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


Whether or not arthropods are sentient, they can have moral standing. Appeals to sentience are not necessary and retard progress in human treatment of other species, including invertebrates. Other increasingly well-documented aspects of invertebrate minds are pertinent to their welfare. Even if arthropods are not sentient, they can be agents whose goals—and therefore interests—can be frustrated. This kind of agency is sufficient for moral status and requires that we consider their welfare.

Author Biography

Nicolas Delon teaches philosophy and environmental studies. His research focuses on the moral status of animals. He’s also interested in agency, mind, food, and Nietzsche. Website

Peter F. Cook is a comparative psychologist and neuroscientist focused on brain connectivity and ecologically valid study design. He studies memory, rhythm, affect, and behavioral flexibility, mostly in carnivores. Website

Gordon Bauer taught at New College of Florida for 26 years. He studies animal senses, cognition, and behavior in species including manatees, bottlenose dolphins, humpback whales, and sea turtles. Website

Heidi Harley teaches cognitive psychology and comparative cognition. Her research focuses on cognitive processes in dolphins. Website