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.

The Daily Ant is launching a weekly series, Philosophy Phridays, in which real philosophers share their thoughts at the intersection of ants and philosophy. This is the first contribution in the series, submitted by Dr. Eli Hirsch.


As a philosopher who knows little about the details of evolutionary theory, I find it hard to understand questions about the evolution of ants. It seems often to be assumed that there are specific features that ants possess because of the “survival value” of such features. This makes very little sense to me. I find it very hard to believe that there are any features at all that can be viewed as having survival value for ants.