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Amoeba can move freely. Would I be correct in assuming that this movement is not completely random? Would it be correct to assume that an amoeba can seek out food and can attempt to avoid danger?

If this assumption is correct, would it be reasonable to assume that the amoeba has states which are roughly equivalent to being in pain? If this is not the case, what is it that motivates the amoeba to pursue food and avoid danger? Or is it believed to be instinctual -- that is, fully scripted without a need to presuppose a pain state?


Update from a search on the web:

I did find this article which suggests to me that amoebas might also show avoidance behavior.

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    $\begingroup$ This question is about perception which can't be answered because perception is subjective. $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    Jan 27, 2023 at 18:46
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    $\begingroup$ The second paragraph is not too different from asking whether free will exists, albeit at the level of an amoeba. "Pain" is a subjective state, if you take the subjective state out of pain you don't have anything at all. A chemical motivation to perform some behavior is, at a cellular level, no different than what happens in our own nervous systems. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause
    Jan 27, 2023 at 20:56
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    $\begingroup$ @LarryFreeman I mean that pain is a label for a subjective experience. If you call anything else "pain", you should know that you are no longer using "pain" in the way it is used in the fields of psychology/neuroscience/biology. Avoidance doesn't require pain, nor does it require any preceding state: common avoidance and approach behaviors in single-celled organisms are directly chemically mediated. "Motivation" is similarly a fraught term. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause
    Jan 27, 2023 at 21:55
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    $\begingroup$ @LarryFreeman Well, they do respond to stimuli in the environment if that's what you mean. $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    Jan 27, 2023 at 22:35

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