19th December, 2017 / 20:00
Posted on: 29th April, 2014
“If we had a definition in wholly objective terms of what a feeling is, then we’d be able to go out into the world, find out which creatures meet the objective conditions in our definition and then announce our list of the types of creatures that have feelings. But there is no such definition. So, how are we to decide? What are we to look for?
Suppose, for example, I become an expert on fish. Lacking an objective definition of any feeling, notwithstanding my knowledge of the workings of fish brains and fish sense organs, how am I to decide if fish have feelings? How am I to decide if fish feel pain or anxiety or depression? Consistent with my knowledge of the objective facts, I may take the view that fish are zombies. You may hold the opposing view.”
A talk by Professor Michael Tye, University of Texas at Austin, one of the world’s leading philosophers of mind. The Mark Sainsbury lecture is an annual event in honour of Mark Sainsbury, former Susan Stebbing Professor of Philosophy.