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


In their target article, Mikhalevich & Powell (M&P) argue that we should extend moral protection to arthropods. In this commentary, we show that there are some unforeseen obstacles to applying the sort of individualistic welfare-based ethics that M&P have in mind to certain arthropods, namely, insects. These obstacles have to do with the fact that there are often many more individuals involved in our dealings with insects than our ethical theories anticipate, and also with the fact that, in some sense, some insects count as more than an individual and, in another sense, they sometimes count as less than an individual.

Author Biography

Susana Monsó is a philosopher working at the intersection of animal cognition and animal ethics. She is currently a post-doctoral research fellow at the Unit of Ethics and Human-Animal Studies of the Messerli Research Institute and leads a Lise Meitner project on Animals and the Concept of Death. Website

Antonio J. Osuna-Mascaró holds a PhD in Paleontology from the University of Granada and is currently a PhD candidate at the Unit of Comparative Cognition of the Messerli Research Institute, where he is working on unveiling the tooling abilities of Goffin’s cockatoos. Website