Which Animals Are Sentient?

Gary E. Varner

in Personhood, Ethics, and Animal Cognition

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199758784
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199949465 | DOI:
Which Animals Are Sentient?

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While the ability to feel pain is not, strictly speaking, a necessary condition for sentience or phenomenal consciousness, it is a serviceable criterion for moral standing in good intuitive level rules. This is because, aside from the extremely rare exception of humans with Congenital Insensitivity to Pain, we have no good evidence of phenomenal consciousness in any organisms that are not also capable of feeling pain. This chapter provides a detailed overview of the evidence for pain in the animal kingdom, concluding that good ILS rules governing our treatment of animals will cover at least all vertebrates.

Keywords: sentience; pain; phenomenal consciousness

Chapter.  13401 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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