Riverbend wrote:As someone said in this thread, a line must be drawn.
I was wondering where that line is and, more specifically, what lies just either side of it. Not because I am interested in abstractions but because I want to get it right.
That is why I wanted to get to the bottom of exactly what sentience is.
chownah wrote:So far there are no references to any Buddhist text anywere in this discussion unless I have overlooked one......so is this all just personal views with no support from the Buddha's teachings?
And as was said, the line is humans and animals including insects, and not plants or bacteria or viruses. It's a very simple and clear line and I don't understand why people find this so difficult.
You asked if animals feel pain, yes, of course.
This is a deep question, and would involve study of the explanatory texts in the Ahidhamma. If you have the time, it would be worth investigating the term "jivitindriya" Life Faculty.
Sanghamitta wrote:I doubt if any invertebrate possesses your number 4, brennenmang.
Riverbend wrote:You asked if animals feel pain, yes, of course.
I don't think I asked that. I just wondered if ants consciously decide to avoid pain or if they just respond to it automatically. It's the whole assumption of consciousness part that I think is shaky. You could build a robotic ant to respond in exactly the same way. However, I accept that doesn't really matter. I don't want to complicate matters unnecessarily. I do however enjoy a natural curiosity, and use of the word 'sentient' got me thinking about what it means exactly. It seemed important at the time as it is the difference between life and death, literally.
I just wondered if ants consciously decide to avoid pain or if they just respond to it automatically.
and use of the word 'sentient' got me thinking about what it means exactly.
Main article: Cephalopod intelligence
Octopuses are highly intelligent, likely more so than any other order of invertebrates. The exact extent of their intelligence and learning capability is much debated among biologists, but maze and problem-solving experiments have shown that they do have both short- and long-term memory. Their short lifespans limit the amount they can ultimately learn. There has been much speculation to the effect that almost all octopus behaviors are independently learned rather than instinct-based, although this remains largely unproven. They learn almost no behaviors from their parents, with whom young octopuses have very little contact.
An octopus opening a container with a screw cap
An octopus has a highly complex nervous system, only part of which is localized in its brain. Two-thirds of an octopus's neurons are found in the nerve cords of its arms, which have a remarkable amount of autonomy. Octopus arms show a wide variety of complex reflex actions arising on at least three different levels of the nervous system. Unlike vertebrates, the complex motor skills of octopuses in their higher brain are not organized using an internal somatotopic map of its body. Some octopuses, such as the mimic octopus, will move their arms in ways that emulate the movements of other sea creatures.
In laboratory experiments, octopuses can be readily trained to distinguish between different shapes and patterns. They have been reported to practice observational learning, although the validity of these findings is widely contested on a number of grounds. Octopuses have also been observed in what some have described as play: repeatedly releasing bottles or toys into a circular current in their aquariums and then catching them. Octopuses often break out of their aquariums and sometimes into others in search of food. They have even boarded fishing boats and opened holds to eat crabs.
In some countries, octopuses are on the list of experimental animals on which surgery may not be performed without anesthesia. In the UK, cephalopods such as octopuses are regarded as honorary vertebrates under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 and other cruelty to animals legislation, extending to them protections not normally afforded to invertebrates.
The octopus is the only invertebrate which has been conclusively shown to use tools. At least four specimens of the Veined Octopus (Amphioctopus marginatus) have been witnessed retrieving discarded coconut shells, manipulating them, and then reassembling them to use as shelter. This discovery was documented in the journal Current Biology and has also been caught on video.
Riverbend wrote:Anna, I am not assuming ants do not feel pain. I am only saying I cannot assume that they have a subjective self-awareness or consciousness. Feeling pain does not qualify one for subjective self-awareness. When I feel pain I react, but that is not the issue. The issue is that I am aware of an 'I' who feels pain. I can ask who or what that 'I' is. And I am led to an understanding of no permanent, unchanging self.
The octopus in your example is no doubt intelligent. But that is not what I am questioning.
Again I hasten to add I am not trying to justify harming any living thing. I am terrified of spiders, as I said, but I still capture them alive and let them out even though I know they'll just come back in; and I am pretty sure they have no subjective self-awareness.
Annapurna wrote:Sanghamitta wrote:I doubt if any invertebrate possesses your number 4, brennenmang.
Of course it does.
An Octopus has no back bone, it is an invertebrate. It is highly intelligent.