Sentientism

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Sentientism is a naturalistic ethical philosophy according to which all sentient beings deserve moral consideration.[1] In extending compassion to non-human animals as well as to any potential artificial or alien sentient beings, sentientism can be seen as an extension of or replacement for humanism. As in humanism, supernatural beliefs are rejected in favour of critical, evidence-based thinking.[2][3]

According to sentientism, the ability to experience suffering or positive feeling should determine whether we grant moral consideration to an entity.[4] Non-sentient entities such as protons, plants, rivers, or planets do not warrant direct moral consideration because, based on our current scientific understanding, they do not experience anything at all, including effects of the moral decisions and actions of other beings.[citation needed]

Sentience as a moral criterion has a long history, from Jeremy Bentham's An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation[5] to contemporary philosophers such as Richard D. Ryder[6] and Peter Singer.[7]

Sentiocentrism and Sentientism both grant moral consideration based on sentience. But sentientism, like secular humanism, is explicitly naturalistic across all domains, so it rejects supernatural beliefs of all kinds. Someone who holds supernatural or religious beliefs while granting moral consideration based on sentience would therefore be a sentiocentrist but not a sentientist.[citation needed]

Sentientism differs from anti-speciesism in that it bases moral consideration on sentience and potentially on degrees of sentience, rather than just on rejecting species boundaries. Sentientism is also explicitly naturalistic.[8]

Unlike painism,[9] sentientism takes into account the full range of experience rather than just pain.

As all human beings are animals, sentientism is in agreement with animalism that all sentient animals warrant moral consideration; but sentientism adds that if there exist sentient non-animal beings, such as artificial or alien beings, then they too would warrant moral consideration.[citation needed]

Notable sentientists[edit]

Notable sentientists include Diana Fleischman,[10] Peter Singer,[11] Richard D. Ryder,[12] and George Church.[13]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes

  1. ^ Linzey, A (1998). "Sentientism". Encyclopedia of Animal Rights and Animal Welfare: 311.
  2. ^ Ryder, Richard D. (1991). "Souls and Sentientism". Between the Species. 7 (1): Article 3. doi:10.15368/bts.1991v7n1.1.
  3. ^ Woodhouse, Jamie (2018-10-07). "Humanism needs an upgrade". Areo. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  4. ^ Ryder, Richard D. (1993). "Sentientism". The Great Ape Project: 220–222.
  5. ^ Bentham, Jeremy (1780). An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation. Methuen.
  6. ^ Ryder, Richard D. (1991). "Souls and Sentientism". Between the Species. 7 (1): Article 3. doi:10.15368/bts.1991v7n1.1.
  7. ^ Singer, Peter (2009). Animal Liberation. Harper Collins. ISBN 978-0-06-171130-5.
  8. ^ Ryder, Richard D. (1991). "Souls and Sentientism". Between the Species. 7 (1): Article 3. doi:10.15368/bts.1991v7n1.1.
  9. ^ Ryder, Richard D. (2009). "Painism versus utilitarianism". Think. 8 (21): 85. doi:10.1017/S1477175608000420.
  10. ^ "Diana Fleischman". Diana Fleischman.
  11. ^ Singer, Peter (2009). Animal Liberation. Harper Collins. ISBN 978-0-06-171130-5.
  12. ^ Ryder, Richard D. (1991). "Souls and Sentientism". Between the Species. 7 (1): Article 3. doi:10.15368/bts.1991v7n1.1.
  13. ^ Church, George. "A Bill of Rights for the Age of Artificial Intelligence". Medium. OneZero.

Bibliography