We are Sentientists

Why are these people considered ‘nearly’ sentientist?

These are people who have been nominated as a Suspected Sentientist, but don’t seem to be Sentientist (yet). This is either because they don’t seem to have a naturalistic worldview (committed to evidence and reason, rejecting supernatural beliefs) or because they don’t seem to grant meaningful moral consideration to all sentient beings.

Thank you for nominating people. If you have further input I’d love to hear it in the comments for each person. If you are one of these people, feel free to correct things and post yourself on our Wall of Sentientists!

Andy Norman

Nearly Sentientist
Discussion and points of difference

Andy Norman, PhD is the author of “Mental Immunity: Infectious Ideas, Mind-Parasites, and the Search for a Better Way to Think“. His work has appeared in Scientific American, Psychology Today, Skeptic, Free Inquiry & The Humanist. He has appeared on The Joe Rogan Experience, public radio, The BBC’s Naked Scientist & The Young Turks. He champions the emerging science of mental immunity as the antidote to disinformation, propaganda, hate, and division. He likes to help people develop immunity to bad ideas. Andy directs the Humanism Initiative at Carnegie Mellon University & is the founder of CIRCE, the Cognitive Immunology Research Collaborative.

He has a naturalistic worldview and does grant moral consideration based on sentience but is still working on removing sentient animal products from his lifestyle.

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

Frans de Waal

Nearly Sentientist
Discussion and points of difference

Frans’ Sentientist Conversation with me is on the Sentientism YouTube and podcast.

Frans was a primatologist and ethologist. He was the Charles Howard Candler Professor of Primate Behavior in the Department of Psychology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center at Emory and the author of numerous books including “Chimpanzee Politics”, “Our Inner Ape” and “The Bonobo and the Atheist”. He featured in TV/radio productions and TED talks viewed by tens of millions of people. His research centered on primate social behavior, including conflict resolution, cooperation, inequity aversion, and food-sharing. He was a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.

While Frans did largely grant moral consideration based on sentience he did still consume some non-mammalian sentient animal products. Frans was an atheist and had a naturalistic worldview. He wrote extensively on the evolutionary histories and naturalistic bases for ethics.

Frans on Wikipedia
Frans on FaceBook

Henry Mance

Nearly Sentientist
Discussion and points of difference

Henry is the chief features writer for the Financial Times newspaper. He is the author of “How to Love Animals in a Human Shaped World.

Henry is vegan and is an Anglican Christian.

Find his Sentientist Conversation with me here on YouTube and here on Podcast.


Martha Nussbaum

Nearly Sentientist
Discussion and points of difference

Martha was nominated as a “Suspected Sentientist” via our “I know a Sentientist” form (thank you!). More details are forthcoming, but in the meantime, here is Martha on Wikipedia.

Martha has written extensively on non-human animal ethics. While she has focused on developing a capabilities approach she does seem to grant moral consideration to all sentient beings regardless of capabilities. While she seems to have a broadly naturalistic worldview she converted to Judaism in 2008.

Susan Blackmore

Nearly Sentientist
Discussion and points of difference

Susan is a writer, lecturer, sceptic, broadcaster, and a Visiting Professor at the University of Plymouth. Her fields of research include memetics, parapsychology, consciousness, and she is best known for her book The Meme Machine. She has written or contributed to over 40 books and 60 scholarly articles and is a contributor to The Guardian newspaper in the UK.

She has a naturalistic worldview and is a patron of Humanists UK. In this article, she recognises the strong evidence that many non-human animals are capable of experiencing suffering, but refers to “vegetarians” in the third person, saying “Many people become vegetarians because of the way farm animals are treated”.

Susan on Wikipedia
Susan at Humanists UK

Dick Gregory

Nearly Sentientist
Discussion and points of difference

Richard (Dick) Claxton Gregory was a comedian, civil rights and animal rights and vegan activist. Gregory became popular among the African-American communities in the southern United States with his “no-holds-barred” sets, poking fun at the bigotry and racism in the United States. In 1961 he became a staple in comedy clubs, appeared on national television and released comedy record albums. Gregory was at the forefront of political activism in the 1960s, when he protested against the Vietnam War and racial injustice. He was arrested multiple times and went on many hunger strikes. He later became a speaker and author. He said: ” Because I’m a civil rights activist, I am also an animal rights activist. Animals and humans suffer and die alike. Violence causes the same pain, the same spilling of blood, the same stench of death, the same arrogant, cruel and vicious taking of life. We shouldn’t be a part of it.”

While he was described as a religious skeptic, it doesn’t seem that he held a naturalistic worldview. He said “I am god, you are god.” He often talked of spirituality and supported a number of poorly-evidenced conspiracy theories.

Dick on Wikipedia


Nearly Sentientist
Discussion and points of difference

Lawrence “Kris” Parker, better known by his stage name KRS-One, an abbreviation of “Knowledge Reigning Supreme Over Nearly Everyone”, and Teacha, is a rapper and producer. He rose to prominence as part of the hip hop group Boogie Down Productions, which he formed with DJ Scott La Rock in the mid-1980s. KRS-One is best known for his hits “Sound of da Police”, “Love’s Gonna Get’cha (Material Love)”, and “My Philosophy”. Boogie Down Productions received numerous awards and critical acclaim in their early years.
KRS-One is politically active, having started the Stop the Violence Movement. He’s also a vegan activist, as expressed in songs such as “Beef“:

“So just before it dies, it cries
In the slaughterhouse full of germs and flies
Off with the head, they pack it, drain it, and cart it
And there it is, in your local supermarket”

While KRS-One has turned away from traditional religions he doesn’t have a naturalistic worldview. Referring to his book, The Gospel of Hip Hop, he has said: “this book will be a new religion on the earth … I think I have the authority to approach God directly, I don’t have to go through any religion…”

KRS-One on Wikipedia

Andrés Roemer

Nearly Sentientist
Discussion and points of difference

Sean Carroll

Nearly Sentientist
Discussion and points of difference

Sean is a theoretical physicist specializing in quantum mechanics, gravity, and cosmology. He is a research professor at the California Institute of Technology Department of Physics. He has been a contributor to the physics blog Cosmic Variance, and has published in scientific journals such as Nature as well as other publications, including The New York Times, Sky & Telescope, and New Scientist. He has appeared on the History Channel’s The Universe, Science Channel’s Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman, Closer to Truth and Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report. Carroll is the author of Spacetime And Geometry, a graduate-level textbook in general relativity, and has also recorded lectures for The Great Courses on cosmology, the physics of time, and the Higgs boson. He is also the author of four popular books. He began a podcast in 2018 called Mindscape, in which he interviews other experts and intellectuals on a variety of science-related topics.

Sean is an atheist and describes himself as a “poetic naturalist”. While he does recognise that needlessly causing suffering to sentient beings is morally negative, he considers it acceptable to kill a sentient being without causing suffering if we think it lacks an ability to plan for or conceive of its own future. He uses this perspective to justify his continued use of animal products although remains open minded on the topic.
Sean on Wikipedia

Charles Darwin

Nearly Sentientist
Discussion and points of difference

Charles Darwin was a naturalist, geologist and biologist, best known for his contributions to the science of evolution. His proposition that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestors is now widely accepted, and considered a foundational concept in science.
While he seemed to recognise the moral worth of sentient non-humans, there seems to be little basis to the suggestion that he was vegan or vegetarian, but his great-great grandson is confident he’d be vegan if he was alive today. Darwin had a naturalistic worldview and considered himself agnostic.
He said: “We have seen that the senses and intuitions, the various emotions and faculties, such as love, memory, attention and curiosity, imitation, reason, etc., of which man boasts, may be found in an incipient, or even sometimes in a well-developed condition, in the lower animals.”, “There is no fundamental difference between man and the higher mammals in their mental faculties … The difference in mind between man and the higher animals, great as it is, certainly is one of degree and not of kind”, and “The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man.”
Darwin on Wikipedia

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