Animal Sentience

Commentary Type

Invited Commentary


Colin Klein and Andrew B. Barron, Insects have the capacity for subjective experience


Klein & Barron (2016) argue that insects have sentience because of functional similarities between the insect brain and vertebrate midbrain. Based on a recent theory of agency and consciousness, I argue that the functional similarities merely point to an advanced form of agency. Insects presumably lack the capacity for social bonding that may be required for subjective experiencing.

Author Biography

Hans van Hateren is a faculty member in the Johann Bernoulli Institute for Mathematics and Computer Science at University of Groningen. A biophysicist by training, he has mainly worked on insect vision and computational neuroscience. His current interests focus on the more enigmatic aspects of living organisms, such as agency, goal-directedness, aboutness, and consciousness. https://sites.google.com/site/jhvanhateren/