Who are sentientists? Who is involved in the sentientism movement and which organisations work on sentientist causes?
You can meet some sentientists on our “I’m a sentientist” wall and even add yourself if the philosophy fits personally. We’re also building a list of Suspected Celebrity Sentientists – some of the names might surprise you. You can suggest others using our “I know a Sentientist” form here.
Millions of people around the world are sentientists, in that they are committed to evidence and reason and grant moral consideration to all sentient beings. Many of them will identify as atheists, secular humanists, skeptics or free-thinkers who take animal ethics seriously, but most of them haven’t yet heard of the term “sentientism”.
If approximately 10% of the world’s population (~780 million) are atheists or secular humanists and around 10% (~780 million) are ethical vegans or vegetarians (as a proxy for meaningful moral consideration for sentient animals), that would imply there are around 78 million people whose worldview is fairly close to sentientism.
In practice, anecdotal evidence indicates that humanists and atheists are more likely to be vegan or vegetarian and vegans and vegetarians are more likely to be atheists or humanists. Of course, some atheists have other non-deity supernatural beliefs so aren’t sentientists. Also, many vegans or vegetarians might have other rationales beyond compassion for sentients.
You can find some sentientists in our various online communities. So far, people from around 70 countries, some on every habitable continent, are involved.
The following section sets out some organisations and groups that link to sentientist themes and campaigns:
The Sentience Institute: Expanding humanity’s moral circle. The Sentience institute isn’t explicitly sentientist, although it is committed to the use of evidence and reason in its work to help extend humanity’s moral circle to all sentients – primarily farmed animals.
Sentient Media: Reporting on animals, animal rights and human choices. Sentient Media isn’t sentientist with respect to naturalism and the supernatural, but shares a sentientist objective re: helping extend our moral circle to include sentient animals.
Sentience Politics is a political think tank working to reduce suffering for non-human animals, with a focus on publishing policy papers and launching political initiatives in Switzerland and Germany. They’re not sentientist with respect to naturalism and the supernatural, but share a sentientist objective of reducing suffering for sentient animals.
Effective Altruism is a movement trying to answer one simple question, using evidence and reason: how can we use our resources to help others the most? Then following that through into action. While many EA causes are focused on humans, others explicitly address the experiences of all sentient beings. EA is also not explicitly sentientist re: naturalism and supernaturalism (there are many religious effective altruists) – but it is committed to the use of evidence and reason in its work.
The Animalist: Rational arguments for extending Humanism to sentient animals. A logical, friendly and pragmatic approach to animal advocacy. Animalism is a very similar philosophy to Sentientism in that it retains the humanist commitment to evidence and reason but extends moral consideration to all sentient animals. Many animalists would likely also grant consideration to non-biological sentients if we were to encounter or create them.
The Reasoned Vegan: The Reasoned Vegan is a project dedicated to making vegan advocacy more effective, more scientific, and less stereotypical. They promote and encourage skepticism, scientific understanding, and humility in all things vegan.
Here’s a wall of sentientists. You can add yourself too on our “I’m a Sentientist!” page.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“‘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 pharmacology, genetic engineering, nanotechnology 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”.
Everything that lives is holy.
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!)
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.
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.
Love the belief that ALL sentient beings have emotions.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
“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
“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.
“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 a moral philosopher. He is the Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University and a Laureate Professor at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at the University of Melbourne. He specialises in applied ethics and approaches ethical issues from a secular, utilitarian perspective. He is known in particular for his book Animal Liberation (1975), in which he argues in favour of veganism, and his essay “Famine, Affluence, and Morality”, in which he argues in favour of donating to help the global poor.
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 and the founder of The Life You Can Save.
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
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.
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
Because we are more alike than not. I welcome my robot overlords as long as they are nice to my dogs.
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.
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.
Because every sentient being deserves to live a life free from unnecessary suffering.
“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: liberationism.org — and sentientism is in line with this view. With solidarity and unconditional compassion for all fellow sufferers.” — BPE.
Sentience matters for moral consideration. Evidence, Reason, Universalism.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
Mariann is vegan and has a naturalistic worldview.
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.
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
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.
Suffering is suffering is suffering. Whether human or other sentient being.
I don’t believe humans are qualitatively more special than other creatures, except insomuch as we flatter ourselves.
Aditya (soytheist.com & @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.
Tobias is an author and a vegan advocacy consultant. He blogs at veganstrategist.org 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”.
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.
Evidence. Reason. Compassion.
All is one and all beings deserve the freedom to flourish.
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
It’s a perfect description of my ethical and moral approach to life.
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.
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.
Corey’s video/podcast interview on “Sentientist Conversations”
Corey on FaceBook
Corey on Wikipedia
Logic has brought me to the conclusion that Sentientism is the best philosophy to heal the earth & all beings.
Mikko is a tech start-up founder and CEO (now https://candle.to/). 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.
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.
Sentientism matches my philosophical perspective most accurately. All sentient beings deserve our moral consideration.
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 jessicapierce.net. 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.
Ethical reason, cannot justify speciesism.
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.
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.
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 Guardian, Vox, Forbes, 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”.
“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.
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.
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.
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
I’m a Sentientist because its what makes sense and we will need this shift if we are to survive as a species
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.
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.
Jenny 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.
Evidence and reason shows what’s real. What matters most is reducing and preventing suffering through compassion for fellow sentient beings.
Basic rights are not limited to one species, even if we pretend they are.
my dad told me about it and i thought yep that sounds like me
Because an unexamined life, is not worth living.
All sentient beings have interests that deserve full and rational consideration
“Suffering matters, no matter who experiences it. Sentientism is the label that captures this world view.”
Michael Dello-Iacovo (michaeldello.com 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.
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.
“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
“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.
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)
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).
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.
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.
Sentient beings feel, have consciousness and emotions, yet they are voiceless, there should a be a charter of animal rights
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.
Ethics demand that the strong inflict no harm on those who feel pain and fear. Humans are animals, too.
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.
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.
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’.
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.
I hate bricks
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.
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
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.
“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.
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.
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
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.
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
Harm Not for All
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
I give value to beings who are sentient rather than being just alive.
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
This rationale could not be more urgent and more appropriate to the times.
“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!”
Differences don’t matter, only sentience does.
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.
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”.
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.
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
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.
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
Because it is altruism that makes sense!
Because Humanism isn’t good enough when it tolerates the tremendous moral injustices caused by speciesism today.
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.
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.
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
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.
Commitment to scientific morality.
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.
Without evidence why believe a thing?
“… Other things being equal, equally strong interests should count equally.”
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.
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.
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
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.
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!).