Dimensions of animal wellbeing


Animal consciousness
Animal welfare science
Judgement bias
Animal ethics
Wellbeing capacity

How to Cite

Dung, L. (2023). Dimensions of animal wellbeing. Philosophy and the Mind Sciences, 4. https://doi.org/10.33735/phimisci.2023.9878


Whether animals fare well or not is of ethical significance. For this reason, their capacity for wellbeing, i.e., how good or bad the lives of animals can go, is of ethical significance as well. I assume that the wellbeing of most animals is mainly determined by their phenomenally conscious experiences. If consciousness differences between species determine wellbeing differences, then the kinds of conscious experience species are capable of may entail that some species systematically (can) have higher or lower wellbeing than others. Then, I argue that not all phenomenally conscious states contribute to wellbeing equally. I discuss which features of consciousness are constituents of wellbeing and which can, for ethical purposes, be ignored. In addition, I scrutinize how much different features of experience contribute to wellbeing and how their presence can be detected empirically. This way, this paper exemplifies a novel consciousness-centered approach for the empirical investigation of animal wellbeing. The strengths and weaknesses of this approach are analyzed. While subsequent research is needed to refine the framework, I already note some preliminary implications for animal ethics.



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