I'm a Sentientist!

Great to hear it! You're one of millions around the world who are committed to using evidence and reason (so rejecting supernatural beliefs) and who grant moral consideration to all sentient beings. Most of them haven't heard the term Sentientism yet.

As more of the world's population come to agree with us, we'll have a stronger chance of making a better universe for all sentients. Evidence, reason and compassion can help us solve every problem we face.

If you'd like to let the world know "I'm a sentientist" you can add your name here and you'll appear in a tile on our wall below. You can just leave a first name, or, if you feel comfortable, add a picture, a social media link and a comment on why you're a sentientist:

Strong Testimonials form submission spinner.

So far, 548 rational, compassionate people have added their names. That's 7.025641025641E-8 % of the world's population. We're well on our way to 8 billion... ?

If you want your wall tile deleted or changed later, get in touch using the comment form below or the contact form to the right and we'll make the change for you.

Many others have joined one or more of our online community groups. You would be very welcome too. Our liveliest are our Facebook group (private) and public page, with people from around 70 countries so far, but there's a longer list of our accounts and forums here.

To find out about other sentientists, some "notable" ones are listed on the Sentientism Wikipedia page. There's also a public list of sentientists and suspected sentientists on Twitter that you can subscribe to. Get in touch if you'd like to be added.

If you'd like to get updates from this site, drop your name and email in the boxes to the right and we'll update you with new posts. I've kept this separate from the "I'm a sentientist" so that you can do either, both or neither.

Bernard van Tonder

I selected all sentient perceptual experience as my ultimate ethical value after studying philosophy and completely rebuilding my ethical beliefs without previous dogmas. It came as a result of thoughts that emerged around the being-for-itself concept in Jean-Paul Sartre's Being and Nothingness book and Peter Singer's work. Consequently I have become an act utilitarian, vegan and an effective altruist. The concept has had a profound impact on my significant long-term decisions. I am confident that the world would be significantly better for everyone if everyone valued sentient experience, maximised positive perceptual experience and minimised negative perceptual experience.

@EthosOpt (Twitter)

@bernardvantonder (Insta)

South Africa

Chris Hopwood

United Kingdom

Philip Powell

Its the first place to start. It is the basic unit of any ethical system.
Philip on Facebook

United States

Carole Raphaelle Davis

Carole Raphaelle Davis

Carole is a model, actress, singer/songwriter (she wrote "Slow Love" with Prince), writer and animal activist. She has been a contributor for several animal welfare publications including American Dog Magazine, for who she also worked as an investigative journalist. She had an animal welfare column on Newsvine. She is the West Coast Director of the Companion Animal Protection Society, a national non-profit organisation that investigates puppy mills and pet stores. Carole founded the #MeToo movement in France. She is vegan and an atheist. In our "Sentientist Conversation" video she said "Sentientism feels like home".
Sentientist Conversations with Carole (YouTube) #1
Sentientist Conversations with Carole (YouTube) #2
Carole on Wikipedia
Carole on Medium


Corey Lee Wrenn

Corey Lee Wrenn

Corey is a sociologist and scholar of social movements and human-nonhuman relations. She is a lecturer in the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research at the University of Kent. Corey says: "The magnitude of nonhuman suffering is such that activists can’t afford to take chances. My work is designed to take the guesswork out of social movement mobilization and animal rights activism." She is vegan and has a naturalistic worldview. She is one of the few academics who has explored the intersection of the atheist/humanist/naturalistic thinking and animal advocacy movements - see this article and her book A Rational Approach to Animal Rights.

Find Corey's video/podcast conversation with me here on "Sentientist Conversations"

Corey on FaceBook
Corey on Wikipedia


Andrew Fenton

I am an associate professor of Philosophy at Dalhousie University (Andrew at Dalhousie). My areas of specialization are in animal (bio)ethics, naturalized epistemology, neuroethics, and the philosophy of animal behaviour and cognition. I am interested in how deepening scientific understanding of the psychological capacities of various nonhuman animals should change philosophical discussions of their knowledge (beyond a simple reliabilism), agency (including their consent and dissent capacities) and treatment in captivity (primarily in laboratories).



All animals—and all beings that can feel—deserve compassion. No matter how hard it is for us, no matter how many of our behaviors we need to change, we must learn to treat other beings how we wish to be treated.

United States

Alan Pater

As a long time vegan and atheist I was happy to discover sentientism. I learn a lot following the discussions online! In real life I have a vegan sushi restaurant called «el buda profano». Coming to a town near you any day now!

El Buda Profano

In transit

Dave J

I hold to a moral framework that considers desires the basic unit of moral consideration. All sentient beings have desires, so it’s a natural fit for my moral theory.


Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Sentience matters for moral consideration. Evidence, Reason, Universalism.



Now there is a term for what I've always believed since I was a small child - Sentientism! Yay!

Erin Meyer

United States

Michael Nugent

Headshot of Michael Nugent

Michael is a writer and activist. He has written, co-written or contributed to seven books and the comedy musical play I, Keano. He has campaigned on many political issues, often with his late wife Anne Holliday, and he is chairperson of the advocacy group Atheist Ireland. He is vegan and a Sentientist.
Michael wrote this article on "Why I am a Sentientist".
Michael on Wikipedia

Michael Nugent

Jennifer Blaney

I found out about Sentientism yesterday! And realize I have been adopting this philosophy and developing my way of life since I was a child. First kindness and respect for all animals leading quickly to vegetarianism, later veganism; early Christianity to atheism at 13. This is the way of relating to and moving within the universe that makes sense and feels ethically comfortable.
Jennifer on Facebook


John Thomas

We've been brainwashed to believe competition is the essence of life. It isn't. There is competition. But cooperation is more common, more vital, more quintessential to life.
John's "Who are you?" blog
John's Amazon Author Page


Cameron King

Cameron King headshot

Cameron ( is the Operations Lead for Animal Advocacy Africa (& @Animal_Africa). Cameron ran his own eCommerce business for several years before pivoting to charity entrepreneurship to have a more extensive & substantial positive impact on the world. Cameron has been involved in the Effective Altruism community for over ten years & went through Charity Entrepreneurship’s 2020 incubation program.

He is vegan, has a sentiocentric, naturalistic worldview and is happy to describe himself as a Sentientist.

Find our Sentientist Conversation on the Sentientism YouTube here or on the Sentientism podcast here.

United Kingdom


In my estimation there are certain types of pain that can never be compensated for, the merciless slaughter of animals is only one type.


Aditya SK

Aditya SK headshot

Aditya is the wild animal suffering outreach coordinator for Animal Ethics. He works in grass-roots animal activism with a variety of organisations. He is studying Animal Protection Law at the National Legal Studies Research Institute in India.

He is vegan and has a naturalistic worldview.

Find Aditya's Sentientist Conversation with me here on YouTube and here on Podcast.


Nick Pendergrast

Nick Pendergrast headshot
Nick (@NickPende & theconversation) is a Sociologist who researches social movements, social change & Critical Animal Studies. He is a member of The Institute for Critical Animal Studies, the International Association of Vegan Sociologists & The Australian Sociological Association. Nick co-hosts the Freedom of Species podcast & radio show on Melbourne's 3CR community radio station & also co-hosts the Progressive Podcast Australia podcast with his partner Katie

Nick is vegan and has a sentiocentric, naturalistic worldview.

Luke Roelofs

Luke Roelofs headshot

"I think a secular morality has to come from the systematisation of empathy, and empathy is a mode of understanding sentient beings."

Luke is a philosopher of mind at the Centre for Mind, Brain & Consciousness at New York University. Although Luke works primarily on philosophy of mind & metaphysics, their areas of interest include ethics, social & political philosophy, early modern philosophy and philosophy of gender & sexuality. Their book, "Reason, Empathy, and the Minds of Others" is under contract with Oxford University Press.

You can find Luke's Sentientist Conversation with me here on the Sentientism Youtube and on the Sentientism Podcast here on Apple and here on the other platforms​​​​​​.
Majestic Equality blog



The universe has no obligation to make sense to us or to aid us in our search for and actualization of good. Sentience itself wasn't evolved out of any good will towards us subjects but as an instrument of Nature to keep on replicating. As beings capable of self reflection and radical transformation of our environment, we have the responsibility to use that power to benefit the totality of sentient experience.

Nathaniel's Total Veganic Futurism YouTube


Olenka Graham Castaneda

Because treat others the way you want to be treated.


United States

Dean Edmonds

I have always been jarred by the differences in how we treat our fellow humans vs how we treat other sentient beings. As I matured I began to form my own set of beliefs, that our worth should not be defined by whether we are "human," but rather, our sentience. My dog is sentient, and I treat her as such.

Dean Edmonds
United Kingdon

Floris van den Berg

Floris van den Berg

"I am a sentientist because: Suffering matters to those who suffer. Sentientism means having compassion for all those who suffer – both human and nonhuman. Sentientism means emancipating all sentient beings who can’t stand up for their own interests. Sentientism is the new moral paradigm. Change will not come by doing nothing. Sentientism is not only a theoretical idea, it includes veganism. Sentientism doesn’t hurt you – nor others.”

Floris's bio states he is "a philosopher and therefore an atheist". He is a practical, activist, vegan philosopher. He has written a number of books including "Philosophy for a Better World", "On Green Liberty", "De vrolijke veganist" ("The Happy Vegan") and "Hoe komen we van religie af?" ("How to get rid of religion. An inconvenient liberal paradox"). In 2017, Floris participated in a television series "To Hell With Your Religion", in which he lived with a group of people of various religions for two weeks, exploring and critiquing religious ideas.
Floris' Sentientist Conversation with Jamie on YouTube and Podcast
After our conversation, Floris kindly shared a series of posters he has developed that relate to Sentientist themes. These posters, hosted here, remain Floris’ intellectual property but he is happy with them being freely used for educational purposes.
Floris on Wikipedia



All sentient beings have interests that deserve full and rational consideration

United Kingdom

Karthik Pulugurtha

Karthik Pulugurtha head shot

Karthik is Managing Director of the Fish Welfare Initiative in India. He has a background in animal welfare & ethical livelihoods. He is a PhD scholar at the National Academy of Legal Studies & Research in India & previously managed the university’s Animal Law Centre. While there, he researched the unethical practices associated with industrialised egg production in India.
He has also worked as a research and livelihoods consultant for sixteen Members of Parliament from the Telugu Despam Party. Karthik is deeply committed to ending animal and human suffering and believes in the efficacy of bottom up approaches to change.

Karthik is vegan and has a sentiocentric moral scope. He is an atheist and has a naturalistic worldview.

Find my Sentientist Conversation with Karthik on the Sentientism YouTube here and on the Sentientism Podcast here.


Jae Cho


Kamugasha Louis

I believe in reason and am an animal



Jazar Mohamed

Because I'm sentient, and I think that is the most ethical way forward.

Jazar on FaceBook


Carol Gigliotti

Carol is an author, artist, animal activist and scholar whose work focuses on the reality of animals’ lives as important contributors to the biodiversity of this planet. She is Professor Emerita of Design and Dynamic Media and Critical and Cultural Studies at the Emily Carr University of Design, Vancouver, BC. CANADA. Her most recent book is The Creative Lives of Animals.

Carol is vegan and has (at least) a sentiocentric moral scope. Carol is non-religious and has a broadly naturalistic worldview. She is happy to call herself a Sentientist - having joined our "wall".

Find our Sentientist Conversation here on the Sentientism YouTube and here on the Sentientism podcast.


Genetically Modified Skeptic

GM Skeptic

Drew is an atheist, activist, science advocate and YouTuber at Genetically Modified Skeptic.  He says: "Skepticism and compassion can co-exist."
In this January 2021 video, "Why I am no longer a Humanist", viewed over 100,000 times in the first few days after publication, he talks about how a naturalistic worldview
challenges both religion and anthropocentrism. He describes his own journey from religion, through atheism and Humanism and on to Sentientism. In the video he says, "I consider humans in my moral framework because they have the capacity to suffer  - and now, I consider other animals in my moral framework for the same reason." While continuing to agree with the core tenets of Humanism (evidence, reason and a focus on human wellbeing), he says "I do like the labels of Sentientist and ethical vegan." He calls for the end to all animal exploitation, including animal agriculture.
Genetically Modified Skeptic YouTube
GMSkeptic on Facebook


Kristof Dhont

Kristof Dhont headshot

Kristof Dhont is a social psychologist & senior lecturer at the university of Kent where he runs SHARKLab (Study of Human InterGroup & Animal Relations​). He is the author of “Why We Love & Exploit Animals“. Kristof is vegan and has a naturalistic worldview.

Kristof's Sentientist Conversation with me is on the Sentientism YouTube and Podcast.

SHARKLab at Kent University

Belgium and the UK

Andrew Sydlik

Evidence, reason, and compassion make the most sense as pillars of a life devoted to truth, equality, and happiness. The tragedy is that most people probably agree, but do not realize how their behaviors and thoughts do not actually accord with these principles. I hope to be part of a movement that helps us live lives that more fully embody these principles and end the suffering of all sentient beings.

United States

Indra Gesink

I'm a Sentientist because it makes sense! Welcome to the future.


The Netherlands

Bindu Joopally

Because all sentient beings are the same in our will to live, and our ability to suffer.



Alasdair Cochrane

Alasdair Cochrane
I am a sentientist because I believe our moral frameworks and political systems ought to respect the interests of each and every individual who can suffer and take joy from their lives.
United Kingdom

Kishan Ananthram

Love and compassion for all sentient beings.

Kishan on LinkedIn


Amy Williams

Because we all share a common ancestor and common instincts and biological machinery. To pretend we are very different from our fellow earthlings, particularly other mammals, is hubris.

United Kingdom

Heather Browning

Heather Browning head shot

Heather is a scientist (zoology and biology), philosopher & a former zookeeper & animal welfare officer. She is now a researcher at the London School of Economics specialising in non-human animal sentience, welfare, & ethics.

Find Heather's Sentientist Conversation with me here on Youtube or here on the Sentientism podcast.


Australia and UK

Scott Haley

I've been a Zen Buddhist since 1974.

United States

Katie Mack

Katie Mack headshot - wearing a headset

Katie is a theoretical cosmologist who holds the Hawking Chair in Cosmology and Science Communication at Perimeter Institute. Her academic research investigates dark matter, vacuum decay and the epoch of reionisation. Katie is also a popular science communicator who participates in social media and regularly writes for Scientific American, Slate, Sky & Telescope, Time and Cosmos. She is the author of the book "The End of Everything (Astrophysically Speaking)"

Katie is vegan and has a sentiocentric moral scope. She has a naturalistic worldview, saying here: "I had a lot of trouble believing in anything that I didn’t have strong evidence for. It comes back to the scientific view point maybe. I didn’t have religious experiences. I didn’t have a feeling of connection with the divine. I wanted that feeling of connection … I found the practice very meaningful, but I never got the faith."

Find our Sentientist Conversation here on the Sentientism YouTube and here on the Sentientism Podcast.

Katie on Wikipedia
Disorientation, a poem by Katie


Dominique Ghijselinck

Humanity should come out of the human-centric bubble. However, too often animals are viewed with partisan sentimentality or ignorant disregard, as economic utility or nuisances. I think we need to be guided by evidence-based reason, wonder, care & curiosity to restore the bond with our beautiful world and minimize all suffering. If we judge ourselves to be capable of any moral progress, we will understand the need to live without being a threat to all living creatures around us.


Matthew Wray Perry

The baseline for who matters morally is whether or not things matter to a living being - sentience captures this.

United Kingdom


I'm a Sentientist because its what makes sense and we will need this shift if we are to survive as a species


Jonathan Mannhart

To me, suffering/joy are what really matter in the end. And for this, sentience to some degree is a necessary condition.


Christine Kane

'The question is not, Can they reason?, nor Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?' Jeremy Bentham, Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation

United Kingdom

Brian P. Ellis

"Nothing is more important than the abolition of suffering in the universe. I believe we can derive meaning and purpose from working to secure our most basic needs and desires, and those of all other sentient beings: to live as long as life is worth living, to avoid suffering, and to pursue our idea of happiness. I created a life philosophy based on this idea: -- and sentientism is in line with this view. With solidarity and unconditional compassion for all fellow sufferers." -- BPE.


Pöm Frånz

Commitment to scientific morality.

United States

Myq Kaplan

Myq Kaplan

Myq is a stand-up comedian. He has performed on the Tonight Show, Conan, the Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Seth Meyers, the Late Late Show with James Corden, in his own half-hour Comedy Central Presents special, and in his own one-hour special on Netflix and now Amazon, “Small, Dork, and Handsome.” He has been a finalist on Last Comic Standing and recently appeared on America’s Got Talent. His debut album “Vegan Mind Meld” was one of iTunes’ top 10 comedy albums of the year and his latest album, AKA, debuted at #1.
He is vegan and, while having a strong affinity to Buddhist philosophy, has a naturalistic worldview, having described himself as "atheistic".

Myq's Sentientist Conversation with Jamie on the Sentientism YouTube and Podcast
Myq on Wikipedia


Zane Celmer

The consideration of others not based on species is virtuous



Shannon Sagawe

Shannon Sagawe

A recipe of science and humanity can create the world we all need.
Shannon on Instagram


Ernie Bornheimer

Suffering is the most important moral issue.


Lori Marino

Head and shoulders shot of Lori Marino smiling

Lori is Executive Director of The Kimmela Center and Founder & President of The Whale Sanctuary Project. She is a neuroscientist and expert in animal behavior and intelligence, formerly on the faculty of Emory University where she was also a faculty member at the Emory Center for Ethics. She is internationally known for her work on the evolution of the brain and intelligence in dolphins and whales and marine mammal welfare in captivity, as well as cognition in farmed animals through The Someone Project. In 2001 Lori co-authored a ground-breaking study with Diana Reiss offering the first conclusive evidence for mirror self-recognition in bottlenose dolphins, after which she decided against conducting further research with animals held captive in zoos and aquariums.

Lori has published over 130 peer-reviewed scientific papers, book chapters, and magazine articles on marine mammal biology and cognition, comparative brain anatomy, self-awareness in nonhuman animals, human-nonhuman animal relationships, and the evolution of intelligence. Lori has appeared in several films and television programs, including the 2013 documentary Blackfish about killer whale captivity; Unlocking the Cage, the 2016 documentary on the Nonhuman Rights Project; Long Gone Wild, the 2019 documentary; and in the upcoming documentary about Corky, the orca held captive by SeaWorld since 1969.

Lori is an atheist & has a naturalistic worldview, saying "I don't see any reason to propose that there's anything supernatural out there". She is vegan & has a sentiocentric moral scope.

Find our Sentientist Conversation here on the Sentientism YouTube and here on the Sentientism Podcast.

Lori on Wikipedia
Lori on FaceBook
The Kimmela Center
The Whale Sanctuary Project

Aysha Akhtar

Aysha Akhtar

Aysha Akhtar, M.D., M.P.H., is the President and CEO of the Center for Contemporary Sciences, which is pioneering the transition to replace the use of animals in experimentation with superior human-based testing methods. She is a double-board certified neurologist and preventive medicine specialist, with a background in public health, and is a U.S veteran. Previously she served as Deputy Director of the U.S. Army Traumatic Brain Injury Program developing the Army’s brain injury prevention and treatment strategies for soldiers. As a Commander in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, Dr. Akhtar frequently deployed to assist with national public health emergencies.

For a decade, Aysha was a Medical Officer at the Food and Drug Administration, most recently in the Office of Counterterrorism and Emerging Threats, implementing studies on vaccine effectiveness and safety and using her Top-Secret Security Clearance to develop national preparedness strategies for public health threats.

Aysha is a Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics. She is the author of the two books, Our Symphony With Animals. On Health, Empathy and Our Shared Destinies and Animals and Public Health, which argues for the need for health institutions to include animals as part of the “public” in public health. Aysha is a TEDx speaker.

Aysha is vegan and has a naturalistic worldview.

Find Aysha's Sentientist Conversation with me here on YouTube and Podcast.

Aysha's TEDx talk  about how treating animals better is not only good for non-human animals, but also good for us human animals.
Aysha's author profile at HuffPost



Not a choice. I’ve experienced a lot of trauma and loss in my life which has made me extremely sensitive to all suffering. I’ve been vegetarian for over a year but eating vegan since summer.

United States

Poppy Permatasari

As a sentient being myself, I'd say I'm proudly a Sentientist. "Social oppression needs animals oppression" Realizing the roots cause of every social justice's problem is the idea some species are better than the others. We always have moral obligation to do better for human animals and non human animals. Free them, Free Us, Free ALL

Poppy on Instagram


Louis Gough

Although sceptical about the capacities of human reason, I do feel reason should be utilised by humans when making ethical decisions. Reason has thus far indicated to us that, alongside humans, nonhuman animals are sentient. Based on this knowledge, coupled with a rejection of (or ongoing attempt to reject) deluded and destructive anthropocentrism, I feel the least we can do as human beings is behave compassionately toward nonhuman animals (and fellow humans). The practice of veganism is a moral imperative in this connection.

Louis via Email

United Kingdom


Objectively Dan

"I'm a Sentientist because it's the most compelling description of my sense of ethics."

Dan is the host of Truth Wanted, a call-in talk show that's part of the Atheist Community of Austin.Truth Wanted focuses on how and why people believe what they believe - and how we can talk about beliefs in more effective ways - whether it’s karma or Christ, Bigfoot or crystals.

Dan is vegan and has a sentiocentric moral scope. He has a non-religious, "igtheist", naturalistic worldview.

Find our Sentientist Conversation here on the Sentientism YouTube and here on the Sentientism podcast.

Dan on Twitch

United States


I like to learn about philosophy and hopefully teach it to people.




Arturs Kanepajs

Sentientism addresses the most important blind spots of Humanism.



Self-awareness at the molecular level seems intuitively obvious - the universe is a self-aware entity, studying itself through the experience of “being” in all our various forms.



I'm a sentientist because we should not be inflicting, without necessity, great suffering upon others. It is that simple. We should instead try to reduce and minimize the amount of suffering — no matter who is the being who's suffering — through, among other things, cultivating unbounded reason and unlimited compassion.

Gustavo's Freethought Commands YouTube

Andrew Knight

Andrew Knight headshot

Andrew is Professor of Animal Welfare and Ethics and Founding Director of the University of Winchester Centre for Animal Welfare, Adjunct Professor in the School of Environment and Science at Griffith University, Queensland, EBVS European and RCVS Veterinary Specialist in Animal Welfare Science, Ethics and Law, American and New Zealand Veterinary Specialist in Animal Welfare, Fellow of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, and Principal Fellow of Advance HE.

Ever since helping launch Australia’s campaign against the live sheep trade to the Middle East in the early 1990s, he has advocated on behalf of animals. For nearly a decade prior to 2012 he practiced veterinary medicine, mostly around London. In 2013 – 2014 he directed the Clinical Skills Laboratory and taught animal ethics, welfare, veterinary practice management and surgical and medical skills at one of the world’s largest veterinary schools in the Caribbean.

Andrew's books include The Routledge Handbook of Animal Welfare (2023) and The Costs and Benefits of Animal Experiments (2011). He has around 150 academic and 80 popular publications and an extensive series of social media videos on plant-based companion animal diets, climate change and the livestock sector, invasive animal research, educational animal use, humane clinical and surgical skills training, and other animal welfare issues. His papers have been published in leading scientific and medical journals, such as New Scientist, the British Medical Journal USA and PLoS One. He has delivered over 200 presentations at conferences and universities internationally, and has organized or chaired seven conferences and seminars. He regularly works with animal welfare charities to advocate for animals and is often interviewed by the media. Andrew has been honoured with 14 awards and 22 research grants, including the Society for Veterinary Medical Ethics Shomer Award, a University Values Award and the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association Humane Achievement Award. He also received a University Student-Led Teaching Award in 2017.

Andrew has a naturalistic worldview, is vegan and has a sentiocentric moral scope.

Find our Sentientist Conversation here on the Sentientism YouTube and here on the Sentientism Podcast.

Andrew on LinkedIn
Andrew on FaceBook


Daniel Ouka

Principles of humanism extended beyond humans.

United Kingdom


Sentient beings feel, have consciousness and emotions, yet they are voiceless, there should a be a charter of animal rights


Colin Roy-Ehri

United States

Jon Nugent

Sentience is the only logical foundation for ethics.

United Kingdom

Cristian Murgu

I'm a sentientist because i cannot justify ethical isolationism.


Peter Lewis

Headshot of Peter Lewis smiling and wearing a hat

Peter holds a Canada Research Chair in Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence, at Ontario Tech University. He is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Business and Information Technology, where he leads the Trustworthy AI Lab. He co-edited the foundational book, Self-Aware Computing Systems, published by Springer, and is Associate Editor of IEEE Technology & Society Magazine. He has published over 75 papers in academic journals and conference proceedings, and led teams that have worked with dozens of companies in the areas of artificial intelligence, data science, and software development.

Peter has a naturalistic worldview. He is vegan and has a sentiocentric moral scope. His article "Of Fish and Robots" links his sentiocentrism with his work on artificial intelligence.
Peter at the Trustworthy AI Lab

Canada / UK

Eleanor Elizabeth Forman

I don't believe humans are qualitatively more special than other creatures, except insomuch as we flatter ourselves.


Mary Pat Champeau

Mary Pat Champeau headshot

Mary Pat is the director of graduate programs at the Institute for Humane Education & faculty at Antioch University. Mary Pat has been in the field of education since 1979 when she began teaching as a Peace Corps volunteer in Niger. Before joining IHE, she worked in refugee camps in Asia & supervised culture & language programs for the World Trade Institute in New York.

Mary Pat is vegan and has a naturalistic, sentiocentric worldview - a "card-carrying Sentientist!"

Find her Sentientist Conversation with me here on the Sentientism YouTube and here on the Sentientism podcast.


Chaitanya Talreja

Chaitanya Talreja sitting in a chair smiling

Chaitanya is Assistant Professor at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) in the Centre for Regulatory Policy and Governance. He has a PhD in Economics. Chaitanya's research interests include economic development strategies in the global south, structural change, economic development and regulatory policy, urban economics, and non-anthropocentric strategies/alternatives to anthropocentric value systems in progress and conservation including food systems research (and maybe Sentientist Economics?)

In addition to his academic work, Chaitanya has published articles on economic development, inequality and on the intersection of Hinduism, politics and animal ethics in India.

Chaitanya has a naturalistic worldview and, at least, a sentiocentric moral scope.

Find our Sentientist Conversation here on the Sentientism YouTube and here on the Sentientism podcast.

Chaitanya on ResearchGate


Kolja Danowski

Because the needs of sentient beings, their freedom and the continued existence of sentient life are the are the only aspects one can build a reasonable framework of ethics upon.



No sentient being is on this Earth FOR us, they are here WITH us. Their lives are no less important than ours.



Why cruelty?

Moritz Petzoldt

I hate bricks


Arpad Lorberer

Curiosity helped me the most. Knowledge fills you up. Observing something is a pleasure, deducing something else from it is another. I do Science just for the sake of it - I do research, publish and teach without being paid affiliated with academics, and it just makes sense for me.

Arpad Lorberer


Michael Dello-Iacovo

"Suffering matters, no matter who experiences it. Sentientism is the label that captures this world view."

Michael Dello-Iacovo (​ and @MichaelDello​) is a PhD candidate in space science, looking at off-Earth exploration, mining & asteroid impact risk. Michael hosts the Morality is Hard podcast where he examines ethical questions and argues that everyday ethical choices are harder than we think they are. He is currently on the New South Wales state committee for the Animal Justice Party, sits on the national policy committee and is a committee member of the party’s youth wing. Michael has dedicated his life to giving back and making the world a better place for all. To that end, in 2016 he pledged to donate all of his income above $45,000 each year to the most effective charities and causes, a pledge which he will uphold with his parliamentary income, if elected. Michael was previously the CEO of Effective Altruism Australia.

Michael's Sentientist Conversation with me on the Sentientism YouTube and Podcast
Michael Dello



United States

Sylvia Corte

I am a sentientist because I spend almost all my life observing animals, so I have no doubts about their sentience. My question is: now that evidence from science, reasoning, and feelings show that all beings are sentient, what are we going to do with that truth?


Lauri J, Owen, MA, JD, Esq.

Ethics demand that the strong inflict no harm on those who feel pain and fear. Humans are animals, too.

United States of America

Maria Paula Fernandez

I'm a Sentientist because: ethics.



I give value to beings who are sentient rather than being just alive.



I'm a Sentientist because it's the only way of life that makes sense.

Meike on FaceBook

United States

Michael Sweeney

I believe in extending moral consideration to all sentient beings as individuals with their own interests and values. I am also a longtime Humanist and member of the AHA because I believe in the separation of church and state and the promotion of a scientific rationalist point of view.

@EthicalSentient (Twitter), @EthicalSentient (Insta) and other social media.


Erika F Whitton

A species like ours - without compassion - is what it has become: a pathological, narcissistic, monster. We must change (go vegan!).

Erika on WordPress


David Michelson

David Michelson headshot

David is an activist & chief petitioner of the Yes On IP13 campaign ( & @yesonip13) which aims to outlaw the harming & killing of sentient animals in the US state of Oregon. That's without exceptions for animal agriculture, hunting, research or other forms of exploitation. Originally with a background in psychology & public health, David’s switch to activism began after bearing witness to pigs being killed in gas chambers.

David is vegan, has a naturalistic worldview and considers himself a sentientist.

Find his Sentientist Conversation with me here on the Sentientism YouTube and here on the Sentientism podcast.

Mariann Sullivan

Mariann Sullivan headshot

Mariann is Co-host with Jasmin Singer of the Our Hen House podcast and host of the Animal Law Podcast. She is a lawyer, lecturer, teacher and animal rights activist.

Mariann is vegan and has a naturalistic worldview.

Find Mariann's Sentientist Conversation with me on the Sentientism YouTube here and on the Sentientism podcast here.



Roger Greenhalgh




I believe in non-violence (ahimsa) as a key philosophy and the shortcut to world peace. I am a sentientist because I have compassion for all beings and do not exploit or abuse animals for greed or ignorance. I can only hope that this philosophy expands and we manifest a utopian dimension of peace.



The Neanderthal Mind podcast

Love the belief that ALL sentient beings have emotions.

United States

Cynthia Stewart

Sentience is all that matters.
Cynthia on Facebook


Amadea Fox

I believe absolutely in Sentientism!


Love Our Mother

We are meant to be the protectors of Earth and all her creatures.



If you take a moment out of your busy day to think about life on Earth, it's obvious that all sentient life whether arachnids, mollusks, reptiles, insects, birds, mammals, amphibians (in no particular order) is pretty miraculous. Who am I, (as a mammal), to say that my life is more valuable that that of an insect. All sentient life is caring, feeling and complex.

United Kingdom


If the Universe is ever to make sense, sense is best served by observation and experimentation. Not by revelation.


Ru Oakley

Compassion for animal suffering.


Paul Shapiro

Paul Shapiro

Paul is the author of Clean Meat: How Growing Meat Without Animals Will Revolutionize Dinner and the World. He is the CEO and co-founder of The Better Meat Co. and the host of the Business for Good Podcast. Prior to publishing Clean Meat, he was known for being an animal protection advocate, both as the founder of Animal Outlook (formerly Compassion Over Killing) and a Vice President at the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). In 2008, Paul was inducted into the Animal Rights Hall of Fame. He is vegan and has a naturalistic worldview.

Paul's Sentientist Conversation with Jamie is here on our YouTube and is also on our Sentientism Podcast.

Paul's four Ted Talks
Paul on Wikipedia



United States

Jay Shapiro

Jay Shapiro in front of a blackboard - looking to the side

Jay is an award winning filmmaker, writer, and podcaster. He directed Islam and the Future of Tolerance, a film based around a conversation between Sam Harris and Maajid Nawaz. He produces and creates a wide range of content, writes on his "What Jay Thinks" blog & hosts the Dilemma podcast (some co-hosted with Coleman Hughes). I had the pleasure of being his guest for a Dilemma Hangout on Sentientism back in 2020.

Jay has a naturalistic worldview. He is vegan and has a sentiocentric moral scope.

Find our Sentientist Conversation here on the Sentientism YouTube and here on the Sentientism Podcast.
Jay on IMDB


Peter Singer

Head shot of Peter Singer speaking to a audience using a microphone

"I’m a Sentientist because all suffering matters morally and because evidence and reason are the only ways to really understand our world."

Peter is often referred to as the “world’s most influential living philosopher.” He is the Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University. He specialises in applied ethics, approaching the subject from a secular, naturalistic, utilitarian perspective. He wrote the books "Animal Liberation", Why Vegan? and "Animal Liberation Now!" (launched on the same day as our Sentientism episode!), in which he argues against speciesism and for a shift to plant-based food systems and veganism. He also wrote the essay "Famine, Affluence, and Morality" and the books "The Life You Can Save" & "The Most Good You Can Do" which argue for effective altruism - using evidence & reasoning to do the most good we can for all sentient beings both human and not.

In 2004 Peter was recognised as the Australian Humanist of the Year by the Council of Australian Humanist Societies. In 2005, the Sydney Morning Herald placed him among Australia's ten most influential public intellectuals. Singer is a cofounder of Animals Australia & the founder of The Life You Can Save. In 2021 he received the Berggruen Prize for Philosophy and Culture. Peter donated the $1 million prize money to the most effective organizations working to assist people in extreme poverty and to reduce the suffering of animals in factory farms.

Peter has a sentiocentric moral scope. He is an atheist and has a naturalistic worldview.

Find our Sentientist conversation here on the Sentientism YouTube and here on the Sentientism Podcast.

Peter on Instagram
Peter on Wikipedia

USA / Australia

Salanieta Koro

I think... therefore I am a sentientist.

Salanieta on FaceBook


Timothy Post

All sentient beings, including humans, have consciousness and emotions. We are all capable of suffering.

Timothy on FaceBook

United States


I'm a Sentientist because "Compassion and logic".


Shinya Kabiu

The cruel phenomena that is unwarrantedly perpetuated to sentient beings; known as suffering, is the most tragic thing that has ever happened in this universe.

Shinya Kabiu
South Korea

North Hunter

As someone who is personally against bigotry, speciesism seems like a combination of racism, sexism, and ableism combined. I see no reason why someone that has the mental capabilities of a 3-5 year old (ex, pigs) should be treated the way they are simply because they have a body that does not look like a monkey, as ours does. If monkeys (homo sapiens) deserve rights and to live (as I believe they do) free of discrimination despite mental or physical differences, then why is someone to be judged on their worth for having feathers or hooves when we've already determined that judging someone on their bodily abilities and appearance is not justification for denying them personhood rights? It would be ethically inconsistent to be speciesist while claiming to be antiracist, antisexist, and/or antiableist.



Takuya Fukuju

Abolish All Suffering!


Nicholas Hallows

Where there is sentience there is an experience that matters.


Roman V. Yampolskiy

"The reasons we articulate today for animals to have rights, we will need in the future, to convince superintelligent AIs to allow us to keep our rights."
Roman's Sentientist Conversation with Jamie on YouTube and on the Sentientism Podcast
Roman on Wikipedia
Roman on GoogleScholar


Dylan B. Raines

Concern for the well-being of all living beings ought to be the highest concern for all living beings.



John Adenitire

John Adenitire

John is a Strategic Lecturer in the School of Law and a Fellow of the Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences at Queen Mary University of London. Prior to joining QMUL he was a Lecturer in Law at the University of Birmingham. He completed his PhD at the University of Cambridge, Faculty of Law and Fitzwilliam College. He has taught and researched at Cambridge, Durham, Birmingham, the UCL Constitution Unit, the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law and the UK Commission on a Bill of Rights. Although he started out as a Sunday School teacher, he now has a non-religious worldview. He is a vocal advocate for veganism and salsa dancing.
John's Sentientist Conversation with me on YouTube
John at Queen Mary Uni of London


United Kingdom

Kathy Zuckerman

I believe I have always believed that all living creatures are sentient. I don't remember a time when I didn't know this. Early memories are not reliable so I can't say that I have ALWAYS believed/known this.

United States




Alene Anello

Alene Anello upper body profile picture. Smiling!

Alene is the President and Founder of Legal Impact for Chickens. She graduated from Harvard Law School, clerked for a federal judge and then started litigating for animals. She has worked at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the Animal Legal Defense Fund, and The Good Food Institute. Alene is licensed to practice law in New York, the District of Columbia, and California. Alene is committed to helping chickens to honor the memories of her two beloved avian family members, Conrad and Zeke.

Alene has a non-religious, naturalistic worldview (with a strong sceptical streak...). She is vegan and has a sentiocentric moral scope.

Find our Sentientist Conversation here on the Sentientism YouTube and here on the Sentientism Podcast.



Alice Oven

I'm a sentientist because I believe any living being who processes emotion, good or bad, deserves respect and should be treated as equal.

United Kingdom

Joey Tuminello

Joey Tuminello headshot

“I’m concerned with oppression in all its forms.”

Joey is assistant professor of philosophy at McNeese State University & programme coordinator for the nonprofits Farm Forward & Better Food Foundation (See also the Default Veg campaign). His research covers philosophies of food, medicine, animals & environment. He teaches biomedical ethics & sections of ethical theory & existentialism.

He is vegan and has a naturalistic worldview.

Watch his Sentientist Conversation with me here on YouTube or Podcast.

Joey on




South Africa

Colin Clark

Why Sentientism? Ethically aligned to the idea. I apply strong logical rationale, trying to avoid emotional bias.

Colin on FaceBook



If an organism seeks to avoid death and can suffer pain--even if not nerve-based as that which we are accustomed to--it is sentient and should be accorded rights. Both nonhuman animals as well as other intelligences, even if their origin may have been artificial.


Matt Williams

Before I had heard the term 'Sentientism' I had already been involved in animal rights and have loved science for as long as I can remember. I hope that during my lifetime, 'Sentientism' becomes a normalised term in the public sphere for rational, compassionate people - or at least those of us who strive to that ideal.
Matt on FaceBook


Alex Hedtke

Everyone should be judged not by the circumstances of their birth, but by the pattern of their mind. Anything that can experience, that can suffer, has moral weight to its existence.

Alex on FaceBook

United States

A J Jacobs

A J Jacobs

AJ is an American journalist, author, and lecturer best known for writing about his lifestyle experiments, including "The Year of Living Biblically". He is an editor at large for Esquire and has worked for the Antioch Daily Ledger and Entertainment Weekly. Jacobs is a member of Giving What We Can and pledges 10% of lifelong earnings to charity. He donates to the Against Malaria Foundation and other Effective Altruism organizations. He is ~vegan and an atheist (raised secular Jewish). He has said "I love the Sentientism philosophy - we should see all sentient beings as our extended family".
My "Sentientist Conversation" interview with AJ on YouTube and on our Sentientism Podcast (also on Anchor)
AJ on Wikipedia


Victoria Léomant

If there is one sentence that could sum up all i am and all i believe it would be ‘respect all and every life, it is the bare minimum, the baseline, the place to start’

Marc Lian


Laurence Burris

Compassion for animals.


Teri Williford

It just makes sense!

United States

Aatu Koskensilta

For all we know, sentient experience is all there is, and even if isn't, it's not clear what else could possible matter. Being capable of experiencing happiness or suffering is all it takes to make one morally relevant, for one to matter, on pain of incoherence or inconsistency in our approach and attitude to our existential predicament.
Aatu on Facebook


Jacy Reese Anthis

Jacy Reese Anthis

Jacy is a social scientist and co-founder of the Sentience Institute. His acclaimed book, The End of Animal Farming, analyses the development & popularisation of food technologies such as plant-based & cultivated meat. Jacy's research has been featured in The GuardianVoxForbes, and other global media outlets, and he has presented at conferences and seminars in over 20 countries. He is currently a PhD Fellow at The University of Chicago. He is from Huntsville, Texas and lives in Chicago with his wife Kelly Anthis and their rescued dogs Apollo & Dionysus.

Jacy is vegan and has a naturalistic worldview and is happy to identify as a "Sentientist".

Jacy's Sentientist Conversation with me is on the Sentientism YouTube and podcast.

Jacy on Wikipedia


Allyson Gray

I believe that suffering experienced by sentient beings is the greatest "evil" in this world, and I'm committed to doing everything I can to reduce it.


Shaya Ish-Shalom

Compassion for and kindness to every sentient creature.

Shaya Ish-Shalom


United States



Cat Besch

Cat Besch headshot

Cat founded and leads Vietnam Animal Aid & Rescue. She is also a writer & activist addressing many non-human animal issues.

Find our Sentientist Conversation on the Sentientism YouTube here or the Sentientism Podcast.

Cat on Medium


The future is Vegan. Animals are here WITH us not FOR us.




I am a Sentientist because of an inner strong compulsion to express my real human nature. The one that acknowledges that we are not the pinnacle of this planet. We are not superior by any means. We are just a part of life's web. And we have the potential to shift from being destructors and conquerors to being nurturers and regenerators. To respect and care for all sentient beings including our own kind.


David Clemens

Without evidence why believe a thing?

United States

Jeroen Willems

It is my core value that every sentient being deserves a good, happy life. Whatever their race, religion, class, gender, sexuality or species may be. I want their suffering to stop. Reason and evidence is a must when trying to solve questions on how to help those who suffer, to discover who is suffering and how they are suffering. I prefer sentientism over animalism because it doesn't limit our moral circle to animals, but opens it to any kind of being who may be able to feel pain.




This rationale could not be more urgent and more appropriate to the times.


Apoorva Chandra

Apoorva looking out of the door of a stone building

I'm a Sentientist "because that's the position that leaves me with least cognitive dissonance."



Evidence. Reason. Compassion.

Alex Egorov

Sentientism- not only feels right, but actually is one of the most reasonable and convincing concepts I have ever come across

Alex Egorov


Sazib Bhuiyan

United Kingdom

Jessica Pierce

Jessica Pierce

Jessica Pierce (born October 21, 1965) is an American bioethicist and writer. She is a Faculty Affiliate at the Center for Bioethics and Humanities, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical School. She has been writing and lecturing about the moral contours of human-animal relationships for over 15 years and is a leading scholar in animal ethics and environmental bioethics. She has published 11 books, including The Last Walk and Run, Spot, Run, as well as hundreds of scholarly and popular articles. Her work has been published in the New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Guardian. She writes a regular blog for Psychology Today called All Dogs Go to Heaven. You can find out more about Jessica at Her most recent book, co-authored with Marc Bekoff, is A Dog’s World: Imagining the Lives of Dogs in a World Without People (Princeton University Press) will be released in October of 2021.

Jessica is vegan and has a naturalistic world-view, although remains open minded about and is influenced by eastern philosophy.  

In Jessica's Sentientist Conversation with me (also here on podcast), she says "Compassion needs to be grounded in reality".
Jessica on Wikipedia

Maksymilian Nyk

Because reduction of suffering in all sentient beings via science seems like a good goal.


Adam Cardilini

Adam Cardilini head shot

Adam is a Lecturer in Environmental Science at Deakin University. He is an environmental scientist working on questions related to ecology, conservation and society. He is most interested in: i) how concern for Animals informs environmental values and practice, ii) the environmental potential of transitioning to plant-based agriculture and iii) more critical approaches to how the sciences consider Animals. Adam wants to leverage research to help create a better future for Animals, the environment and humans. Adam is also a co-host of the Freedom of Species show on Melbourne's 3CR community radio.

Adam is vegan and has a naturalistic worldview. He says "I'm a Sentientist because, given what we know about sentient beings, sentientism seems like a good minimum moral standard."

Our Sentientist Conversation is here on the Sentientism YouTube and the Sentientism Podcast!

Adam at Deakin
Adam at TheConversation
Adam's VeganSci YouTube Channel



No sentient being is above others. I have no right to persecute other beings for food, clothing or vanity. I have freed myself from years of peer pressure, trying to make me do what is wrong.




Evidence and reason.

United States

Judy Tiberi

Harm Not for All

United States

Stijn Bruers

"Sentientism means that we should take into account all and everyone's positive and negative feelings, without arbitrary exceptions. No-one and nothing can consistently or reasonably object to sentientism, because disagreeing with sentientism means having negative feelings about it and believing that those negative feelings should not be arbitrarily excluded from moral considerations."

Stijn is a physicist, economist, animal activist, rational moral philosopher and an Effective Altruist. He co-founded and is president of Effective Altruism Belgium. He's currently researching economics at the university of Leuven.

Stijn on our Sentientist Conversations YouTube and Podcast series - "My enemy, which I will destroy, is arbitrariness!"



United States

Joseph Richardson

I'm a sentientist as excluding anyone's suffering from moral consideration will always be arbitrary. Hence, the interests of all sentient beings deserve equal consideration.


United Kingdom

Deborah Rogers

Why Sentientism?: "it just feels right"



Seth Lee

Through a synergy of studying Marxism-Leninism and Secular Buddhism, I became interested in maintaining a meaningful worldview consistent with Buddhist compassion and Marxist dialectical materialism. After reading Althusser’s arguments for anti-humanism, as well as national books by Dean Cornish and Caldwell Esselstyn, I became interested in a naturalistic philosophical approach to veganism. This had to lead me to learn about sentientism, which compliments my views in Marxism and Buddhism, as well as minimalism, science, socialism, and environmentalism practices and activism.

Seth on FaceBook

Seth Lee


Ethical reason, cannot justify speciesism.

United States

Carrie Poppy

Carrie Poppy is an American journalist, atheist, vegan, creator, and host of the popular podcast "Oh No! Ross and Carrie" which describes itself as "the show where we don’t just report on spirituality, fringe science and claims of the paranormal, but take part ourselves." The show itself comes from a skeptical perspective (both hosts are atheists) but also approaches the topics with genuine curiosity, warmth, and interest. She's not a fan of labels, but shares the Sentientist commitments to naturalism and sentiocentrism.  and OhNoPodcast on Wikipedia

United States

Cebuan Bliss

Cebby Bliss

Cebuan (Cebby) is a PhD candidate researching animal and biodiversity governance at Radboud University in the Netherlands.

Find Cebuan's Sentientist Conversation with me here on YouTube and on the Sentientism podcast.

Cebuan at Radboud

The Netherlands and UK

Zoe Weil

Zoe Weil

Zoe is the co-founder and president of the Institute for Humane Education (IHE). She is considered a pioneer in the comprehensive humane education movement. She has authored seven books both for adults and children, including Most Good, Least Harm: A Simple Principle for a Better World and Meaningful Life. Zoe writes the Becoming a Solutionary blog at Psychology today. She has made numerous TV and radio appearances and has given six TED talks, including “Extending our Circle of Compassion.”
She has said "How can we... expand our circle of compassion to include everybody who can suffer?"
Zoe is vegan and has a naturalistic worldview.

Zoe's Sentientist Conversation with me on the Sentientism YouTube and Podcast
Institute for Humane Education


Julio Cesar Prava

Because our choices need to be based on reason.


Prince B

Not so United Kingdom


"... Other things being equal, equally strong interests should count equally."


Beornn McCarthy

I'm a sentientist because the sentient united will never be defeated!


LiteraryChange Blog


Lucas Spiegel

Lucas Spiegel headshot

Lucas studied and practiced architecture in the U.S., Canada, and India before leaving it all behind in an effort to rethink what it is to live a meaningful life. Since then he's traveled the world, started a philanthropic enterprise, Haven Hearts, and written a beautiful, compassionate book. Along the way he enjoys playing frisbee, making things with his hands, and befriending every dog who crosses his path.

He is the author of The Weight of Empathy, a travel memoir. Lucas describes it as an exploration of both our relationship with animals and his own personal process of learning how to be a compassionate person in an often violent and uncaring world.

Lucas is vegan and has a naturalistic worldview, happily identifying himself as a Sentientist. His Sentientist Conversation with me is here on the Sentientism YouTube and here on the Sentientism Podcast.
Lucas on Instagram
Lucas' video from Palitana
Peepal Animal Rescue
Mino Valley Sanctuary


Brenda de Groot

I am a sentientist because I believe sentience is the best, and only, criterion for granting moral consideration. Sentientism has the potential to create a just world for all conscious, feeling beings that call this planet home.

The Netherlands

Christine Rose

You can't argue with reason and compassion based logic that says we should treat all life forms that are self aware and can feel pain in ways that help them flourish and avoid suffering.

Christine on FaceBook
Christine's Writing on Local Matters
Christine's Tumblr Blog

Aotearoa New Zealand

Sabine Brels

Sabine Brels

"For me the question is not 'why care for non-human animals?' but 'why not care for them?' From a Sentientist viewpoint, I think that caring for animals is the only way to build a more humane and moral world for all sentient beings. Evidence, reason and compassion are the tools that the intelligence of the brain and the heart are having to know that animal sentience is as obvious as ours."

Dr Sabine Brels, PhD in international animal law, is legal advisor to the World Federation for Animals. In 2014, she cofounded the Global Animal Law (GAL) Association and led work on the creation and update of the first complete Animal Welfare Legislation Database.

Find Sabine's Sentientist Conversation with me here and on the Sentientism YouTube and Podcast.


William Satterthwaite

I'm a sentientist because considering the common attribute of sentient beings, that is, the ability to suffer, has lead me to believe that all sentient beings deserve moral consideration.

New Zealand

Laurence Burris

Logic has brought me to the conclusion that Sentientism is the best philosophy to heal the earth & all beings.

Graham Bessellieu

Graham Bessellieu

Why I’m A Sentientist:

- All suffering matters morally.

- No sentient being deserves to be treated as a commodity.

- Existing treatment is neither necessary for survival or morally justifiable.

- Cognitive science will continue to expand our understanding of the many forms of sentience.

- Recognizing our underlying genetic unity (ex. LUCA) is reason enough to universalize our compassion.


Graham Bessellieu

Irene Theochari

Irene Theochari

I'm a sentientist because I believe that non-human animals have the same right to freedom from enslavement, exploitation and torture, as human animals. They have the same capacity for pleasure and suffering and should therefore be protected from being reduced to an unfeeling asset.


Deborah (Ντέμπορα) Wicks

Why Sentientism? "Because it is morally and ethically the right thing to be."

Ντέμπορα / Deborah on FaceBook


Jackie Norman

"Even when I was deeply entrenched in the dairy and beef industries for almost two decades before becoming a vegan activist, it was impossible to deny or discount the personalities, emotions and the ability to feel and most of all suffer. We are all animals, we are all equal and none of us should be treated any different or lesser, for not being born the same. Non-human animals need no other purpose or use than to simply be."

Jackie is a former dairy & beef farmer turned full-time animal rights advocate. She is head of communications and a founding board member for the global non-profit, VeganFTA (For The Animals). She co-hosts their podcast and live shows. Jackie is also an author and public speaker.

Jackie has a broadly naturalistic worldview although does have a sense that there may be something spiritual beyond the natural world. She is vegan and has a sentiocentric moral scope.

Find our Sentientist Conversation here on the Sentientism YouTube and here on the Sentientism Podcast.


New Zealand

Jane Velez-Mitchell

Jane Velez-Mitchell waving pride flags from a car

Jane is a TV broadcaster, author, journalist & now CEO of the animal rights non-profit Jane Unchained. For six years she hosted her own show on CNN Headline News. She has written four books, two of which were NY Times bestsellers. She has won numerous awards for her activism on behalf of non-human animals.

Jane is vegan and has a naturalistic worldview.

Find her Sentientist Conversation with mehere on the Sentientism YouTube and Podcast. In it, she says "The root of all evil is thinking some suffering doesn't matter".

Jane Unchained


Troy Hamilton

Sentientism takes John Rawls's "Veil of Ignorance" to its logical conclusion: creating a world I'd want to live in no matter what form of sentient being I was born.

United States

Jamilyn R Juetten

United States

Ariel Pontes

Because in order to work together to make the world a better place, we need to first agree on what it means to make the world a better place.

Brazil / Romania


Animals are suffering in this world all because of humans. The world would still be a Paradise if people had more respect, compassion and empathy for the animals. They would be free and living safely without human intervention and encroachment and cruelty. We are not superior to them. They have more soul and feel all emotions and needs. We do not own them. Animal sentience should be recognized, revered.

United Kingdom

Kritika Singh

Kritika Singh

Sentientism because we need to respect all lives on earth equally and nurture life. Sentientism because our relationship with the animals decide our relationship with ourselves, and the planet.
Indianvegandiary on Instagram


Mikko Järvenpää

Mikko Jarvenpaa

Mikko is a tech start-up founder and CEO (now​). He founded & is now board chair of Sentient Media – an organisation dedicated to making the world a better place for all sentient beings through journalism.

Mikko's Sentientist Conversation with me on our YouTube and Podcast

Finland, USA

Vicky Bond

Vicky Bond

Vicky is Managing Director of The Humane League UK. After working as a veterinary surgeon in the animal agriculture industry she left to focus her career on campaigning for non-human animals. She is vegan and has a naturalistic worldview.
Vicky's Sentientist Conversation with me is here on YouTube and here on our Podcast (all platforms!).

United Kingdom


What happens to our fellow sentient creatures, is up to every one of us ! We’re in this together. Let our actions be predicated, inter alia, on the rights & feelings of all sentient creatures!

Alex K

If something can suffer it deserves consideration for its wellbeing



I'm a Sentientist because I believe in science and morality for the benefit of all sentient beings.


David C McLean

See the famous Bentham quote. What matters is can they feel.


Barış Bayram

Because I'm both (ethical) vegan, and (secular) humanist. 🙂




All beings want to live.



Amit Dwivedi

Sentimental towards Pets.


Jared Conahan

All the sentient creatures of the earth are deserving of equal treatment. We are born of the same family and it is beyond unethical for one species to lay waste to the earth for the sake of exploiting its kin. All living beings have value and we, as the ethically minded beings of this world, must work to preserve their wellbeing and that of the Earth.

United States of America

Alyssa Christian

I am primarily vegan for animal rights, and an atheist because I believe religion to be dangerous and pointless.


United States

Kyle Johannsen

Kyle Johannsen

Kyle is Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Queen's University. His research is in social & political philosophy & in animal & environmental ethics. He teaches normative ethics, metaethics, bioethics, business ethics, cyberethics, the philosophy of law, & critical thinking. Kyle is the author of "Wild Animal Ethics - The Moral and Political Problem of Wild Animal Suffering".

Kyle is vegan and has a sentiocentric and naturalistic worldview. He identifies as a Sentientist.

Find Kyle's Sentientist Conversation with me on the Sentientism YouTube and Podcast.

Kyle on
Kyle on PhilPeople


Jaron Hall

*Everything* we care about begins at the conscious subjective experience. It is the case that a subjective experience avoids pain, so it is the case we must seek to avoid it.


Jorge Ortiz (Jorgenio Selenio)

We MUST support only the sentientist Artificial Intelligence projects or otherwise machines view us like animals and use us only how resources for his proposal, Sentientism is important to make a better world because we have sufficent resources to not generate unnecesary suffering.

Jorge on YouTube


Philip Arrowsmith

Everything that lives is holy.


Ben De Groeve

If a sentientist is someone who wants to use evidence, reason and compassion for the benefit of all sentient beings, I consider myself a sentientist.

"The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge." - Bertrand Russell


Joe Wills

Joe Wills

Joe is an author and lecturer at the University of Leicester. His research interests lie in the areas of human rights, animal rights and legal, political and moral theory and he is currently working on issues relating to the moral and legal status of non-human animals.

Joe's Sentientist Conversation with me on YouTube and Podcast

Joe at the University of Leicester

United Kingdom

Sean Richardson

Because compassion and reason will prevail over injustice.
Sean on Facebook


Hunter Rothman

Suffering is suffering is suffering. Whether human or other sentient being.


Elan Abrell

Headshot of Elan Abrell wearing a blue shirt

Elan is a cultural anthropologist focusing on human-animal interactions, environmental justice, and food politics. He is assistant professor of the practice in environmental studies and coordinator of the animal studies minor at Wesleyan University. He is the author of the Gregory Bateson Prize winning book: "Saving Animals: Multispecies Ecologies of Rescue and Care". He also contributed a chapter called "The Empty Promises of Cultured Meat" to the book "The Good it Promises, the Harm It Does: Critical Essays on Effective Altruism".

Elan is vegan and has (at least) a sentiocentric moral scope. He is non-religious and has a naturalistic worldview.

Find our Sentientist Conversation here on the Sentientism YouTube and here on the Sentientism Podcast.

Elan on LinkedIn
Elan's interview on Our Hen House


Vegan Atheist Coral

Coral Sands headshot

Coral is an aspiring writer, an animal rescue volunteer/donor & runs a bunny boarding & grooming business. She is an ex-Mormon atheist with a naturalistic worldview & a "meat & potatoes girl" turned vegan.

Find our Sentientist Conversation here on the Sentientism YouTube and here on the Sentientism Podcast.

Coral on YouTube
Discord JoinTheConversation Invite
Coral on WorldAnvil


Rem Secora Pearl

I am a sentientist because I believe that no living being is inherently more valuable than another based on immutable traits: race, gender, age, or species. The value of life stems from pleasure, so to enslave or kill a being which can feel pleasure, or might be able to in the future (note that this includes nonsentient embryos and fetuses, but not a being which is braindead or cannot feel) is to rob it of all potential future pleasure.

United States

Oscar Horta

Why Sentientism?: "For all sentient beings"

Oscar is an animal activist and moral philosopher who is currently a professor in the Department of Philosophy and Anthropology at the University of Santiago de Compostela (USC) and is one of the co-founders of the organization Animal Ethics. Oscar is vegan and non-religious.

Oscar on Wikipedia
Oscar's Blog
Oscar on FaceBook


Derek Clark

Alleviating suffering and pain wherever it exists is the most compelling foundation for morality on offer.


Sapna Ramnani

I have a strong view that humans should look out for other creatures that share our planet.


Hannah Dominguez

Sentientism matches my philosophical perspective most accurately. All sentient beings deserve our moral consideration.

United States

Zion Lights

Zion Lights

Zion is an author and activist known for her environmental work and science communication. She is UK director of Environmental Progress. She has been a spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion (XR) UK on TV and radio, and founded and edited XR's Hourglass newspaper. She has written for The Huffington Post, authored the evidence-based nonfiction book The Ultimate Guide to Green Parenting, and given a TEDx talk. She is vegan and has a naturalistic worldview.
Zion on our SentientistConversations YouTube series and Sentientism Podcast - "Do you want a habitable planet for your children?"
Zion on Wikipedia

United Kingdom

Roy W.

Sentiocentrism just makes obvious sense.

Roy's YouTube Channel


Rom 2050

Suffering in any sentient being, even if not human, is still suffering. If our aim as individuals and society is to be "good", in any kind of definition possible, elimination of suffering is needed.



Lisa Musgrove

Acknowledging sentience and the ability to suffer in all beings, is just the first step towards a fair and decent world. We must also do everything we can to prevent that suffering.


Steven Peters

Evidence and reason shows what's real. What matters most is reducing and preventing suffering through compassion for fellow sentient beings.

Aotearoa New Zealand


Why not?

Ian Bryce

An entire morality can be constructed out of one princliple - respect for sentient beings - plus all of scientific knowledge.


Raphael Nicolle

Differences don't matter, only sentience does.

United Kingdom

Gabriel Mello

Sentientism for justice and equality.


Jeff Sebo

Jeff Sebo

Jeff is Clinical Assoc. Prof. of Environmental Studies, Affiliated Professor of Bioethics, Medical Ethics, & Philosophy, & Director of the Animal Studies M.A. Program at New York University. He is on the executive committee at the NYU Center for Environmental & Animal Protection & the advisory board for the Animals in Context series at NYU Press. He is a board member at Animal Charity Evaluators, a board member at Minding Animals International, an Exec. Cttee. member at the Animals & Society Institute, and a Senior Fellow at Sentient Media. He is vegan and has a naturalistic worldview. He has said: "My credence that Sentientism is the correct & only theory of moral status is lower than 1 but it is relatively high."
Jeff's Sentientist Conversation with Jamie is here on YouTube
(audio also on the Sentientism podcast)
Jeff on Wikipedia


Eva Hamer

Eva Hamer chained to and seated against a wall speaking into a megaphone

Eva is the operations lead for the non-profit Pax Fauna. Pax Fauna exists to design a more effective social movement for animal freedom in the U.S., using original research as well as careful study of social movement literature and the recent history of the animal movement in order to reverse the cultural norm of eating animals. Eva has been organizing in the animal freedom movement since 2015 when she started working with DxE in Chicago, where she focused on building community, writing protest music, and compiling the movements’ songs into an online songbook used by advocates around the world. She started working full time as DxE’s legal coordinator in 2018, managing the organization’s many legal cases, organizing trainings, and orchestrating large artistic demonstrations. Eva has a deep curiosity about culture in all its forms, and how social movements engage with culture both internally and externally. Through songwriting, she has explored how music and art can shape the messaging and attitudes of the animal movement. Building on a background in Kingian nonviolence, she is a dedicated student of Nonviolent Communication, and she is committed to bringing NVC’s repertoire of creative problem-solving tools to the work of building a better culture in the animal movement. Working for years as a music therapist in hospice taught Eva how to apply metrics to aspects of life that are difficult to measure- and how to judge when metrics aren’t working to tell the whole story.

Eva is non-religious and has a naturalistic worldview. She is vegan and has a sentiocentric moral scope.

Find our Sentientist Conversation here on the Sentientism YouTube and here on the Sentientism podcast.

Eva on Mastodon
Eva on Instagram
Eva at Pax Fauna


Cindy Butler Mancini, Ph.D.

I'm a sentientist because the collective denial of the suffering of other beings makes us unworthy of our privileged place among the creatures of this planet.

United States

Amanda Harris

Amanda Harris

I like to think I spend my time on this planet developing - my intellect, my reason, my compassion. It takes discipline of thought and love to rise above our basic instincts, and I am happy and willing and loving enough to work towards that discipline for the sake of my fellow sentient beings.
Amanda on Wikipedia

United Kingdom, Papua New Guinea, Australia

Stephen Rose


ward starbird

United States
End suffering!

David Turvey

Because and effect!
David on FaceBook

British Isles@One World

Mylan Engel Jr.

Why Sentientism? Because every sentient being has the capacity to be harmed, and any being with a capacity to be harmed has a moral right not to be harmed. See my “Demystifying Animal Rights” for details.


Daniela Maestre

Is an action to promote justice and equality for all sentient beings.


Tristan Katz

I'm a Sentientist because a being's physical differences from us or its intellectual capabilities do not matter for how I should treat them. The only relevant consideration is their sentience - I believe that anyone who has spent any time caring for animals knows this at some level.



Peter Tatchell

Peter Tatchell

Peter is a human rights campaigner, best known for his work with LGBT social movements. The Netflix movie, "Hating Peter Tatchell", tells the story of his life and work to date. Peter is an atheist, a humanist and campaigns for sentient animal rights, saying: "human rights and animal rights are two aspects of the same struggle against injustice" and that he advocates for a "claim to be spared suffering and offered inalienable rights" for both humans and animals.

Find his Sentientist Conversation with me here on the Sentientism YouTube and here on the Sentientism podcast. In our discussion he says: "Maybe there will come a point when Humanism ceases to be - that Humanism evolves into Sentientism. I would like to see that. And I would like to be part of the process that makes that happen."

Peter on Wikipedia

United Kingdom



Amy Halpern-Laff

United States

Sydney Fox

All is one and all beings deserve the freedom to flourish.

United States


Because every sentient being deserves to live a life free from unnecessary suffering.

South Korea

Tyler John

Flourishing and suffering feel just the same no matter whose mind they are found in.

United States

Elhussein Ali

Because I think so hard that the sentientism is the best option for us, mean all sentient beings, This is for short.

Hessenprime on FaceBook

Cairo, Egypt


Because it is altruism that makes sense!



Although I gave up meat many years ago it was relatively recently that I learned more about the exploitation and cruelty in the agricultural industry, that meant dairy cows as well as though bred for meat were often treated badly and would be killed after a few years, often male dairy calves are merely useless to them so they can be sent to the veal trade? Surely even worse than eating meat. As well as avoiding animal tested make up and skin care I try to join the animal rights community in signing petitions, raising awareness of cruelty from Taji dolphin hunting to the UK badger cull, which again is linked to practices in the dairy industry, intensive farming has spread BTB in cattle yet badgers are blamed, why? There are so many MPs in the Conservative DEFRA who are pro hunt and shoot it is hard to find a voice, but hopefully with platforms like this change is coming. The Dominion attitude has reigned for too long, even though I'm not an atheist and believe in Jesus Christ, I also think that it is human attitudes that have led to so much cruelty to people outside the West and animals in the serach for new territory and riches, a way of living alongside nature not owning it should be our goal as more sustainable peoples have known for centuries.

United Kingdom


Basic rights are not limited to one species, even if we pretend they are.


Marcus Daniell

Marcus Daniell playing tennis

Marcus is a professional tennis player. He is a philanthropist and an advocate for effective altruism through his work as the founder of High Impact Athletes and as a member of Giving What We Can. He is veg*an and has a naturalistic worldview.

Marcus' Sentientist Conversation with me is here on YouTube and Podcast.

Marcus on Wikipedia

New Zealand

Jenny Splitter

Jenny Splitter

Jenny is Managing Editor of Sentient Media. She is an award-winning journalist & science writer covering food, agriculture, climate change, biodiversity, health & technology. Her work has been published across a wide range of media outlets including Vox, Forbes, Observer, The Washington Post and New York Magazine. Jenny is a co-founder & contributing editor to the science communication project SciMoms. She is also a podcast host on the Animal Studies channel of the New Books Network & her newsletter, FutureFeed, chronicles change in the food system.

Jenny is vegan, has a naturalistic worldview (culturally reform Jewish) and considers herself a Sentientist.

Find Jenny's Sentientist Conversation with me here on the Sentientism YouTube and Sentientism Podcast. Jenny also interviewed me (Jamie Woodhouse) here for her SubStack podcast.




I believe that if you can feel than you should be free from harm inflicted by people.


United States

Walter Veit

Walter Veit

Walter is an interdisciplinary scientist, philosopher and writer focusing on biology, minds and ethics. He publishes the ‘Science and Philosophy‘ series on Psychology Today and Medium. He is vegan and has a naturalistic worldview.

Watch his Sentientist Conversation with me here or listen to the podcast version on Apple here or on other platforms here.


Australia, USA, UK


my dad told me about it and i thought yep that sounds like me

United Kingdom


I realised it’s not just humans, other beings are individuals too. They think, they feel, they have understanding.


Jonina Turzi

"I do not want to contribute to suffering."

Jonina is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and a Co-Founder of Lancaster Farm Sanctuary. She is involved in the collective liberation movement and identifies as an ecofeminist and a Sentientist.

Find our Sentientist Conversation here on the Sentientism YouTube and here on the Sentientism podcast.


Mel Dawson

Sentientism, like veganism for me, is very much a guiding principle in life. It came to me as a revelation in my late teens, that life choices held such hypocrisy. I found myself in turmoil over consuming some animals, whilst protecting others. I began to question the disparity around the world, the human injustice & wanton exploitation of the natural world. I realised I was a believer in sentientism fundamentally...that I was seeking to make decisions based on best insights into science, evidence, reason and supported with a compassionate disposition. It came natural to me, as I chose veganism. Understanding that all life has an innate right to exist..that it is not our place to attribute a 'scale of value' to beings, with humankind at the peak. Sentientism is the ultimate liberation from the man-made tyranny of rigid belief systems. It is simply 'freedom'.



Chris Shalendra

I am a sentientist because I believe evidence, reason and compassion to all beings is a necessary step to take for a better world.

Fiji Islands

Judy Tiberi

Ethical vegan for over 54 years.

United States

Liz Service

Sentientism is the best way to work out what's real and what's important.



We are not the superior animal just because we believe it is so. Too few humans acknowledge we are all animals. I am Vegan on their behalf.


Josh Milburn

"I am a sentientist because I recognise that all sentient beings have a life that can go better and worse for them. This is enough for us to recognise that they matter."

Josh is a moral and political philosopher with research interests in animal ethics, the philosophy of food, liberal and libertarian political theory, and applied ethics. He is a Lecturer in Political Philosophy and British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow based in International Relations, Politics and History at Loughborough University. Josh is the author of many articles and books, including "Just Fodder" on the ethics of feeding non-human animals and (to be published in 2023) "Food, Justice, and Animals: Feeding the World Respectfully". Josh co-hosts the Knowing Animals podcast.

Josh is vegan and has a sentiocentric moral scope. He is non-religious and has a naturalistic worldview.

Find our Sentientist Conversation on The Sentientism YouTube here or the Sentientism Podcast here.

United Kingdom

Alexander Kurz

Most of the problems we face are as much ethical as they are technological or economical or ecological.

Alex on GitHub

United States

Ariana Williams

All animals think and feel whether an ant or elephant, shark or lobster. We are not outside of the animal kingdom, we are part of it.


Aaron River

All of us & this planet.


Urmi Chanda

Compassion and reason the cornerstones of a peaceful and progressive society, and I personally wouldn't mind calling myself a sentientist. However, as a person who dabbles with faith and faith traditions, I have to respect the beliefs of many, which cannot always be backed by reason. As long as people find their peace. 🙂
Urmi's Centre for Interfaith Peace and Dialogue on Facebook


Jamie Harris

Jamie's Sentientist Conversation with me is here (YouTube and Podcast versions).
Jamie on FaceBook

United Kingdom

Richard Ryder

Richard Ryder

Richard is a writer, psychologist, and animal rights advocate. He coined the term "speciesism" in 1970 and was one of the first to use the term "Sentientism" in a positive light, after it was first used in a derogatory sense by John Rodman in 1977 to criticise Peter Singer and Richard's thinking.

Richard developed the term sentientism in a naturalistic context – using evidence and reason to infer sentience and to grant moral consideration to sentient beings. Richard still considers himself a Sentientist in this naturalistic context today. He has also developed painism, a sub-set of the sentientist worldview that focuses on the moral importance of pain over that of positive experiences and aims to resolve the tensions between rights and utilitarian approaches.

Richard on Wikipedia

United Kingdom

Jessica Lohmann

Because humans are not above nature, we are nature and therefore must protect it. All living beings have a soul, even plants.



Aditya Prakash @Soytheist

Aditya ( & @Soytheist) is an animal rights advocate from Assam in India. His @Soytheist YouTube channel focuses on taking a straightforward & rational approach to animal rights, identity politics & occasionally religion & atheism.

He is vegan and has a naturalistic worldview.

Find his Sentientist Conversation with me on the Sentientism YouTube here or Podcast here.


John Oberg

John Oberg

John is a professional animal advocate, public speaker and social media consultant. He is vegan and has a naturalistic worldview.
Watch John's guest appearance on #SentientistConversations
Listen to John's guest appearance on #SentientistConversations (out soon!)


Jules Dickinson

For me, it is an evolutionary step as a human to recognise the ‘non-human animal’ as sentient with individuality – and not objects to be commodified by us.

Jules' book, "I, Animal: Examining the Human - Animal Divide".


Jacky Z



I've considered myself a secular Humanist for the past 35 years or so, but at an even younger age, before the double digits, I felt that the injustices to other sentient beings, for example the suffering of laboratory animals for the benefit of humans and the rape of rain forests and indigenous peoples, was and still is a terribly myopic view of our role as part of life on Earth, and a completely unfair imbalance in favor of one species, or nation, at the detriment to all other sentients. I feel it's natural that these two philosophies are part of one way.

United States

Seth Oakes

I've chosen to follow this idea because I believe all life is worthy of freedom, happiness, and love with very general intrinsic value surviving in a world which they choose to avoid death and suffering as far as practicable, I also think it's very anthropocentric to trivialise the exploitation of non-human animals as commodities simply because they're different forms of life. We should really put into regard that these are sentient beings who feel pain, emotion, and nonsensically & unnecessarily suffer everyday for the sake of human gratification.

United States

Sue Barnum

Because we are more alike than not. I welcome my robot overlords as long as they are nice to my dogs.

United States


Use our gift of intellect for the good of all life.

United Kingdom


Humans have evolved to the most advanced order of Primates we are naturally sentient

United States

Sarah Boka

United States

Naomi Smith

Naomi Smith

Naomi is the CEO of Best for Britain, the UK's leading non-partisan advocacy group upholding internationalist values. Before her campaigning and political career she worked in the corporate world and chaired a number of voluntary groups. Naomi describes herself as an internationalist, xenophile, humanist, vegan. She co-hosts the Oh God What Now? (formerly Remainiacs) and The Bunker podcasts.
You can watch her Sentientist Conversation with me here on YouTube and listen here on our Podcast.

United Kingdom

Anita Alfoldi

I am a sentientist because I believe that all sentient beings have a right to Fairness and Justice. No animal should have to suffer intentionally or be condemned to suffer unimaginable pain, mental anguish, loss or death.





XeL NaGa

Ahimsa- lowest possible suffering for all sentient beings. You explain it very well.

Ian James

I believe our views should be based on naturalistic exploration of our universe, and that the most rational foundation for morality is the suffering and flourishing of sentient beings.


Bianca OrangeHealia Morris

Animals. Health. Planet. Humanity. Future.


Deborah Barrass

It’s a perfect description of my ethical and moral approach to life.


Marjorie Ramos

Marjorie Ramos

Because suffering sucks

Marjorie on Facebook

United States

Sam Battis

"All morality stems from the fact that sentient beings prefer some experiences over others. The purpose of logic, governance, and society is to cultivate the wellbeing of sentient beings, frequently by opposing or modifying the lumbering, heartless evolutionary processes that seek to dominate and potentially degrade them."

Proponent for Sentience


Julie Taylor

Julie Taylor

There is no justice for nonhuman animals in a system that ignores Sentientism. I am a Sentientist because all suffering, including all nonhuman animal suffering, deserves moral consideration.


Eight Two

I have one challenge as a moral being, to draw a line, in pencil, between what is a someone and what is a something. Along that messy line, the more certain I am that another is a someone, the less like an object, and the more like an equal subject I must treat them.


United States

Clare Harris

I think that subjective experiences matter, and suffering is wrong, no matter who or “what” experiences it.


Mary Finelli

Because sentientism is the basic criterion for moral consideration, and all sentient beings deserve respect and consideration of their interests.

Mary on FaceBook

United States



Tobias Leenaert

Tobias Leenaert headshot

Tobias is an author and a vegan advocacy consultant. He blogs at and wrote "How to Create a Vegan World". He is the co-founder of ProVeg International. He is an Effective Altruist - thinking about the best ways to achieve a compassionate society. He also describes himself as a "Slow opinionist". He has a naturalistic worldview, although remains open to the possibility there is "something more".

Find his Sentientist Conversation with me here on the Sentientism YouTube and here on the Sentientism podcast.



Frank Winfield

Vegan for the animals (and the environment and my health); atheist and sceptic because I believe in reason and logic (superstition and mythology has its place - in history and fiction); socialist because I want a decent world for the many and not the few; anti-monarchist because I have no time for undeserved privilege that sits on the backs of those born without a silver spoon in their mouths.


Samson Fernendez

Because sentience matters.


Kim Stallwood

Kim Stallwood

I am an animal rights author, independent scholar, consultant, and speaker. I have 45 years of personal commitment as a vegan and professional experience in leadership positions with some of the world’s foremost animal advocacy organisations. The Kim Stallwood Archive is held by The British Library. I wrote Growl: Life Lessons, Hard Truths, and Bold Strategies from an Animal Advocate with a Foreword by Brian May (Lantern Books, 2014). I am currently working on the biography of an elephant called Topsy. I became a vegetarian in 1974 after working in a chicken slaughterhouse and a vegan in 1976.

Kim's #SentientistConversation with me on the Sentientism YouTube and Podcast
Kim on Wikipedia


Jennifer Greene

Because I care about what's true and what's fair, and would hasten the day when it's the norm to take seriously the interests of sentient beings, human and otherwise.

United States

Steve Sapontzis

Steve Sapontzis headshot

Steve is a philosopher and professor emeritus of philosophy at California State University, East Bay who specializes in animal ethics, environmental ethics and meta-ethics. He was co-founder in 1985 of the journal Between the Species: A Journal of Ethics and served as its initial co-editor. Steve was a member of the board of the American Philosophical Quarterly (1991–1994). In 1983, Steve founded, with his wife Jeanne, the Hayward Friends of Animals Humane Society. They now operate Second Chance, Helping the Pets of People in Need, in California. Steve wrote Morals, Reason, and Animals, in 1987, Subjective Morals, in 2011, and edited Food for Thought: The Debate over Eating Meat; published in 2004.

Steve has a naturalistic worldview, saying "I don't have a religious bone in my body". He grants moral consideration to all sentient beings.

Find Steve's Sentientist Conversation with me here on the Sentientism YouTube and here on the Sentientism Podcast. We also had an earlier conversation but with a worse quality microphone so I'd suggest you watch that here one on YouTube with the subtitles switched on.

Steve on Wikipedia


Jack Geiger

I care deeply about both rationality and ethics. My ethical foundation is exactly identical to the fundamental tenants of Sentientism. My conclusions and my ethics as a whole seem to differ slightly, but we start from a very similar set of principles.


Katherine Roe

Katherine Roe headshot

Katherine is chief of Science Advancement and Outreach (SAO) at PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). SAO aims to change the paradigm of biomedical research by promoting the development and implementation of cutting-edge strategies in biomedical research and training and eliminating the use of animals in experimentation. Katherine earned her bachelor’s degrees in biology and psychology from Syracuse University and her Ph.D. in experimental psychology and cognitive science from the University of California–San Diego. After completing a postdoctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins University, she went on to become a research fellow at the National Institute of Mental Health, where she stayed for eight years. Over the course of her research career, she studied the neural correlates of linguistic, spatial, and memory processes, working with children with early focal brain injury, adults and children with schizophrenia, and individuals with Williams syndrome and related genetic disorders. Katherine has more than 20 years of experience conducting brain and neuroimaging research with humans and is an expert at experimental design and data analysis. She has been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals and has presented her findings at national and international industry conferences.

Katherine is non-religious, with a broadly naturalistic worldview. She is vegan and has a sentiocentric moral scope.

Find our Sentientist Conversation here on the Sentientism YouTube and here on the Sentientism Podcast.

Katherine at SAO
PETA's Research Modernisation Deal


Lynda Korimboccus

Lynda Korimboccus

Lynda is an anthrozoologist, sociologist and philosopher who teaches sociology in Scottish Further Education. She is also a musician, songwriter, writer and artist. Lynda is Editor-in-Chief of the Student Journal of Vegan Sociology. She is vegan and has a naturalistic worldview.

Lynda's Sentientist Conversation with me on the Sentientism YouTube and Podcast.

Lynda's recent paper in the Journal for Critical Animal Studies, "The Peppa Pig Paradox"


Madison Woodard

United States

Benny Malone

Why Sentientism?: "It’s a relevant characteristic meaning I should extend moral status and consideration - sentient beings have interests that I take into account. That’s why I’m vegan."

Benny's book "How To Argue With Vegans"

United Kingdom

Melissa Ratisher

Every sentient being values their life as I do mine, and I view it as a moral imperative for us to see and respect this similarity.



Paul Teas

"One of the things I am most certain of in life is that what is truly valuable from a moral perspective is flourishing and the absence of suffering for all creatures who can experience."


Jamie Woodhouse

I'm a sentientist because there's no better way to understand the universe than using evidence and reason and because our morality should consider any being that can suffer or flourish. @JamieWoodhouse

United Kingdom

Elise Catterall

I think the world would be a better place if we all championed animals and their sentience.
VeganCollective on FaceBook


Paul Maplesden

Critical thinking and compassion are both essential for a more nurturing world, and Sentientism brings those two things together.

Paul on Facebook

United States


not fully sure yet. i so far like what i hear but like any group like this i like to check out the people and see if they match the words


Elif Özdemir

Elif Özdemir

Cambria Summer Cat-Fae

As an empath I've always been compassionate to all Sentient Beings. Vegan as I love Animals & Environment.



Kevin Saldanha

Kevin Saldhana

We seem to have developed a different attitude to sentient animals based on their utility (or competition) to humans as written about by Jonathan Foer in 'Some we love, some we hate, some we eat'. Others, as a means of defense, attribute sentience to plants. If we are serious about Humanism, we need to understand that, as rational beings, we have to extend our circle of compassion to those who we exploit including enslaving companion animals for our own enjoyment.
Kevin on FaceBook


Diana Fleischman

Diana Fleschman

Diana is an evolutionary psychologist and senior lecturer at the University of Portsmouth. Her field of research includes the study of disgust, human sexuality, and hormones and behaviour. She is involved in the effective altruism and animal welfare movements and identifies as a feminist and a Sentientist. Diana's 2018 Darwin Day Lecture, hosted by Humanists UK, was part of the inspiration for our work developing and raising awareness of Sentientism.

Diana's #SentientistConversation with me on YouTube and Podcast
Diana on Wikipedia
@sentientist (I told you she's a Sentientist)

Brazil / UK / USA

David Pearce

David Pearce

"'May all that have life be delivered from suffering.” (Gautama Buddha) Let's help other creatures, not harm them. Any civilisation worthy of the name will be vegan. Our goal should be the well-being of all sentience."

David is a philosopher who co-founded the World Transhumanist Association, now rebranded as Humanity+, with Nick Bostrum. David writes on a range of transhumanist topics and what he calls the "hedonistic imperative", a moral obligation to work towards the abolition of suffering in all sentient life. His self-published internet manifesto, The Hedonistic Imperative, outlines how pharmacologygenetic engineeringnanotechnology and neurosurgery could converge to eliminate all forms of unpleasant experience from human and non-human life, replacing suffering with "gradients of bliss". David calls this the "abolitionist project".

The Hedonistic Imperative (HedWeb)
David on Wikipedia


Isabella Villiers-Fenn

I believe in Sentientism absolutely.



If our ability to suffer doesn't count for anything, then we could cause the greatest pain/suffering and yet not be held accountable. What decent morality maximizes suffering?

Malola on GoodReads


Marc Bekoff

Marc Bekoff

Marc is a biologist, ethologist, behavioural ecologist and writer. He is Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He is the co-founder, with Jane Goodall, of Ethologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, a fellow of the Animal Behavior Society and a former Guggenheim fellow. He lectures internationally on animal behavior, cognitive ethology (the study of animal minds), and behavioral ecology, and writes a science column about animal emotion for Psychology Today. He is an advocate for the compassionate conservation movement that aims to improve environmentalism by embedding a moral concern for individual sentient animals. In 1986 Marc won the Master's age-graded Tour de France. Marc is a vegan and has a naturalistic worldview.

Marc's #SentientistConversation on the Sentientism YouTube Channel and Podcast.
Marc on Wikipedia


Marc Bekoff

Devin Kalish

Because Humanism isn’t good enough when it tolerates the tremendous moral injustices caused by speciesism today.


Michael Keller

Because an unexamined life, is not worth living.


Allison M

Because it's sensical.


Antony Kellermann

Those who are able to suffer ought be granted moral consideration.



Latest work

Head shot of Peter Singer speaking to a audience using a microphone

"Animal Liberation Now!" - Peter Singer - Sentientism Episode 156

Peter Singer is often referred to as the “world’s most influential living philosopher.” A conversation about Sentientism's "evidence, reason and compassion for all sentient beings".
Head shot of Peter Singer speaking to a audience using a microphone

"Animal Liberation Now!" - Peter Singer - Sentientism Episode 156

Find our Sentientist conversation here on the Sentientism YouTube and here on the Sentientism Podcast.

Peter is often referred to as the “world’s most influential living philosopher.” He is the Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University. He specialises in applied ethics, approaching the subject from a secular, naturalistic, utilitarian perspective. He wrote the books "Animal Liberation", Why Vegan? and "Animal Liberation Now!" (launched on the same day as our Sentientism episode - join his speaking tour here!), in which he argues against speciesism and for a shift to plant-based food systems and veganism. He also wrote the essay "Famine, Affluence, and Morality" and the books "The Life You Can Save" & "The Most Good You Can Do" which argue for effective altruism - using evidence & reasoning to do the most good we can for all sentient beings both human and not.

In 2004 Peter was recognised as the Australian Humanist of the Year by the Council of Australian Humanist Societies. In 2005, the Sydney Morning Herald placed him among Australia's ten most influential public intellectuals. Singer is a cofounder of Animals Australia & the founder of The Life You Can Save. In 2021 he received the Berggruen Prize for Philosophy and Culture. Peter donated the $1 million prize money to the most effective organizations working to assist people in extreme poverty and to reduce the suffering of animals in factory farms.

In Sentientist Conversations we talk about the two most important questions: “what’s real?” & “what matters?”

Sentientism is “evidence, reason & compassion for all sentient beings.” The audio is on our Podcast here on Apple & here on all the other platforms.

We discuss:
00:00 Welcome

  • Animal Liberation Now! – why now?
  • Sentientism's links to ancient naturalistic and sentiocentric themes of thought & Peter's work
  • Sentientism's 1) naturalism, 2) sentiocentrism & ethical pluralism, 3) implications of not needlessly harming or killing
  • "What needlessly killing amounts to… is a question… that could have a lot of discussion"
  • "In terms of what really matters in itself I agree that Sentientism is the right view"
  • The challenges of the words speciesism & sentientism - too many syllables!
  • Peter's entry on our "I'm a Sentientist" wall

06:12 What's Real?

  • Non-religious Jewish parents "they came to Australia as refugees from the Nazis, leaving Austria"
  • Mother "a fervent agnostic… there isn't reason to believe in a god or a supernatural being or life after death"
  • "In some parts of the United States it's almost necessary to belong to a religion to have a community"
  • Rabbi cousin in Mobile, Alabama "When I say god I mean whatever it is in the universe that is a force for good… (e.g. some human beings)"
  • "I kind of thought of them as fairy stories"
  • Childhood meeting with Catholic kids "don't ask him any more questions - he'll only blacken his soul & go to hell… I wasn't in the least frightened"
  • Good aspects of religions: "they tend to promote charity to the poor" (zakat, tithing)
  • Negative aspects of religions: Religious wars & "very often a conservative force against what I see as progressive reforms"
  • "If there were no religious teachings against #abortion I don't think the US would be divided over the issue"
  • Voluntary assisted dying "fortunately that legislation is spreading"
  • Why religious organisations get social licence to continue #sexism , #homophobia , #transphobia
  • "[Religious] teachings about sex which have been a very negative influence… making people feel guilty"
  • "The highest rate of unwanted teenage pregnancies in the US is precisely in the most religous parts"… rejecting contraception ("that would be sinful" - sex outside of marriage), getting pregnant, then facing abortion prohibitions
  • #Descartes was a sentiocentrist (but thought only "ensouled" humans can suffer). That's why you need naturalism too!
  • "I think consequences matter" #consequentialism & #utilitarianism
  • "Perhaps you want to embrace people who are religious & who are sympathetic towards animals & bring them towards #sentientism ?" The work of Andrew Linzey, Charles Camosy, David Clough
  • Previous guest Lisa Kemmerer
  • #Sentiocentrism vs. #Sentientism as #Anthropocentrism vs. #Humanism
  • "I totally agree with you about the value of evidence & reason"… #effectivealtruism
  • Religious effective altruists use evidence & reasoning but "would leave evidence & reason at the door for some of their specifically religious beliefs"
  • JW: "If we acknowledge the validity of unfounded beliefs in some domains it can make it a little harder to push back on them in domains where we're really worried about the effects"
  • Postmodernism & standpoint epistemology
  • “I was certainly very hard on Christianity… Aquinas said… we do not have any direct duties to them [animals] because they do not have souls and are not made in the image of god” [in the 1975 Animal Liberation]. “I’ve taken a slightly softer line in Animal Liberation Now!”

26:25 What Matters?

  • Working with Peter’s father: honesty & reputation “In the long run it would have good consequences”
  • “Brought up with a sense of not inflicting suffering on sentient beings… although we were big meat eaters”
  • Being invited to go fishing with friends. Father: “Do you really want to catch these fish up and wash them slowly die in the air?”
  • “There was definitely a concern for non-human animals but not to the extend of enquiring too much about how they were reared & killed”
  • The badness of suffering vs. nihilism, relativism
  • Reading Bertrand Russell “Within humans he was clearly… concerned with minimising suffering and maximising happiness”
  • Criticisms of utilitarianism: JW: “A disconnection from the individuals concerned… containers of utility… replacement, aggregation, offsetting”?
  • “We do have to aggregate… but I don’t think that should prevent us from empathy with individuals”
  • “Utilitarianism does accept that sometimes you have to allow or even cause suffering to one person to prevent more suffering to others… but the idea that we don’t then have empathy for the people who suffer”
  • “…Utility is a liquid that we pour into more containers… that seems to me to be wrong… suffering & happiness always are instantiated in one sentient being… no such thing as pleasure & pain floating around the universe unattached to a sentient being.”
  • “Offset“ suffering still exists!
  • Some effective altruists “but why does it follow that I should be vegan… maybe it would be more effective… to give to an effective charity fighting for animals?”… “Well why not do both?”
  • Going vegan “not only reduces demand for meat… but it sets an example & it makes it more likely others will… as in fact I did by having lunch with one.”
  • Testing people’s animal ethics by applying them to human animals

38:58 Who Matters?

  • “Those initial seeds [of compassion for non-human sentients]… failed to germinate for a very long time… I’m not at all proud of that”
  • “I became a vegetarian after accidentally having lunch with a vegetarian… I was 24 at the time… I had never had a serious conversation with a vegetarian about why they were vegetarian”
  • “I don’t know that I’d even met a vegetarian… for young people today that is unthinkable… there are vegetarians everywhere… vegetarian options on the menu…”
  • “I was already studying ethics… I should have questioned the boundaries of moral concern many years earlier”
  • “It was a bit of a shock… I’d never seriously enquired into what animals are going through to be turned into meat.”
  • “I assumed the animals I was eating had generally had a reasonably natural, tranquil, protected life and then had one bad day”
  • “Eating meat every day… & not really enquiring what happens to the animals… looking back on it now it’s shocking but… it was the default”
  • Philosophy, psychology, sociology, politics: “There’s a long history of humans believing what’s convenient for them to believe” e.g. Jefferson and US enslavement
  • “We find it convenient… we don’t want to go against social norms…”
  • The “future generations will condemn us (but I’m still not going to change)”
  • Using reason & evidence to attribute sentience “it’s changing right now” e.g. UK legislation extending sentience attribution to invertebrate cephalopods (e.g. octopuses) & decapods (e.g. lobsters & crabs) based on Jonathan Birch’s LSE ASENT research
  • Bivalves, insects, even plant sentience? “I’ve taken the possibility of plant sentience more seriously in the new edition… I’m still guessing not because there isn’t a brain or a central nervous system… but I’m less certain”
  • Philosophy of mind: illusionism, panpsychism…
  • “I’ve not gone deeply into panpsychism… I see no reason for believing that electrons or quarks could be sentient”
  • “A reasonably complex organism… some kind of brain & nerve centres… the more complex it is the more likely it is that there’s sentience… correlates with more complex behaviours”
  • Insects: “Such a huge variety… it seems very unlikely the answer is yes or no” e.g. bees vs. mealworms
  • Previous guest Luke Roelofs - Could “micro-conscious” entities be insentient (no perceptions, sensations, thoughts…) – only “macro-conscious” entities are
  • The first uses of the word “Sentientism” by Rodman & Lewis to criticise sentiocentrism as another form of human discrimination
  • Biocentrism & ecocentrism. Arne Naess. “There are a lot of people who want to find intrinsic value in nature… I am somewhat uncomfortable… I really enjoy being in nature…”
  • The ethereal experience of walking in an ancient forest with family “It somehow strikes me that it would be a kind of vandalism to chop it down”
  • Wouldn’t a consistent ecocentrist care about a lifeless/sentientless planet as much as ours?
  • When environmentalism’s disregard for non-human sentients exposes underlying anthropocentrism
  • The environmental impact (emissions, pollution, energy, land use) of animal agriculture “environmental groups are now serving more vegan food when you go to their events”
  • “It’s a wasteful system because we have to grow so many crops to feed to these animals… and we get back… maybe 10%”
  • Considering agency, dignity as other characteristics beyond sentience?
  • “This idea that there’s some special dignity about human beings… that does not apply to any non-human animals - is really groundless”
  • “Some animals have agency in ways that some humans don’t”
  • Agency as a basis for blame, punishment, praise, encouragement “that works with those who are agents and especially with agents with whom we can communicate”
  • Agency “is relevant in that sense… but it’s a different question… from does this being have intrinsic value… and I don’t think you need agency for that… our own infants… it’s clear they don’t have agency – but does that mean that their suffering doesn’t matter?”
  • Future guest Nicolas Delon re: agency as a way of extending moral consideration beyond sentience

01:10:05 How Can We Make A Better Future?

  • The “Animal Liberation Now!” clarion call re: rejecting speciesism, recognising equal consideration of like interests, for “liberation” vs. ideas of “humane killing”, “conscientious omnivorism”, focusing on factory farming & suffering reduction
  • JW: The risk of an end state “where we’ve actually got a larger animal agriculture system… where more animals are being killed & exploited & imprisoned… but we’ve found some way to re-brand these exercises as humane, high-welfare, sustainable… and on we go!”
  • “My clarion call is really clear against suffering & exploitation – it’s not so clear… about death”
  • “Sometimes it’s good for someone to die… when for example they’re suffering & their suffering can’t be alleviated… With humans… we would generally ask for their consent… but parents should sometimes be able to make that choice on behalf of their child (euthanasia for profoundly disabled infants)”
  • Compassionate euthanasia without consent for non-humans (e.g. companion animals)
  • Free-ranging hens living happy lives: “Is it a bad thing to have hens who live for a certain number of years and are then killed? – I find that a difficult philosophical question…”
  • A positive life on condition you are killed vs. not existing at all?
  • Derek Parfit’s “Reasons and Persons” & population ethics
  • “I’m genuinely uncertain about those arguments in respect of issues about humans and I’m therefore equally uncertain about them in respect to non-human animals”
  • Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel “Never Let Me Go”
  • JW: “As soon as we have created it (them), I think we then have a moral obligation to that being as a moral patient which means that to kill them against their interests… their interests in continuing to live… is just a wrong thing… regardless of whatever deal we’ve done with ourselves in advance”
  • “But then of course we won’t have any more chickens” JW: “I’m totally comfortable with that… The chicken that doesn’t exist isn’t a sentient being so isn’t a moral patient so cannot be harmed.”
  • “We do have a genuine disagreement… I’m much more ambivalent on that question than you are”
  • Peter’s “One World” book re: global governance
  • “We have to try everything… using evidence & reason”
  • Peter’s study with Eric Schwitzgebel – student meal choices were affected by exposure to animal ethics
  • Alternative proteins at scale; plant-based or cellular
  • Campaigning for improved farmed animal conditions: “the evidence suggests that those countries that have the best animal welfare standards… also have the highest rates of vegan & vegetarian living… it will increase the price of meat… that will make it easier for these alternatives to compete with meat.”
  • Re-writing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the SDGs from a Sentientist perspective: A Universal Declaration of Sentient Rights?
  • “We do need stronger global institutions… we seem to have moved away from stronger global institutions”
  • Effective Altruism: doing the most good possible using evidence & reason
  • Challenges to effective altruism (beyond do-gooder derogation): disconnection from the individual, demandingness & maximisation risks, ends/means, unintended consequences, neo-liberal / tech solution / NGO bias vs. state / democratic, corporatisation of philanthropy, eurocentrism, welfarism, the book “The Good It Promises, The Harm It Does”…?
  • “A lot of those challenges are based on misunderstandings of the movement… I think it’s very open to what is the best thing to do”
  • “They’re very open people – and if somebody comes out with a hypothesis… they will certainly look at that”
  • Poverty: “Just to say it’s global capitalism seems to me very simplistic – there’s been poverty long before there was global capitalism and there’s poverty in places where they’re not very much affected by global capitalism… and I haven’t seen anybody give any good accounts for how they’re going to get rid of global capitalism… but if somebody does come up with a plan… effective altruists will be very open to that.”
  • Europe/US/Global North/West: “That’s where a lot of the resources are… a lot of people that can help others in need. The largest numbers of people in extreme poverty are in the ‘south’”
  • “The groups that are supported by effective altruism don’t just march in to communities and say ‘this is what you need’… some of them, for example GiveDirectly, don’t even want to tell them how to spend them money… they want to increase their money” JW: “Trusting the people you’re trying to help”
  • “I reject the idea that this is… ‘a white saviour complex’… you ask the people in these impoverished villages whether they would like to have assistance and they say ‘yes’. If they didn’t say ‘yes’ then you wouldn’t do it.”
  • “I’ve met some truly wonderful people through effective altruism… they are both altruistic and often very thoughtful… it’s inspiring… donating money or time… donating a kidney to complete strangers!”
  • “During COVID it was effective altruists (One Day Sooner) who organised the volunteers for human challenge trials… if we get a vaccine one day sooner it will save lives… they were prepared to be infected with COVID… then they would get a candidate vaccine… in order to speed up vaccine development… There was a surprising amount of reluctance to… accept what they were asking to do for the world”
  • “It’s clear that philosophy can change the world”
  • People making positive changes after reading Animal Liberation & The Life You Can Save

Following Peter:

Sentientism is “Evidence, reason & compassion for all sentient beings.” More at

Join our “I’m a Sentientist” wall using this simple form.

Everyone, Sentientist or not, is welcome in our groups. The biggest so far is here on Facebook.

Thanks to Graham for the post-production and to Tarabella and Denise for helping to fund this episode via our Sentientism Patreon.

Headshot of MIchael Hauskeller

Dogs and pigs have meaningful lives! - Philosopher Michael Hauskeller - Sentientism Episode 155

Find our Sentientist Conversation here on the Sentientism podcast and here on the Sentientism YouTube.

Michael is head of philosophy at the University of Liverpool. His current work spans transhumanism, death and meaning. He has written on whether non-human animals can have meaningful lives and What It Is Like to Be a Bot. He says of his work: “As a philosopher, I am a generalist, which is a nice way of saying that I have done many different things and I am not really an expert on anything in particular. Most people would probably tag me as an ethicist, but this is only true in a very broad sense. Figuring out what is right and what is wrong, permissible or impermissible, does not hold much interest for me. It seems to me that when people are debating these questions they are actually arguing about something else, namely who we want to be and in what kind of world we want to live. For me, doing philosophy is ultimately a sustained attempt to get to grips with this “deeply puzzling world” (to borrow an expression of Mary Midgley’s), to understand it and to understand our place in it. Philosophy is not business; it’s personal, more akin to therapy than to science. It’s about finding out what is actually going on and what we are doing here. Can philosophy provide an answer to these questions? I don’t know. All we can do is keep on trying. Perhaps what matters is not that we find an answer, but that we keep the question alive.”

In Sentientist Conversations we talk about the two most important questions: “what’s real?” & “what matters?”

Sentientism is “evidence, reason & compassion for all sentient beings.” The audio is on our Podcast here on Apple & here on all the other platforms.

We discuss:

00:00 Welcome
01:42 Michael's Intro

  • What it means to be human, to live a good life, a meaningful life
  • Transhumanism & human enhancement
  • Meaning & life & death
  • When dealing with foundational, broad questions: "It is very difficult to be precise… I hardly ever feel that 'now I've got it'"

06:06 What's Real?

  • "It's much easier to point at something & disuss whether that is real"
  • "If you can name something then in some sense it must be real"
  • Raised #Christian & sent to Sunday school & Bible classes & regular confessions to the village priest
  • "I sort of believed there was a god when I was little"
  • A god watching me "a means of controlling me… Big Brother in heaven… it was just oppressive… a punishing god, a critical god"
  • "I didn't feel the presence… I just believed that there was something because I was told there was something"
  • "Very quickly I dropped my religious beliefs… as soon as I started to think for myself I became an #atheist"
  • "It just faded away… it was always superficial"
  • "Some people take me for a Christian because I share some of the intuitions religious believers have"
  • "I'm not entirely comfortable with calling myself a naturalist although I don't believe in anything supernatural"
  • "Naturalism is also very programmatic & ideological"
  • "There are a lot of things in this world that we cannot understand…& some naturalists are very confident that we can understand everything & that's there's no mystery… there is a lot of mystery."
  • Max More's #transhumanism … pits science vs. religion
  • Origins of the universe & life & consciousness "we don't know!" Science might figure it out - it might not
  • "… whatever there is is part of nature"
  • Over-confidence vs. humility
  • The subjective & the objective
  • Plato & Parmenides: "being is more real than becoming"… "but we live in a world of becoming… how can that be less real?"
  • The "normative use of reality"… to "declare something else as not real… a term to deny something else its reality"
  • The denial of animal suffering "not so common any more" & the #cartesian model
  • "If you see an animal in pain you know it is in pain… it takes a lot of willful blindness not to acknowledge…"
  • "One of the reasons… why animals could not possibly feel any pain… because it would then be far too horrible how we treat animals… god wouldn't allow it!"
  • "If we assume the world is good & we see all the apparent suffering… then it cannot be… A moral reason behind denying the suffering of animals"
  • JW "An echo of a religious mode of thought that's then re-built in a humanist mode of thought"
  • "If we have evolved naturally… there's no reason to assume our brains are capable of understanding the universe… what possible use can it have?"
  • "A naturalistic perspective should actually teach us humility"

29:03 What Matters?

  • "I don't think that my early Christian upbringing has shaped my morals ideas & values"
  • "Morally I've been shaped… mostly by watching certain TV shows like Lassie & The Waltons & Little House on The Prairie… taught me what it means to do something right & something wrong… People & animals being in certain relations with each other"
  • "Being nice to each other… being decent… qualities that do not play a major role in ethical discussions but I think they are foundational"
  • Vs. #nihilism, #divinecommandtheory, #relativism, #egoism, transactional…
  • "I find it very difficult to align myself with a particular ethical system… #utilitarian … #Kantian … whatever… those systems highlight different aspects… that are all important"
  • "It's a wrong approach to say 'if we have conflicting moral intuitions one of them must be false'"
  • "When philosophers try to tell you that there's one right answer… I'm always suspicious."
  • “To think that there must be a right answer somehow assumes that we can live a perfectly good life”
  • Writing “Biotechnology and the integrity of life” & dignity
  • Bernard Rollin and the challenges to utilitarianism: When suffering reduction seems wrong (e.g. genetically engineering chickens to suffer less in factory farms)
  • “There seems to be something wrong in creating a living being that isn’t able to feel anything” Would enslavement be OK if we created humans that couldn’t suffer – or enjoyed being enslaved?
  • “Integrity… a word you use in order to capture a certain intuition… perhaps in the hope that by giving an intuition a name it becomes more real”
  • Luna intervenes

45:35 Who Matters?

  • Reading Peter Singer’s “Animal Liberation” & going vegetarian “I didn’t want to participate in practices that caused so much animal suffering”
  • Later “I stopped being a vegetarian so I reverted to a morality, at least in practice, that was smaller, narrower in scope than what it used to be”
  • “I’m a bit reluctant to reconsider the theory just to match my behaviour… people’s theories are very much influenced by what they want to be true”
  • The hypocrisy of adapting theory to match behaviour vs. the hypocrisy of behaviour not matching theory
  • “Why did I stop? The cynical answer would be that I got tired of being good… it takes so much effort… socially… it became probably too inconvenient.”
  • “I still believe that, obviously, animals have moral status and that animal lives matters and that animal suffering matters”
  • “We cannot live without killing” (e.g. crop deaths)
  • “It is utopian to think we could all live peacefully together without hurting each other… that does not mean you cannot reduce the suffering that you cause… I don’t really have a justification for why I’m not doing that more than I’m currently doing”
  • Ivory tower vs. activist vs. ordinary people philosophers
  • Why moral philosophers don’t seem to behave better than other humans
  • Ethics, morality and meaning “Defending a subjectivist conception of meaning in life”
  • “I don’t think meaning is an objective quality of life… but rather it is an aspect of the experience”
  • Meaning doesn’t have to “serve a higher purpose… or connect to some objective values”
  • The problems of paradigmatic cases of meaningful lives… famous people like Mother Theresa, Gandhi, Picasso, Einstein… people who did important things
  • “If that is the paradigm that you use in order to understand what a meaningful life looks like – the result is that most lives look meaningless… it seems to me this is wrong.”
  • “Even thought it might not be important from the perspective of the world or of society… they might just live their lives… no one takes any notice of it… they will be completely forgotten… but that doesn’t mean they don’t live meaningful lives”
  • You don’t have to do “important things” to have a meaningful life
  • “Many people just live ordinary lives… that does not mean their lives are not meaningful… there are things in those lives that they follow with interest… that are important to them”
  • “Meaning being subjective… a quality of our experience”
  • “I just don’t get the notion of objective value”… things mattering to us is enough
  • “The very notion of objective value appears obscure to me… I don’t understand what it means to say that something is valuable if nobody values it!”
  • “Value that isn’t realised by anyone”?
  • “Things matter if they matter to someone”
  • Michael’s “Living Like A Dog” paper
  • William James’ “On a certain blindness in human beings” “We have to assume that there’s always more to the experience of someone that is different from ourselves than we can possibly understand… because the other is the other”
  • “It seems to me the same is the case with animals… it’s not even that difficult”
  • “Many philosophers… their theories clearly exclude animals from having meaningful lives… very anthropocentric… you have to do things like art or philosophy in order to have a meaningful life… not just eat and drink and sleep… what we share with other animals is not what makes our life meaningful… what goes beyond the animal… what surpasses the animal in us”
  • “To say that non-human animals do not have meaningful lives… we judge their lives as not worth living”
  • “In reality we very much associate a meaningless life with a life not worth living… or that has a very reduced value”
  • “A live that is meaningless… is not worth protecting… is not worth any moral consideration”
  • Michael’s dog companion “Whatever she does there is interest there… you can see that clearly her life… is meaningful for her in the sense of being significant”
  • “We have this idea that only human lives are truly worth living”
  • A transhumanist take on animal rights
  • Previous guest and co-founder of the World Transhumanist Association David Pearce
  • Human enhancement would “leave behind” non-human animals so “we also have an obligation to uplift animals to a human status and beyond… because the life of a non-human animal is ‘bad’ because it is the life of an animal… even the best animal life… is a bad life… they cannot do art, philosophy, politics…”
  • “For me that is so weird because it assumes that our lives are the best lives”
  • John Stuart Mill’s “Better to be an unhappy Socrates than an happy pig”… “what’s wrong with happy pigs?… for a pig to be a happy pig is the best you can ever be… It’s not the case that the pig would be better off if they were a human.”
  • The risks of transhumanist elitism even within the human species
  • Would re-engineering animals (human or not) so we cannot suffer be a good thing?
  • Eradicating or herbivorising predators?
  • “Again there is this unease about it… does the suffering also have a value?… what gets lost if we cannot suffer any more?”
  • “What happens to love?… If I cannot suffer when something bad happens to the one I love… I cannot suffer from the loss of the one I love… If I am indifferent… How can I say I love them?”
  • “If you remove suffering a lot of other things will also change… you cannot just isolate one thing and take it out… it will all be affected.”
  • “Even the word wrong seems wrong to me”… “Just because we cannot articulate it [what might be lost] with sufficient clarity doesn’t mean it isn’t there…”
  • The naturalistic fallacy: “I wouldn’t want to say that just because it’s natural it’s good but in natural things… there is horror… but there is also a lot of beauty… predators are beautiful too and that beauty should count for something”
  • Plotinus “beauty is the shine of the good”
  • “The beauty of the world is important… an indication of what is worth protecting”
  • Humility vs. “to think you can redesign the world… to create a world in which no one suffers… there’s no humility in there”
  • “Some who pursue those goals would deny precisely that [humility]”
  • John Harris: “Humility is not a virtue… you should be proud and ambitious”
  • “I don’t think there is an overall referee that could actually make the ultimate decision about who is right and who is wrong… it’s about us making certain decisions… creating the kind of world and also preserving the kind of world that we want to have”

01:26:44 How Can We Make a Better Future?

  • “My hope is somehow that we become more caring & less ideological & less self-destructive”
  • Politics: Brexit “and the willingness to commit economic suicide… the anti-immigration impulse”
  • “After 4 years of Trump being president more than 70 million Americans still want to have him again… should govern… one should emulate… the lack of decency”
  • “He’s the opposite of decency – he’s pure nastiness… that nastiness is not only being tolerated but admired and approved of… and he is just the tip of the iceberg”
  • Putin’s attack on Ukraine “It defies any reason”
  • “It’s not only that people are irrational… they seem to positively delight in destruction and chaos…"
  • “I’m a bit disillusioned… I assumed somehow that people are reasonable… to find a compromise… to get along with each other.”
  • “But the fact is we are a horrible species… we do things just for the sake of destruction and chaos”
  • “I only see it getting worse and worse – I’m quite pessimistic at the moment.”
  • JW “Philosophy can play an important role… but it can’t be disconnected… it has to be plugged into a realistic understanding of human psychology and social norms and political will”

Sentientism is “Evidence, reason & compassion for all sentient beings.” More at

Join our “I’m a Sentientist” wall using this simple form.

Everyone, Sentientist or not, is welcome in our groups. The biggest so far is here on Facebook.

Thanks to Graham for the post-production and to Tarabella and Denise for helping to fund this episode via our Sentientism Patreon.

Headshot of Elan Abrell wearing a blue shirt

"With great power comes great responsibility" - Elan Abrell - Anthropologist & Author - Sentientism Episode 154

Find our Sentientist Conversation here on the Sentientism YouTube and here on the Sentientism Podcast.

Elan is a cultural anthropologist focusing on human-animal interactions, environmental justice, and food politics. He is assistant professor of the practice in environmental studies and coordinator of the animal studies minor at Wesleyan University. He is the author of the Gregory Bateson Prize winning book: "Saving Animals: Multispecies Ecologies of Rescue and Care". He also contributed a chapter called "The Empty Promises of Cultured Meat" to the book "The Good it Promises, the Harm It Does: Critical Essays on Effective Altruism".

In Sentientist Conversations we talk about the two most important questions: “what’s real?” & “what matters?”

Sentientism is “evidence, reason & compassion for all sentient beings.” The audio is on our Podcast here on Apple & here on all the other platforms.

We discuss:

00:00 Welcome
01:25 Elan's Intro

  • Cultural anthropology and teaching animal studies "my favourite thing to teach!"
  • Appearing on Knowing Animals & Our Hen House
  • Working with Kathryn Gillespie

02:42 What's Real?

  • Raised mostly #secular
  • Dad believed in #reincarnation
  • At 12yrs old becoming aware of major religions & thinking "probably none of them are right"
  • "Materialist with a small 'm', empiricist with a small 'e'"
  • "Probably when we die, we die… that just makes our lives more poignant & important"
  • Being given a bible stories book by a #jehovahswitness "this god person is really cruel… like a villain"
  • "Reassuring in a humbling kind of way… I'm a tiny part of this vast universe… we're no less important for that"
  • "Mildly #agnostic… I know that I don't know"
  • Not spiritual but "a certain sense of wonder"
  • An #ayahuasca retreat. Most others talked of "spiritual" experiences. "I felt pretty in touch with the particles of the universe… I don't have any anthropomorphic encounters to explain I just felt deeply in touch with creation and appreciative that I'm a part of it… that went down like a lead balloon."
  • Ego dissolution… "the seed of #sentience … that I share… with other animals"

17:00 What Matters?

  • #comics : "#spiderman was my favourite super-hero… with great power comes great responsibility" (vs. #judgedredd and "law and order" 🙂 )
  • "We have an obligation to help each other when we can"
  • Fairness: "Some people's extra benefit isn't really worth anybody else's suffering"
  • "I don't have a #utilitarianism perspective of maximising pleasure… but for each individual who experiences the world they deserve to have minimal suffering & maximal enjoyment of life"
  • Understanding bad actions that may be a response to trauma or desperation - not bad ethics
  • "An openness to understanding what might be motivating people even in conflicts"
  • Neil Levy: "Why bad beliefs happen to good people"
  • Peter Singer (future Sentientism guest - forthcoming episode)
  • Ethical pluralism: #care/#virtue/#deontological/relational ethics as long as all sentient beings get to count "that's exactly right"
  • #elonmusk & the ethics of self-driving cars "it's deeply flawed if you can take individual lives & throw them away without their consent because you think it will actually benefit more people in the long run"
  • #consequentialism
  • Risks of utilitarianism: aggregating, offsetting, replacement, maximisation, ends justifying means, epistemic / ethical uncertainty & risk

26:21Who Matters?

  • Beyond #anthropocentrism
  • Growing up "having relationships with members of other species"
  • "It always struck me as silly - the idea that other animals don't have emotions & feelings & experiences… some things feel intuitive to a child's mind… you almost need to think your way out of it."
  • Solipsism & other people being "NPCs" (non-player characters)
  • Diverse experiences within & across species
  • Matti Wilks "children are much less speciesist than adults"
  • Delci Winders "we met in high school & she explained to me why she is #vegan… that day… I have to be vegan"
  • "I felt an absolute anger at the #injustice "
  • "Since I've mellowed a bit… a broader perspective… tempered the self-righteousness."
  • At 17: "The rabbit & I just became bonded buddies… I don't want to eat pigs who are like this… or cows who are like this… a couple of years feeling guilty because I became aware of the fact that my diet was coming from this kind of violence…"
  • "It was the 90's & I didn't know other people like that"
  • Having compassion for those facing social & practical barriers to veganism
  • “It is accurate to compare it to a religious conversion experience”
  • “It’s more than just making one choice… I’m going to reorient my whole life based on ethics”
  • “It became easier & easier… it doesn’t even feel like I’m trying to do anything anymore”
  • Moral purity & sacrifice vs. compassion as drivers of veganism
  • “I have some nostalgia for that time [when veganism was hard]… it was rewarding.”
  • “…elements of praxis & habitus that aren’t there now… I’m not complaining about it”
  • Biocentrism/ecocentrism “I feel conflicted about it”. These ideas aren’t new for many indigenous cultures.
  • Plant communication through fungal networks. Possibility of forms of sentience we can’t understand? The precautionary principle
  • “But I’m also used to years of people saying ‘but what if carrots have feelings?!’”
  • “Let’s be keep being open to those possibilities & adjust if we learn new things…”
  • Artificially Intelligent sentience? “We could also just not make the [sentient] AI”
  • Exclusion is more of a problem than over-inclusion.

49:43 How To Make a Better Future?

  • Cultural anthropology’s role in change
  • “There is no easy solution to that question”
  • “We’re not going to solve those problems with neo-liberal capitalism or global capitalism… it has an inability to address those problems because it permanently has to grow”
  • Compassionate capitalism? “The way the machine is designed - it requires a constant inequality”
  • Socialism, communism… something different?
  • Individualism vs. “we are social animals”
  • People using human nature as an explanation “yes we can be greedy, yes we can be self-interested… we can also be tremendously altruistic and practice mutual aid and make choices to help other people”
  • “I would love to see alternative proteins entirely replace animal agriculture… but we’re still going to have food injustice & environmental problems… if we don’t also shift how we think about food – should it be a right?”
  • Risks of authoritarianism or individuals being harmed for group ends
  • “I’m an anarchist at heart… small scale vegan anarchist communes?”
  • “I don’t think that appreciating the collective… your social connections to others & your bonds to others has to lead to a situation in which individuals are being subsumed into this group mind… the two things can be equally valued and balanced against each other”
  • “The claim by people who are perpetuating intolerant ideologies that their perspective should be treated as an inherent identity… that others will tolerate… is contradictory and absurd… I don’t have to tolerate your racism or your sexism or your homophobia… I don’t have to make a space to respect that.”
  • Making space for freedom of expression
  • Respecting aesthetic production & art & education
  • “Balancing the value of the individual and the collective at the same time”
  • Might capitalism emerge again from anarchism? “It might even be probable if there isn’t a reorientation”
  • “I don’t think there’s anything inherent to humans as a collective that makes capitalism an end goal”
  • The role of animal sanctuaries and the “Saving Animals” book
  • Working at sanctuaries “A lot of sanctuaries do function as inter-species anarchist commune models” although there is some hierarchy and power differentials – and they’re not self sufficient
  • Ethics of care
  • “They’re not functioning as a mechanism of saving vast numbers of animals, but…” that’s not what they’re trying to do
  • JW: “Even small impacts are meaningful”
  • Human unhoused: “No one is making a serious argument that because there are so may unhoused people there shouldn’t be shelters or support or opportunities for people.”
  • “It’s a put into practice approach to that idea – that everybody matters… a model of that kind of ethical orientation”
  • “The fact that there’s a growing number of people dedicating their lives to creating these spaces to help animals… becomes a part of the cultural consciousness… that’s how cultural shift happens over time.”
  • “Demonstrating that these animal lives matter – and that they’re going to do something about it”
  • JW: Inter-group contact theory across species “recognising this different way of being is possible”
  • Sanctuaries are not panaceas
  • Pattrice Jones and Vine Sanctuary
  • The role of sanctuaries in #JustTransition away from animal agriculture & exploitation
  • Different visions for sanctuaries: visitors? Trade-offs
  • “Animals are losing their spaces”
  • Ways of co-habitation?
  • “The ideal goal for all sanctuaries would be that they don’t need to exist… that animals don’t need to be in captivity”
  • JW: Animal agriculture as a “forced, relentless, repeated extinction over & over again”
  • The role of education – teaching animal studies
  • “We’re seeing a growth of animal studies across a lot of different disciplines… a response to increased interest among students”
  • “They’re really interested in thinking through this topic – but they’re not coming in as vegans, they’re not coming in as animal activists”
  • “I don’t see my classes as a means to convert people… let them think… I’ve seen a lot of people really shift”
  • There’s a block for some students “don’t want to mingle human issues with animal issues… risks dehumanising humans… but then they do see connections”

Following Elan: @ElanAbrell, buy “Saving Animals”.

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