The Daily Ant hosts a weekly series, Philosophy Phridays, in which real philosophers share their thoughts at the intersection of ants and philosophy. This is the sixth contribution in the series, submitted by Keshav Singh.

Do ants do things for reasons?

Ants are creatures that seem to do a lot of things. When you see an ant, it is likely either scurrying around in the midst of some task, or dead. One question we might ask when we see an ant doing something is: why is the ant doing that?

However, it is often not clear to the average observer exactly what task an ant is in the midst of; without knowing what an ant is doing, we clearly can’t explain why it is doing that. On the other hand, myrmecologists spend their lives figuring out what ants are doing and can offer plenty of explanations of why they do what they do.

Myrmecologist Bonnie Blaimer collecting ants. Photo: Alex Wild

The Daily Ant hosts a weekly series, Philosophy Phridays, in which real philosophers share their thoughts at the intersection of ants and philosophy. This is the fourth contribution in the series, submitted by Cheryl Abbate.

Consider the Ant

Many people object to raising and killing animals like cows, chickens, and pigs for food because they are conscious (i.e., sentient). Farmed animals clearly have interests, such as the interests in not suffering and continued existence, and there is “something it is like” to be a cow, pig, or chicken. But what about insects, like ants? Are they conscious? Is there “something it is like” to be an ant? If not, perhaps we ought to consume insects, like ants, in lieu of factory farmed animals.