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Sentientism

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Sentientism is an ethical philosophy that grants degrees of moral consideration to all sentient beings.[1] Sentientism extends humanism by showing compassion for non-human animals as well as potential artificial and alien intelligences. In common with humanism, sentientism rejects supernatural beliefs in favour of critical, evidence-based thinking.

Sentientism proposes that sentience, the ability to experience suffering or flourishing, should determine whether we grant moral consideration to an entity[2]. Non-sentient entities do not warrant direct moral consideration because they can not experience the implications of our decisions.

Sentientist thinking has a long history, from Jeremy Bentham's An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation[3] through to contemporary philosophers such as Richard D. Ryder and Peter Singer.

Sentientism differs from Speciesism in that it uses degrees of sentience, rather than species boundaries, to grant degrees of moral consideration.

Sentientism differs from painism[4] in that it acknowledges the full range of experience, not just that of pain, in warranting moral consideration.

Sentientism agrees with Animalism that humans are animals so both warrant moral consideration. However, sentientism also argues that non-animal sentient beings, such as potential artificial or alien intelligences, would also warrant moral consideration.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. * Linzey, A (1998). "Sentientism". Encyclopedia of Animal Rights and Animal Welfare. Greenwood Press: 311.
  2. * Ryder, Richard D. (1993). "Sentientism". The Great Ape Project. St. Martin's Griffin: 220–222.
  3. * Bentham, Jeremy (1780). An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation. Methuen.
  4. * Ryder, Richard D. (2009). "Painism versus utilitarianism". Think. 8 (21): 85. doi:10.1017/S1477175608000420.



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