Sunday, March 16, 2003

Animal Liberation ( Part 3)
In spite of this approximate consensus on the matter, there may be some people who have their doubts. I believe these people are either philosophers or that they are having a philosophical looking to the issue, and if I am right here , it shows that we regard such inference as justifiable in the case of humans. Still , since I used suffering as the starting point of the discussion, I think it is worth asking what grounds we have for attributing suffering to other animals. Pain cannot be observed itself, feelings are not observable, all we can do is to track them by their signs ; their observable signs. So no observation of pain’s signs,whether behavioral, such as writhing or screaming or physiological or neurological recordings, are observations of pain itself. We can only infer that someone else is feeling pain from various external indications. So the question that arises is that: is there any reason why the same inference should be unjustifiable for other animals? We can observe nearly all the external signs which lead us to infer pain in humans, in other species too, especially higher animals such a mammals and birds. Most of the behavioral signs like writhing, yelping, or other forms of calling, attempts to avoid the source of pain and others are also present in animals.There is only one behavioral sign that most of the animals lack, which is a developed language. I dealt with it lightly in the second part when I gave the examples of infants and speechless persons.
(posted by Farid)

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