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flutherother's avatar

Zhuangzi and Huizi were strolling on the bridge of the Hao River when Zhuangzi said, “See how the fish come out and dart around easily! That’s the pleasure fish really enjoy!”

Huizi said, “You’re not a fish — how do you know what fish enjoy?”

Zhuangzi argued, “You’re not me, so how do you know I don’t know what fish enjoy?”

Huizi said, “I’m not you, so I for sure don’t know what you know. On the other hand, you’re certainly not a fish — so that still proves you don’t know what fish enjoy!”

Zhuangzi said, “Let’s go back to your original question, please. You asked me how I know what fish enjoy — so you already knew I knew it when you asked the question. I know it by standing here on the bridge of Hao River.”

josie's avatar

No evidence that they do.
So, no.

Soubresaut's avatar

I think it’s odd that when we encounter a species with a brain and nervous system, we tend to first assume it doesn’t think and doesn’t feel, despite those being two main roles of brains and nervous systems (attending to sensory input and making decisions based off that input). It seems like the more natural assumption would be to assume they do feel, and they do think, but recognize it may be different from the way we do. (And from there, conduct studies to better characterize what that experience may be).

More to the point, studies suggest that fish do feel.
See discussions on:
BBC Earth

elbanditoroso's avatar

Only educated fish, the ones that travel in schools.

filmfann's avatar

No evidence that they don’t.
So, yes.

luigirovatti's avatar

@elbanditoroso: Only to be caught in the hat of the provost.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

Well how can we know? Do you suppose they have feelings during mating season?
Also, some people claim they can’t feel pain and that’s why fishing isn’t cruel. Now how could they possibly know that?

kritiper's avatar

To have feelings, the fish would have to have thoughts, be able to reason. So, no.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

“Feelings” must be defined to address the question.

Mariah's avatar

Fish experience stress. It may not be the same as the stress that you or I feel, but they definitely do. They can die from it. That’s why I’ve heavily planted my tank. The hiding spots help them feel safe.

MrGrimm888's avatar

They feel fear, stress (as mentioned,) and they seem to feel angry sometimes. If I turn my aquarium light on in the middle of the night, I have a few fish that get grumpy. Same fish each time. One will puff his fins out, and chase the others. In the daytime, he’s a sweetheart..

Dutchess_lll's avatar

@kritiper why would an animal have to have to be able to reason to feel fear or panic or whatever?

kritiper's avatar

@Dutchess_lll The question wasn’t about if an animal could feel, but if it had feelings. To feel is physical, to have feelings is emotional, rational.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

Krip, I said ”...why would an animal have to have to be able to reason to feel fear or panic or whatever?” Those are emotions.

kritiper's avatar

“fear, panic, whatever” Not “whatever,” whatever you mean by “whatever.” The others you mentioned are animal emotions. Instinctive standard reactions. Not your typical human-esque “feelings.” I feel you are having trouble understanding my meaning. Please try to differentiate.

rojo's avatar

Not according to Kurt Cobain – Something in the Way

Dutchess_lll's avatar

I’m not sure where our conversation derailed into physical vs emotional feelings being somehow confused, @kritiper. I made the comment that we can’t know if fish have (emotional) feelings any more than we can know whether or not they feel physical pain. Some people claim fish can’t feel physical pain.
That seems to be where the misunderstanding started.

kritiper's avatar

You misunderstood what the OP meant by “feelings.” If the OP wanted to know if fish felt stuff, like pain, or grasshoppers being swallowed, the OP would have asked, specifically, if fish could feel.
I understood the OP to mean could a fish, any fish, feel depressed, or sad, or happy, or suspicious, or jealous, or angry, or homesick, etc., etc., etc.. Those kinds of “feelings.”

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

You misunderstood what the OP meant by “feelings.” If the OP wanted to know if fish felt stuff, like pain…

How do you know the question was not about pain?

kritiper's avatar

@Call_Me_Jay Read my prior post.

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