TruePath comments on Where can I donate to support insect welfare? - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: TruePath 31 December 2017 08:23:24AM 1 point [-]

I'm disappointed that the link about which invertebrates feel pain doesn't go into more detail on the potential distinction between merely learning from damage signals and the actual qualitative experience of pain. It is relatively easy to build a simple robot or write a software program that demonstrates reinforcement learning in the face of some kind of damage but we generally don't believe such programs truly have a qualitative experience of pain. Moreover, the fact that some stimuli are both unpleasant yet rewarding (e.g. encourage repetition) indicates these notions come apart.

Comment author: Brian_Tomasik 31 December 2017 11:15:20AM 2 points [-]

It's a big topic area, and I think we need articles on lots of different issues. The overview piece for invertebrate sentience was just a small first step. Philosophers, neuroscientists, etc. have written thousands of papers debating criteria for sentience, so I don't expect such issues to be resolved soon. In the meanwhile, cataloguing what abilities different invertebrate taxa have seems valuable. But yes, some awareness of the arguments in philosophy of mind and how they bear on the empirical research is useful. :)