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Sentientism: Evidence, Reason and Compassion

Sentientism is a simple, potentially unifying, philosophy or worldview. It commits to using evidence and applying reason and grants moral consideration to all sentient beings.

The commitment to evidence and reason means that Sentientism, like secular humanism, rejects supernatural beliefs.

Sentient beings are those that can experience – both suffering and flourishing.  Sentient beings today include humans and non-human animals – the clear priority. However, sentient beings could potentially include artificial and alien intelligences should we create or encounter them.

If that sounds interesting, come and join our friendly, global community here. Anyone interested is welcome, whether or not you count yourself as a sentientist. We have people from 54 countries involved to date – a mix of academics, activists, writers, policy people and interested lay people like me.

I’ve written essays on the topic here, in Areo Magazine, in Free Inquiry Magazine and on Medium (all pretty similar).  I’ve also been interviewed about Sentientism by the Two for Tea podcast and the Godless Spellchecker podcast (We discuss Sentientism from 18mins. Explicit language warning for the section before that). Please let me know what you think – in comments below, on the magazine pages or on one of our community groups below.

Sentientism might feel like a fairly niche idea, but it has far reaching implications. This piece sets out some ideas about what might disappear in a sentientist world.

Here’s another piece that compares sentientism to some related philosophies and movements.  Hopefully this helps to clarify why I think it is distinctive and valuable.

Where did sentientism come from intellectually?

This is a short read covering my thoughts re: “Is Humanism good enough” and pointing out where sentientism is an improvement.

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.

To date, there’s little mention of sentientism outside of philosophical circles. Given its importance — I feel that’s odd. If you’re interested in talking about the topics raised or finding out more, we run a Facebook group, a Twitter account, a sub-Reddit, a Discord server, a GoodReads group, a LinkedIn group, an Instagram account and a Twitter list of suspected sentientists (mostly built by searching for humanist vegans and vegetarians). We also have a World Community Grid team you can join and we use the #Sentientists hashtag on the HumanitarianOpenStreetMapTeam (HOT).

If you think sentientism is important and would like to help raise awareness of the idea, I’ve written some ideas here.

There’s a Sentientism Wikipedia page, a Simple English Wikipedia page and an Animawiki one – feel free to improve them.

Related Places

The Reasoned Vegan: Essays on rational arguments for veganism https://thereasonedvegan.com/

My interview with Open for Animals: https://openforanimals.com/it-is-a-simple-philosophy/

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