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Andrew N. Rowan, Joyce M. D'Silva, Ian J.H. Duncan, and Nicholas Palmer, Animal sentience: history, science, and politics


Resistance to the idea that non-human animals are sentient resembles erstwhile resistance to the theory that the earth is not the centre of the universe, or that humans evolved from “apes”. All these notions are psychologically threatening. They can remind people of their own creatureliness and mortality and might make them feel guilty or uncertain about their way of life. An honest debate over animal sentience, welfare and rights should consider the human motivation to deprive animals of these things in the first place. I briefly review empirical evidence on the psychological function of denying animal minds.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Author Biography

Uri Lifshin is a Lecturer in psychology at Reichman University (IDC Herzliya), Israel. His research focuses on psychological defense mechanisms, intergroup conflicts, political psychology, attachment and close relationships, the human-animal relationship, and the psychology of social change. Website