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Commentary Type

Invited Commentary


Andrew Crump, Heather Browning, Alex Schnell, Charlotte Burn, and Jonathan Birch, Sentience in decapod crustaceans: A general framework and review of the evidence


Crump et al. (2022) offer a well-argued example of an essential development: a rigorous framework for assessing sentience from the perspective of moral concern over an agent’s welfare. Current and forthcoming developments in bioengineering, synthetic morphology, artificial intelligence, biorobotics, and exobiology necessitate an expansion and generalization of this effort. Verbal reports (the Turing Test) and homology to human brains are utterly inadequate criteria for assessing the status of novel, unconventional agents that offer no familiar touchstone of phylogeny or anatomy. We must develop principled approaches to evaluating the sentience of (and thus, our responsibility to) beings of unfamiliar provenance and composition.

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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

Michael Levin, Director of the Allen Discovery Center at Tufts University, does research at the intersection of developmental biology, computer science, and cognitive science. Website