Moral Status and Consciousness

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Takuya Niikawa


There are three views on the relation between moral status and consciousness: the sentientist, the existentialist, and the fundamentalist views. The sentientist view focuses on the fact that an entity becomes sentient by virtue of being conscious. The existentialist view emphasizes the sense in which an entity becomes irreplaceable by having consciousness. The fundamentalist view focuses on the role of consciousness in grounding morally relevant cognitive abilities. This paper aims to make the detailed lines of thought underlying these three views explicit, and to point out the ethical contexts in which each view matters. Since the existentialist view has been discussed much less than the other two views, this paper also aims to clearly explicate the existentialist view. 

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NIIKAWA, Takuya. Moral Status and Consciousness. Annals of the University of Bucharest - Philosophy Series, [S.l.], v. 67, n. 1, p. 235-257, july 2018. ISSN 0068-3175. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 20 aug. 2018.