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Painism is a neologism coined by Richard Ryder. When I was looking for an alternative to Pathocentrism, I considered Painism, but because I didn't want to only emphasise the negative, but also wanted to acknowledge the positive side of animal existence and consciousness, decided instead on Sentientism. Painism however could be considered an ethical philosophy within Sentientism. The following is from Wikipedia link Wikipedia:

[Ryder] calls his current position on the moral status of non-human animals painism, a term he coined in 1985, arguing that all beings who feel pain [1] deserve rights. Painism can be seen as a third way between Peter Singer's utilitarian position and Tom Regan's deontological rights view. It combines the utilitarian view that moral status comes from the ability to feel pain with the rights view prohibition on using others as a means to our ends.

He has criticized Regan's criterion for inherent worth, arguing that all beings who feel pain have inherent value. He has also criticized the utilitarian idea that exploitation of others can be justified if there is an overall gain in pleasure, arguing that: "One of the problems with the utilitarian view is that, for example, the sufferings of a gang-rape victim can be justified if the rape gives a greater sum total of pleasure to the rapists."[2]


[1] Ryder defines pain as "any form of suffering or negative experience, including fear, distress and boredom, as well as corporeal pain itself. Such things as injustice, inequality and loss of liberty naturally cause pain." (from Ryder's site on Painism)

[2] Ryder, Richard (6 August 2005). "All beings that feel pain deserve human rights". The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-05-04.

Painism: A Modern Morality
Painism: A Modern Morality

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page by M.Alan Kazlev
page uploaded 10 November 2009