Manu Herrán


Also Known As
Lead Researcher en Sentience Research

Manu Herrán (Madrid, Spain) is a computer engineer and programmer, creator of artificial life simulations, genetic algorithms, evolutionary algorithms, and author of about 100 essays and two books dealing mainly with the subject of sentience in animals and machines, as well as evolution, cooperation, intelligence, death, ethics and other themes. He is the founder of the association “Sentience Research” ( which develop, disseminate and promote research on sentience aimed at a better world, and particularly, reducing involuntary and useless suffering. He is also an associate researcher in OPIS (Organisation for the Prevention of Intense Suffering – Manu is a regular public speaker on animal rights and also on the neglected possibility of suffering in inorganic substrates (Digital Sentience, Sentience in Machines, Artificial Sentience) and its risks. He has proposed new hypotheses on sentience: a theory exactly opposed to Emergentism (Immersionism), a theory in which the absence of identity is dominated by pleasure (Paneudaimonia) and a Platonic theory of the capacity to feel (Sentient Platonism). He considers himself a pseudo negative utilitarian from an axiological or meta-ethical point of view (some say “descriptive ethics” point of view), not from a “prescriptive ethics” or “normative ethics” point of view. That is, without referring to what people should be doing, duty (“ought”) or guilty, he believes that the world, now, in practice would be better if we reduce suffering instead of trying to be even happier. This does not mean that it is a bad idea to pursue happiness. On the contrary, pursuing happiness is good. What this means is that achieving positive hedonic states is good because negative hedonic states are avoided.

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