Introduction to sentience

12 Oct 2017

Sentience is the capacity to have experiences, that is, conscious states. This introduction to sentience explains what this means in more detail. Read more

The idea that only humans are sentient

26 Mar 2017
Prairie dogs eating grass

Those who deny that nonhuman animals are sentient sometimes claim that it cannot be demonstrated whether animals are sentient. Read more

Sentience

13 Apr 2014

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Criteria for recognizing sentience

11 Apr 2014
Sheep family sleeps together in the grass

There are three general criteria for deciding whether a being is sentient. They involve considerations that are behavioral, evolutionary, and physiological. Read more

What beings are not conscious

28 Mar 2014

Beings that have no centralized nervous systems are not sentient. This includes bacteria, archaea, protists, fungi, plants and certain animals. Read more

What beings are conscious?

28 Mar 2014

We have reasons to conclude that vertebrates and a large number of invertebrates are conscious based on physiological, behavioral, and evolutionary evidence. Read more

The problem of consciousness

24 Mar 2014
Close up of caterpillar climbing on branches

How does consciousness emerge? We don’t yet know what causes it to arise. We do have reasons to conclude certain animals are sentient, while others are not. Read more

Indicators of animal suffering

24 Mar 2014

If we accept that certain behaviors in humans are indicators of suffering, then evolutionary logic tells us that these same behaviors in nonhuman animals show […] Read more

The relevance of sentience

18 Mar 2014
Two deers touch noses in the snow

The relevance of sentience can be argued by claiming that being sentient is what matters to be positively or negatively affected, rather than simply being alive or species membership. Read more

Consciousness and self-consciousness

15 Feb 2014

Consciousness is being aware. Self-consciousness is being aware of oneself. Being conscious, rather than self-conscious, is the key concept in ethics. Read more

Animal consciousness and cognition

3 Sep 2013
Three parrots groom each other in the grass

Animal cognition is studied much more than animal consciousness. It should be the other way around, because consciousness is more relevant to animal ethics. Read more