Harrison on Animal Pain
House (Ian)
Source: Philosophy Vol. 66, No. 257, Jul., 1991, pp. 376-379
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Conclusion

  1. Throughout his paper, Harrison writes in terms of a mind-body split and locates pain in the mind in order to make its ascription to animals less plausible. Not everyone, one may mildly remark, will share his confidence in dualism or his belief that Descartes is part of the answer rather than a good deal of the problem.
  2. In conclusion, Harrison suggests, we should treat animals well because they are aesthetically pleasing machines, they form part of a delicately balanced eco-system to which we too belong, and they are means by which we can learn and practise kindness to human beings.
  3. If animals do not feel pain, at least in the sense of experiencing states which are unpleasant to them, then such arguments would have some force. Since, however, there are good reasons to think that animals do feel pain and no good reasons to think that they do not, we may feel that exclusive concentration on these aesthetic and anthropocentric considerations is likely to reduce and pervert our moral sympathies rather than to extend and refine them.


Rejection of "Harrison (Peter) - Do Animals Feel Pain?".

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