Ethics Without Sentience: Facing Up to the Probable Insignificance of Phenomenal Consciousness

Journal of Consciousness Studies 29 (3-4):180-204 (2022)
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Phenomenal consciousness appears to be particularly normatively significant. For this reason, sentience-based conceptions of ethics are widespread. In the field of animal ethics, knowing which animals are sentient appears to be essential to decide the moral status of these animals. I argue that, given that materialism is true of the mind, phenomenal consciousness is probably not particularly normatively significant. We should face up to this probable insignificance of phenomenal consciousness and move towards an ethic without sentience.

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François Kammerer
Ruhr-Universität Bochum


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