Sentience is the capacity to feel, or have subjective experiences. According to many views in normative ethics, the possession of this capacity is a necessary condition for counting as a moral patient. (Sometimes the term is used more narrowly to refer to the capacity to feel pleasure or pain.)

All plausible theories of value hold that pleasure and the avoidance of pain have value. It is therefore highly important to ask which entities are capable of experiencing pleasure and pain.

Philosophers and scientists discuss three broad hypotheses on this issue....

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