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


All animal species have adapted for survival and no species is superior overall. For cognitive capacities and sentience, invertebrates such as the octopus, although quite unlike vertebrates, can achieve similar performance levels. So can other invertebrates with small brains; hence they too, as sentient beings, deserve moral consideration from humans. How are we to identify these species? Only though a detailed analysis of their behavior. The decision, which is a moral judgment, depends on biological knowledge that still needs to be acquired.

Author Biography

Georges Chapouthier, Emeritus Research Director, French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), is the author of many articles and books devoted to animal behavior and animal rights. Website