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 eighth contribution in the series, submitted by Dr. Ben Roth.


Concerning Wittgenstein’s 284th Philosophical Investigation

“And now look at a wriggling [insect] and at once these difficulties vanish and pain seems able to get a foothold here, where before everything was, so to speak, too smooth for it.”

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 seventh contribution in the series, submitted by Dr. Miriam Schoenfield.


Ants in your pants

Ants make great real estate decisions, and this is explained partially by the fact that their decisions are made by a group, rather than an individual. In some species of ants, when a move must occur, individual worker ants scout out a variety of nest sites, and when they find one that they like, they begin to recruit other ants to their chosen site. The more ants visit a site, the better for that site, and once a certain threshold of ant visitors is reached, the issue is settled and the new nest becomes home. This group decision-making process is very effective and explains why ants do so well at choosing new nests.

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Turtle ants in their home. 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 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.

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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.

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.