

Deborah Brown is Professor of Philosophy and Director of the UQ Critical Thinking Project. She has published widely in the history of philosophy and philosophy of mind and is currently working with Brian Key on an Australian Research Council project, "Towards Closure on the Animal Pain Debate." Website