Sentiocentrism [sen-tee-oh-sen-triz-uhm] is the belief that sentient individuals are the center of moral concern; all and only sentient beings (animals that feel, including humans) have intrinsic value and moral standing; the rest of the natural world has instrumental value. Both humans and other sentient animals have rights and/or interests that must be considered.

The sentiocentrists consider the discrimination of sentient beings of other species to be speciesism, an arbitrary discrimination. Therefore, the coherent sentiocentrism means taking into consideration and respect all sentient animals, and often living a vegan lifestyle. The utilitarian criterion of moral standing is, therefore, all and only sentient beings (sentiocentrism).

Philosopher Jeremy Bentham compiled Enlightenment beliefs in ‘Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation’ (1823), and included his own reasoning in a comparison between slavery and sadism toward animals: ‘The French have already discovered that the blackness of the skin is no reason why a human being should be abandoned without redress to the caprice of a tormentor… What else is it that should trace the insuperable line? Is it the faculty of reason, or, perhaps, the faculty of discourse? But a full-grown horse or dog is beyond comparison a more rational, as well as a more conversable animal, than an infant of a day, or 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 suffer?’

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