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Animal sentience

Browning, Heather ORCID: 0000-0003-1554-7052 and Birch, Jonathan ORCID: 0000-0001-7517-4759 (2022) Animal sentience. Philosophy Compass, 17 (5). ISSN 1747-9991

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Identification Number: 10.1111/phc3.12822


‘Sentience’ sometimes refers to the capacity for any type of subjective experience, and sometimes to the capacity to have subjective experiences with a positive or negative valence, such as pain or pleasure. We review recent controversies regarding sentience in fish and invertebrates and consider the deep methodological challenge posed by these cases. We then present two ways of responding to the challenge. In a policy-making context, precautionary thinking can help us treat animals appropriately despite continuing uncertainty about their sentience. In a scientific context, we can draw inspiration from the science of human consciousness to disentangle conscious and unconscious perception (especially vision) in animals. Developing better ways to disentangle conscious and unconscious affect is a key priority for future research.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2022 The Authors
Divisions: CPNSS
Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Date Deposited: 04 Mar 2022 16:27
Last Modified: 12 Jul 2024 21:06

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