Why is Sentientism worth focusing on?
In short, because using evidence and reason makes it more likely that each decision we take, in any domain, will be better. Having compassion for every being capable of suffering and flourishing means our morality has a better chance of reducing suffering and enhancing flourishing. What else could morality be about?
Sentientism might feel like a fairly niche idea, but it has far reaching implications. This piece sets out some ideas, many of them controversial, about what might disappear in a sentientist world. There’s a summary in the slide below:
Sentientism also has radical implications for how we think about human and animal rights. This piece argues we should integrate animal, human and even artificial or alien intelligence rights into sentient rights. Here, I’ve set out what a Universal Declaration of Sentient Rights might look like. This new version is summarised in the slide below:
A sentientist perspective would also radically change how we think about development and humanitarianism. Maybe we need to shift from humanitarianism to sentientarianism? The following slide suggests some changes we might make to the Sustainable Development Goals if we were to move to a sentientist standpoint:
Given the sentientist commitment to evidence and reason it’s important to openly examine what might be wrong about sentientism. To understand more about the best arguments against sentientism, visit our “Why Not?” page. Feel free to suggest more challenges and responses.