Suspected Sentientists

These people are suspected sentientists that haven’t (yet) explicitly stated their Sentientism on our Wall of Sentientists or elsewhere. For each person, we’ve set out some evidence that suggests they’re committed to evidence and reason (for example, because of their atheism, scepticism, free thinking or humanism) and that they grant moral consideration to all sentient beings (for example, through ethical veganism).

You can suggest others on our “I know a Sentientist” page.

Naomi Smith

Naomi is the CEO of Best for Britain. She is vegan and a humanist.
@pimlicat

United Kingdom

Leilani Munter

Leilani Munter

Leilani is a professional racing driver and an activist for animal and environmental causes. She has been vegan since 2011 and seems to have a naturalistic, non-religious worldview.
Leilani on Wikipedia
@LeilaniMunter
Leilani on Instagram

USA

Carole Raphaelle Davis

Carole Davis

Carole is a model, actress, singer/songwriter (she co-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. She is vegan and an atheist.
Carole on Wikipedia
Carole on Medium
caroleraphaelledavis.com
@caroleraphaelle

USA

Greta Thunberg

Greta Thunberg

Greta is an environmental activist who has gained international recognition for promoting the view that humanity is facing an existential crisis arising from climate change. Her views on naturalism/supernaturalism aren’t clear, but she seems committed to a science-led approach. She is vegan.
Greta on Wikipedia
@GretaThunberg

Sweden

Mary Wollstonecraft

Mary Wollstonecraft

Mary was a writer, philosopher, and advocate of women’s rights. She was an advocate of non-human animal ethics and was an inspiration for the satire “A Vindication Of The Rights Of Brutes” that argued if women and men can have rights, then why not non-human animals. She was a rationalist and described herself as agnostic in later life.
Mary on Wikipedia
Thank you to @EileenHBotting for this context.

United Kingdom

Jonathan Safran Foer

Jonathan Safran Foer

Jonathan is a novelist who teaches creative writing at New York University. He is known for his novels Everything Is Illuminated, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close and Here I Am. His non-fiction books, Eating Animals and We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast describe his personal exploration of the ethical and environmental horrors of animal farming. Eating Animals was reviewed favourably by Sentientist Peter Singer. Eating Animals was adapted into a 2018 documentary film of the same name. It was co-narrated by Jonathan and Natalie Portman (also a Suspected Sentientist). Jonathan seems to have a naturalistic worldview, being described as Jewish agnostic.
Jonathan on Wikipedia

 

USA

Jeremy Bentham

Jeremy Bentham

Jeremy Bentham was an English philosopher, jurist, and social reformer regarded as the founder of modern utilitarianism. He was an atheist and an early advocate for granting moral consideration and rights to non-human animals based on their sentience, not on capacity to reason. He wrote in 1780: “The day may come when the rest of the animal creation may acquire those rights which never could have been witholden from them but by the hand of tyranny… The question is not ‘Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?'”
Bentham on Wikipedia

United Kingdom

Angela Davis

Angela Davis

Angela is a political activist, philosopher, academic, and author. She is vegan and non-religious.
Angela on Wikipedia

USA

Al-Ma’arri

Al-Ma'arri

Al-Ma’arri, also known under his Latin name Abulola Moarrensis (973 – 1057) was a blind Arab philosopher, poet, and writer. Despite holding a controversially irreligious worldview, he is regarded as one of the greatest classical Arabic poets. He was a robust naturalist and rationalist and attacked the dogmas and practices of many religions. He was a vegan, known in his time as moral vegetarianism, entreating: “do not desire as food the flesh of slaughtered animals / Or the white milk of mothers who intended its pure draught / for their young”.
Al-Ma’arri on Wikipedia

Syria

Stevan Harnad

Stevan Harnad

Stevan is a Hungarian-born cognitive scientist based in Montréal, Canada. His research interests are in cognitive science, open access and animal sentience. Stevan is currently Editor-in-Chief of the refereed journal Animal Sentience. He is an activist for non-human animals and is vegan. He has a naturalistic, non-religious worldview.
Stevan on Wikipedia
SkyWritings
@amsciforum

Hungary / Canada

Chris Packham

Chris Packham

Chris is a naturalist, nature photographer, television presenter and author, best known for his television work including the CBBC children’s nature series The Really Wild Show from 1986 to 1995. He has also presented the BBC nature series Springwatch, including Autumnwatch and Winterwatch, since 2009. He is a Humanist and announced his veganism during his 2020 Darwin Day Lecture, hosted by Humanists UK.
Chris on Wikipedia
chrispackham.co.uk
@ChrisGPackham

Chris Packham
United Kingdom

Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman

Natalie is an actress, filmmaker and activist. She is vegan. She has said “Three times a day I remind myself that I value life and do not want to cause pain to or kill other living beings.” Her views on naturalism are unclear. While culturally Jewish, when asked about the afterlife she has said “I don’t believe in that. I believe this is it, and I believe it’s the best way to live.”
Natalie on Wikipedia

Israel and USA

Lucius Caviola

Lucius Caviola

Lucius is a postdoctoral researcher in moral psychology at Harvard University. His research focuses on investigating how people give to charity, how they morally value animals, and how they think about the future of humanity. He co-founded and directed the Effective Altruism Foundation (Stiftung für Effektiven Altruismus) and remains an advisor for the foundation. He has a naturalistic worldview. A central focus of his work is countering speciesism and on helping humans extend their moral consideration to other sentient beings.
@LuciusCaviola
luciuscaviola.com

USA

Ricky Gervais

Ricky Gervais

Ricky is a comedian, actor, writer, producer, and director. He is an advocate for animal rights and for atheism, secularism and humanism. He seems to be vegan. He has said “It’s awful to think of people eating dogs, but some people eat pork. I don’t, but some people do. And a pig is just like a dog, there is no difference between them.”
Ricky on Wikipedia
@rickygervais

United Kingdom

Tom Morello

Tom Morello

Tom is a musician, singer, songwriter, actor, and political activist (including advocacy for non-human animal rights). He is best known for his tenure with the rock band Rage Against the Machine and then with Audioslave. Tom is either vegan or vegetarian and seems to be non-religious.
Tom on Wikipedia
@tmorello

USA

Brian D. Earp

Brian D Earp

Brian is Associate Director of the Yale-Hastings Program in Ethics and Health Policy at Yale University and The Hastings Center, and a Research Fellow in the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics at the University of Oxford. His work is cross-disciplinary, following training in philosophy, cognitive science, psychology, history and sociology of science and medicine, and ethics. He has written extensively on resisting religious justifications for causing harm – particularly to children through genital mutilation / circumcision. He seems to be vegan and have a naturalistic, non-religious worldview.
Brian on Academia.edu
@briandavidearp

USA / United Kingdom

Jasmin Singer

Jasmin Singer

Jasmin is an animal rights activist, writer, speaker and actress. She describes herself as an atheist. She is the co-founder of the non-profit organization Our Hen House and has been the senior editor of VegNews since 2016. She also supports LGBTQ+ and overlapping social justice issues.
Jasmin on Wikipedia
jasminsinger.com
@jasmin_singer

USA

James Cameron

James Cameron

James Cameron is a filmmaker and environmentalist. He is vegan and an atheist.
James on Wikipedia
@JimCameron

Canada

Jay Shapiro

Jay Shapiro

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 hosts the Dilemma podcast (some co-hosted with Coleman Hughes), including this Hangout on Sentientism. He has a naturalistic worldview and is vegan.
Jay on IMDB
whatjaythinks.com
@jay_shapiro@DilemmaPodcast

USA

Joaquin Phoenix

Joaquin Phoenix

Joaquin is an actor, environmentalist, animal rights activist, and producer. He is vegan and an atheist.
Joaquin on Wikipedia

USA

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 (she just hasn’t joined our “wall” yet). 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 on Wikipedia
dianaverse.com
@sentientist (I told you she’s a Sentientist)

Brazil / UK / USA

Stephen Fry

United Kingdom

Bryan Adams

Bryan Adams

Bryan is a singer, guitarist, composer, record producer, photographer, philanthropist, and activist. He has been vegan since 1989 and is an atheist.
Bryan on Wikipedia
@bryanadams

Canada

Brigid Brophy

Brigid Brophy

Brigid was a novelist, critic, and campaigner for social reforms, including the rights of authors and animal rights. Her 1965 Sunday Times article is credited by psychologist Richard D. Ryder (another Sentientist) with having triggered the formation of the animal rights movement in England. Brigid was one of the signers of the Humanist Manifesto and was president of the National Anti-Vivisection Society. She wrote that she and her father were “natural, logical and happy atheists”. She said: “Reason can always disarm the irrational. If reason finds itself to be irrational, it can disarm it; and if one finds reason and discovers that eating animals is immoral, unnecessary, and done largely for superstitious reasons, then one is delivered from the compulsion to do it.”
Brigid on Wikipedia
brigidbrophy.com

United Kingdom

Oscar Horta

Oscar Horta

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

Spain

Robin Quivers

Robin Quivers

Robin is a radio personality, author, and actress. She is vegan (she has written a book about her vegan diet) and an atheist.
Robin on Wikipedia
@rqui

USA

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Shelley was one of the major English romantic poets. He was a naturalistic atheist per his pamphlet “The Necessity of Atheism” and an advocate of non-violent resistance.
Shelly was an ethical vegan (then called vegetarian). His compassion for sentient beings led him to write: “If the use of animal food be, in consequence, subversive to the peace of human society, how unwarrantable is the injustice and the barbarity which is exercised toward these miserable victims. They are called into existence by human artifice that they may drag out a short and miserable existence of slavery and disease, that their bodies may be mutilated, their social feelings outraged. It were much better that a sentient being should never have existed, than that it should have existed only to endure unmitigated misery”; “Never again may blood of bird or beast/ Stain with its venomous stream a human feast,/ To the pure skies in accusation steaming”; and “It is only by softening and disguising dead flesh by culinary preparation that it is rendered susceptible of mastication or digestion, and that the sight of its bloody juices and raw horror does not excite intolerable loathing and disgust.”
Shelley on Wikipedia

United Kingdom

Michael Woodruff

Michael Woodruff

Michael is an academic specialising in the philosophy of mind from a naturalistic perspective and in comparative consciousness. He is professor emeritus of Biomedical Sciences, Quillen College of Medicine. Michael has written on sentience as the foundation of animal rights and about the sentience of fish and invertebrates.
Michael’s research papers

USA

Peter Tatchell

Peter Tatchell

Peter is a human rights campaigner, best known for his work with LGBT social movements. He 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.
Peter on Wikipedia
PeterTatchell.net
@PeterTatchell

United Kingdom

Liz Ross

Liz Ross

Liz is an activist who co-founded and runs the Vegan Advocacy Initiative. She is vegan and a secular humanist.
@Lizveg

USA

Michaela Coel

Michaela Coel

Michaela is an actress, screenwriter, director, producer, and singer, best known for creating and starring in “Chewing Gum” and “I May Destroy You”. She is vegan and an atheist (ex-Pentecostal Christian).
Michaela on Wikipedia
@MichaelaCoel

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. More recently, Sentientism has been re-cast to include a wider naturalistic commitment – using evidence and reason in all domains. Richard still considers himself a sentientist 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.
Richard on Wikipedia

United Kingdom

Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta

Hemant is an author, blogger, and atheist activist. He is either vegetarian or vegan for ethical reasons.
Hemant on Wikipedia
@hemantmehta

USA

Jon Stewart

Jon Stewart

Jon is a comedian, writer, producer, director, political commentator, actor, and television host (e.g. The Daily Show). He is non-religious (Jewish heritage) and vegan. He and his wife, Tracey, run a sanctuary for non-human animals saved from slaughterhouses and live markets.
Jon on Wikipedia

USA

Woody Harrelson

Woody Harrelson

Woody is an actor and playwright. He is the recipient of numerous accolades, including a Primetime Emmy Award, and has been nominated for three Academy Awards and four Golden Globe Awards. He has rejected the Christian faith he was brought up with but it’s unclear whether he still holds some supernatural beliefs. He has said: “I was getting into theology and studying the roots of the Bible, but then I started to discover the man-made nature of it. I started seeing things that made me ask ‘Is God really speaking through this instrument?’ My eyes opened to the reality of the bible being just a document to control people.” He is vegan.
Woody on Wikipedia
@WoodyHarrelson

USA

Rebecca Goldstein

Rebecca is an atheist and secular humanist who grants moral consideration to all beings capable of suffering (sentient). See this Twitter conversation  and this podcast interview.

Rebecca on Wikipedia
@platobooktour

United States

Deborah Meaden

Deborah Meaden

Deborah is a businesswoman who ran a multimillion-pound family holiday business, before completing a management buyout, but is now best known for her appearances on the BBC Two business programme Dragons’ Den. She supports a range of charitable initiatives spanning human and non-human animal causes. She is ~vegan and an atheist.
Deborah on Wikipedia
@DeborahMeaden

United Kingdom

Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley

Mary was a novelist who wrote the Gothic novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. She also edited and promoted the works of her husband, the Romantic poet and philosopher Percy Bysshe Shelley (also a suspected Sentientist). Her father was the political philosopher William Godwin and her mother was the philosopher and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft (another suspected Sentientist). Mary was an ethical vegetarian or vegan and seems to have had a naturalistic worldview, generally being considered an agnostic.
Mary on Wikipedia

United Kingdom

Peter Dinklage

Peter Dinklage

Peter is an actor, producer and animal rights activist. He is an atheist (lapsed Catholic) and a vegan. While working on the “Face Your Food” film, he said: “The images you’re about to see might make you want to turn away, but this is what you pay for every time you buy meat, eggs, and dairy products.”
Peter on Wikipedia

USA

Joel Okwemba

Joel Okwemba

Joel is Managing Director of the Centre for International and Security Affairs (CISA), a think tank and consulting organisation working to improve international relations and foreign policy capability in Africa. He is vegan and a humanist.
@JoelOkwemba
joelokwemba.com

Kenya

Rachel Krantz

Rachel Krantz

Rachel is an award winning writer, podcast host and media consultant. She is on the advisory board for Sentient Media and the board of directors of Our Hen House. Rachel does nonprofit media consulting, especially for vegan organizations and brands. She seems to have a naturalistic worldview.
@RachelKrantz
racheljkrantz.com

USA

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).
AJ on Wikipedia
@ajjacobs
ajjacobs.com

 

USA

Élisée Reclus

Élisée Reclus

Élisée was a renowned French geographer, writer and anarchist. He was an atheist and an ethical vegetarian. He said “The horse and the cow, the rabbit and the cat, the deer and the hare, the pheasant and the lark, please us better as friends than as meat.”
Élisée on Wikipedia

France

Thandie Newton

Thandie Newton

Thandie is an English actor. She is vegan and an atheist.
Thandie on Wikipedia
@thandienewton

United Kingdom

Benedict Cumberbatch

Benedict Cumberbatch

Benedict is an actor. He is vegan and, as someone who is “at least philosophically” Buddhist, it is unclear whether he holds supernatural beliefs. He has said “No, I’m quite a rationalist. I’m not superstitious. I think life is too full of natural wonders and logical complexities to worry about illogical things.”
Benedict on Wikipedia

United Kingdom

Ellen Page

Ellen Page

Ellen is an actress and producer. She is vegan and an atheist.
Ellen on religion: “Religion has always been used for beautiful things, and also as a way to justify discrimination—whether it’s gender, or race, or the LGBT community, or what have you. Personally, I’m an atheist, so I just have no time for it.” (Time).
Ellen on veganism: ““Why are vegans made fun of while the inhumane factory farming process regards animals and the natural world merely as commodities to be exploited for profit?” (FriendlyFig)
Ellen on Wikipedia
@EllenPage

Canada

CosmicSkeptic

CosmicSkeptic

Alex O’Connor, also known as CosmicSkeptic, is a YouTuber, writer and podcaster. He speaks and writes regularly about his atheism and his veganism.
@CosmicSkeptic
CosmicSkeptic YouTube

United Kingdom

Rooney Mara

Rooney Mara

Rooney is an actress, philanthropist and founder of a vegan clothing business. She is vegan and has been reported to be an atheist.
Rooney on Wikipedia

USA

Vivienne Westwood

Vivienne Westwood

Vivienne is a fashion designer and businesswoman. She is an atheist and either vegetarian or vegan.
Vivienne on Wikipedia
@FollowWestwood

United Kingdom

Madelaine Petsch

Madelaine Petsch

Madelaine is an actress and YouTuber. She is a vegan and is non-religious.
Madelaine on Wikipedia
@madelainepetsch

USA

Jose Gonzalez

Jose Gonzalez

Jose Gonzalez is an Argentinian-Swedish musician. He is an atheist, a vegetarian/vegan and an effective altruist.
Jose on Wikipedia
@_JoseGonzalez_

Sweden

Yuval Noah Harari

Yuval Noah Harari

Yuval is a public intellectual, a historian and a professor in the Department of History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is vegan and an atheist (secular Jewish).
He has said: “Industrial farming is one of the worst crimes in history” and called “[t]he fate of industrially farmed animals […] one of the most pressing ethical questions of our time.”
Yuval on Wikipedia
ynharari.com
@harari_yuval

Israel

Kristen Bell

Kristen Bell

Kristen is an actress, singer, producer, and voice actress. She is vegan and a non-religious humanist.
Kristen on Wikipedia
@KristenBell

USA

One Comment

  1. Jeremy Corbyn has been suggested as a Sentientist. Jeremy is vegetarian and says he is sceptical about having God in his life. However, has denied being an atheist and has compared his environmental concerns to a sort of “spiritualism”. I suspect this means he doesn’t have a naturalistic worldview so I’ve left him off the list for the moment. Any more input welcome. Thank you for the nomination (I can’t thank you personally as I can’t see who nominates)!

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