Animal advocates should focus on antispeciesism, not veganism

The following article was written by guest blogger Magnus Vinding. The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Sentience Politics. How can we help nonhuman animals as much as possible? A good answer to this question could spare billions from suffering and death, while a bad one could condemn as […]

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Expanding our moral circle to reduce suffering in the far future

Discussions about the far future often center on two possibilities: humanity going extinct or having our potential permanently curtailed, or humanity building a flourishing, space-faring mega-civilization. These discussions usually present humanity’s extinction or permanent decline as the worst possible outcome, and some argue that minimizing these existential risks (“x-risks”) is the most important thing we […]

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Trump Wins, and the World Loses

As a think tank committed to politics for all sentient beings, we at Sentience Politics are disheartened by the outcome of America’s election last night. The next US President will be an exceptionally prejudicial, anti-intellectual, and self-interested man, and he will have the support of a Republican majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. We […]

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Dear Science: Can we help wild animals?

In a recent Washington Post article titled, “Dear Science: If an animal is lost or injured, why shouldn’t I help it?”, we see the unquestioned refrain that we should let nature take its course, leaving someone who is suffering to their fate. The authors of the Washington Post article begin with a reasonable approach, saying […]

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Why we work on fundamental rights for primates

Sentience Politics selects and prioritizes campaigns based on their potential impact, i.e. the number of individuals affected. One of our ongoing campaigns concerns fundamental rights for primates, which may seem ineffective at first glance. After all, the number of non-human primates is almost negligible compared to the number of animals suffering on factory farms – so […]

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How much suffering is necessary? The sad state of UK animal law

Summary: Animal law in the UK purports to protect animals from ‘unnecessary suffering’. It does no such thing. In reality, the test for whether a cruel practice is legal is whether it is an industry-wide accepted norm. As well as traditional animal advocacy focussing on dietary and individual change, we should do three things. First, […]

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Our plans for the future

This post gives a brief outlook on our future plans and the reasoning behind them. This year witnessed us moving our headquarters from our country of origin, Switzerland, to Germany. Now based in Berlin, one of Europe’s largest cultural and political centres, we have a solid platform from which to launch our future campaigns. We […]

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Billions betrayed by Brexit – and they didn’t even get to vote

In a senseless act of self-sabotage, Britain has voted to leave the European Union. It now faces economic turmoil, social instability, and years of isolationism. But Brexit will impact more than just the 70 millions human animals living in the United Kingdom. It is also a devastating blow for the approximately 1 billion non-human animals […]

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Exploration vs. Exploitation of Strategies in the Animal Rights Movement

The central premise of effective altruism is that we should use our limited resources in order to achieve the greatest altruistic impact possible. The question remains, what is the best way to actually put this into practice? We might propose the following two-step procedure. First, we should use empirical evidence and our best scientific theories […]

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Going Veggie Would Save Trillions of Lives, Not Millions

A recent study conducted at the University of Oxford concluded that adopting a vegetarian diet would save 5-8 million lives by 2050, amounting to a 6-10% drop in global mortality. The study joins a growing body of quality research suggesting that a global reduction in meat consumption can help prevent major problems in the near […]

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Sentience Research Essay Prize 2016

Sentience Politics is currently accepting submissions for the first Sentience Essay Prize on “effective strategies to reduce the suffering of all sentient beings.” The winner will be awarded $2,000. Effective altruism asks us to consider the best ways to reduce as much suffering as possible when our resources – time and money – are limited. […]

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Demandingness

Why no goal can ever be too demanding A common objection to utilitarian goals is that the philosophy is too demanding. For instance, it might seem that we should donate all our money to those in need or devote every waking hour toward helping others. This claim is based on a misunderstanding of human willpower […]

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Bayes’ Theorem

What is it and what is it good for? Introduction Post last updated: 30.06.2015. Thanks to EP and others for pointing out that the negation signs were not always displayed properly in the formulae. If some terrible catastrophe destroyed human civilization and humanity lost all scientific knowledge it ever collected – which single piece of […]

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Means and Ends

Which things do we value for their own sake? Ends and Means What are your goals in life, what is it that you care about? When people are asked what they value, answers will include things like happiness, freedom, fairness, friendship, biodiversity, truth, pizza, equality, medicine, loyalty, and many other things. In theory, it may […]

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Talk: Effective altruism for all sentient beings

Sentience Politics co-founder Adriano Mannino recently gave a talk on “Effective altruism for all sentient beings: How can we save the most individuals with our limited resources?” at Basel University’s Institute for Biomedical Ethics: Effective altruism is a philosophy and social movement that proposes to use our limited resources (personal skill, time, money) so as […]

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Expected Utility

What is it and why should I maximize it? It’s in the interest of agents to achieve their own goals as well as possible. When we implement this in our behavior, we are acting rationally. But what does this mean in an applied setting, acting so as to best achieve our goals? When we are […]

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But they are just animals, not humans!

Introduction “They are just animals, not humans!” In discussions about granting more rights to animals, or using resources to help animals, objections like this one are unfortunately very common. While such a statement may – despite the lack of argumentative substance – seem intuitively appealing, it should immediately become apparent that it is problematic to […]

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Basic Decision Theory

How to get better at making decisions Introduction Each day every one of us faces decision problems. Some are as inconsequential as choosing a sweater in a store, others are as intimidating as choosing the right career path. Many of these decision problems are not solved consciously – we simply choose an option intuitively, without […]

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Can we justify discrimination based on species-membership?

A full-grown horse or dog is beyond comparison a more rational, as well as a more conversible animal, than an infant of a day, a week or even a month old. But suppose the case were otherwise, what would it avail? The question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they […]

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Cognitive Biases and Irrationality

Stone age brains in a silicon age We are in possession of the most complex structure known in the universe, the human brain. This jelly-like mass contains a mind-boggling one hundred billion neurons and produces our every thought, action, memory, feeling, and experience of the world. It allows us to recognize and organize complex patterns, […]

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Ethics and Objectivity

Wanted: objective ethical facts Introduction If there is no God, so the argument goes, there is no objectivity in ethics. This article will later attempt to specify what exactly “objective ethics” could refer to. First however, we’ll get God out of the way: Roughly 2400 years ago, the Greek philosopher Plato raised a dilemma for […]

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The Case for Donating Now Instead of Later

Identifying points of leverage If something is important to us, such that we want to do it as well as possible (as opposed to just doing it in the way people commonly do it), then it’s crucial to put in a lot of thought and always be on the lookout for more effective strategies, for […]

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3R for farmed animals – a legal argument for consistency

Abstract This article aims to present reasonable arguments for an extension of the 3R principles used in research to the regulation of farm animal welfare. It aspires to expound the level of legal protection in the field of research and to analyze whether these means of protection have contributed to a perceptible amelioration of animal welfare in […]

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