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date: 18 November 2017

Abstract and Keywords

Consciousness, understood as an awareness of what is going on that helps shape one’s experiences, is one of the ways that scholars have distinguished animal life from the rest of the natural world. Beings that have interests in having good experiences and avoiding bad ones deserve our moral attention, and this quality is an important feature of ethical engagement with other sentient beings, both human and nonhuman. What interests matter and why they matter is a subject of disagreement that has affected what we judge to be permissible or impermissible treatment of other animals. Empathy toward and respect for other animals takes us beyond attention to their suffering and has us focus on what counts as well-being for others, by their own lights.

Keywords: sentience, experientialism, nonhuman animals, empathy, umwelt, pain, suffering, well-being

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