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Philosophical Studies

, Volume 176, Issue 9, pp 2411–2428 | Cite as

Fish and microchips: on fish pain and multiple realization

  • Matthias MichelEmail author
Article

Abstract

Opponents to consciousness in fish argue that fish do not feel pain because they do not have a neocortex, which is a necessary condition for feeling pain. A common counter-argument appeals to the multiple realizability of pain: while a neocortex might be necessary for feeling pain in humans, pain might be realized differently in fish. This paper argues, first, that it is impossible to find a criterion allowing us to demarcate between plausible and implausible cases of multiple realization of pain without running into a circular argument. Second, opponents to consciousness in fish cannot be provided with reasons to believe in the multiple realizability of pain. I conclude that the debate on the existence of pain in fish is impossible to settle by relying on the multiple realization argument.

Keywords

Multiple realization Fish Pain Consciousness Animal consciousness Animal sentience 

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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sciences, Normes et DécisionsUniversité Paris-SorbonneParisFrance

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