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.
Henry was a writer and campaigner for social reform in the fields of prisons, schools, economic institutions, and the treatment of non-human animals. He was a noted ethical vegetarian/vegan, anti-vivisectionist, socialist, and pacifist, and was well known as a literary critic, biographer, classical scholar and naturalist. Salt is considered, by some, to be the “father of animal rights,” having been an early writer to argue explicitly in favour of the topic, in his “Animals’ Rights: Considered in Relation to Social Progress” (1892). He wrote: “[The] notion of the life of an animal having ‘no moral purpose,’ belongs to a class of ideas which cannot possibly be accepted by the advanced humanitarian thought of the present day—it is a purely arbitrary assumption, at variance with our best instincts, at variance with our best science, and absolutely fatal (if the subject be clearly thought out) to any full realization of animals’ rights.”
He also wrote extensively on his rationalism and naturalism, saying: “Religion has never befriended the cause of humaneness. Its monstrous doctrine of eternal punishment and the torture of the damned underlies much of the barbarity with which man has treated man; and the deep division imagined by the Church between the human being, with his immortal soul, and the soulless “beasts”, has been responsible for an incalculable sum of cruelty.”
Henry on Wikipedia
Thanks to @maddyogoodall for the suggestion.
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
@sentientist (I told you she’s a Sentientist)
David is a philosopher and antispeciesist activist. He is founder of the French journal Cahiers antispécistes (“Antispeciesist Notebooks”), the annual event Veggie Pride and of the annual meeting Les Estivales de la question animale (“The Summers of the Animal Question”). Olivier is also the creator of the term “veggiephobia” and of numerous articles and conferences. He is an atheist. He is an advocate of utilitarian ethics and defines himself politically as a progressive.
David on Wikipedia
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.
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
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
Theophrastus (~371 – ~287 BCE) , a Greek native of Eresos in Lesbos, was the successor to Aristotle in the Peripatetic school. He was vegetarian or vegan, on the grounds that farming animals robs them of life and was therefore unjust. Non-human animals, he said, can reason, sense, and feel just as human beings do. He seems to have had a naturalistic worldview. He doubted the idea of a spirit independent of organic activity, although stopped short of completely rejecting it.
Theophrastus on Wikipedia
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
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
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.
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
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
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
Donald was an animal rights advocate who founded the Vegan Society in 1944. In the same year, Donald and his wife, Dorothy, coined the word ‘vegan’ from the first three and last two letters of ‘vegetarian’. Donald described himself in this interview as agnostic, saying, “I’ve never been clever enough to be an atheist – an agnostic, yes.” He died in 2005 at the age of 95.
Donald on Wikipedia
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.
Amanda is an actress. She was born in Adelaide, South Australia and spent her childhood in Papua New Guinea before moving to Britain. A longstanding member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, she received an Olivier Award for her role as Emilia in the 2004 RSC production of Othello. She won the Clarence Derwent Award in 2007. Amanda is vegan, has a naturalistic world view and identifies as a Sentientist. Here she is on our “Wall”!
Amanda on Wikipedia
Architects are a British metalcore band from Brighton, East Sussex, formed in 2004 by twin brothers Dan and Tom Searle. The band now consists of Dan Searle on drums, Alex Dean on bass guitar, Sam Carter on vocals, and Adam Christianson and Josh Middleton on guitars. They have been signed to Epitaph Records since 2013. The band members are vegan and atheist.
Architects on Wikipedia
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. Marc is a vegan and seems to have a naturalistic worldview.
Marc on Wikipedia
Leslie is a public speaker and philosopher. While studying philosophy and the history of religions at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia, he received the David Hume prize for outstanding achievement in philosophy. He created and runs Rational Realm, which hosts writing by Leslie and other authors taking a rational approach to philosophy, history and science. He is a Humanist and has written popular articles and academic papers (for example, Animal Rights and the Wrongness of Killing) about how a naturalistic worldview should lead us to grant moral consideration to other sentient beings.
Leslie at RationalRealm
“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 Singer 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.
Peter on Wikipedia
Kerry is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bristol East since 2005. On World Vegan Day in November 2011, McCarthy became the first British MP to set out in Parliament the case for becoming vegan. She is a vice-president of the League Against Cruel Sports and an honorary associate of the National Secular Society. She is an atheist.
Kerry on Wikipedia
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
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
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
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
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
Optimus Prime is a fictional character created by the Transformers franchise. He is a Cybertronian, a fictional extraterrestrial species of sentient self-configuring modular robotic lifeforms (e.g.: cars and other objects), a synergistic blend of biological evolution and technological engineering. In almost every version of the mythos, Optimus is the leader of the Autobots, a faction of Transformers who are rivals of the Decepticons, another faction. He is defined by his strong moral character. He seems to have a naturalistic worldview and has said “Freedom is the right of all sentient beings”.
Optimus on Wikipedia
Alex is an American animal rights activist, Holocaust survivor, and co-founder and president of the Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM), the nation’s oldest (1976) organization devoted exclusively to promoting the rights of animals not to be raised for food. He has played a prominent role in movements for religious freedom and environmental quality, including a term serving on the board of the American Humanist Association.
He has said: “My first hand experience with animal farming was instrumental [in devoting my life to animal rights and veganism]. I noted the many similarities between how the Nazis treated us and how we treat animals, especially those raised for food. Among these are the use of cattle cars for transport and crude wood crates for housing, the cruel treatment and deception about impending slaughter, the processing efficiency and emotional detachments of the perpetrators, and the piles of assorted body parts – mute testimonials to the victims they were once a part of.”
Alex on YouTube talking to Alex O’Connor (CosmicSkeptic) – also a Suspected Sentientist.
Alex on Wikipedia
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Yves is a philosopher, essayist and editor. He is a libertarian, an egalitarian and an antispeciesist activist. He is one of the founding members of the French-language journal Cahiers antispécistes (“Antispeciesist Notebooks”) and of the events Veggie Pride, Les Estivales de la question animale (“The Summers of the Animal Question”) and the march to close all slaughterhouses.
Yves is an atheist who is critical of humanism, describing it as a form of elitism. He is a hedonistic utilitarian, who advocates placing sentient individuals at the center of moral concern because they have desires, perceptions, emotions and a will of their own. Yves was influenced by Peter Singer‘s Animal Liberation and is a supporter of Singer’s conception of speciesism, seeing it as instrumental in deconstructing anthropocentric morality.
Essay by Yves on Speciesism, Humanism and Sentientism
Documentary Interview with Yves (en Francais)
Yves on Wikipedia
Strato (~335 – ~269 BCE) was a Peripatetic philosopher, and the third director of the Lyceum after the death of Theophrastus. He devoted himself especially to the study of natural science, and increased the naturalistic elements in Aristotle’s thought to such an extent that he denied the need for an active god to construct the universe preferring to place the government of the universe in the unconscious force of nature alone. He wrote three books relating to animals but his stance on the moral salience of sentience is unclear. He may well have been vegetarian/vegan given the philosophy of Theophrastus, his predecessor, and others in the Peripatetic and Pythagorean traditions.
Strato of Lampsacus on Wikipedia
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
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
Jim is a lawyer, journalist and animal rights activist. He was introduced to philosopher Peter Singer in 1974. Their book Animal Factories was first published in 1980 and revised in 1990. It provides a critical review and photographic documentation of factory farming practices in North America. Jim was elected to the U.S. Animal Rights Hall of Fame in 2001. He is a vegan and seems to have a naturalistic worldview. He criticises the dominionism often present in supernatural and religious thinking, saying “Dominionism is the worldview or belief held by one species that it has a divine right to use animals and everything else in the living world for its own benefit.” He has said “Drop the mysticism and the phony irrelevant stories and recognize reality. Biology. We are animals who evolved from other animals who evolved into our animal cousins. Science. Biology. Reality please.”
Jim on Wikipedia
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