This project aims to address the question about which animals feel pain by framing multiple current debates into a single narrative focused on the fundamental principle in evolutionary biology that structure determines function. This project is significant because the question as to whether or not an animal (such as a fish or octopus) feels pain is highly contentious across both science and philosophy and arguments are plagued by simplistic anecdotes and poor analogies. The ramifications of this confusion for animal welfare and food security are considerable. Expected outcomes include the development of shared principles of reasoning and structural constraints on the attribution of pain that promise to move the debate towards consensus.

Project run in collaboration with Professor Brian Key, UQ School of Biomedical Sciences.

Project members

Deborah Brown

School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry
UQ Critical Thinking Project