Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sentience vs. sapience

I was wrong: For more than 35 years, I've been a fan of science fiction. And for all of that time, I've thought that I knew what sentience meant. From the books (plus comic books and movies), I believed that humans were sentient, and animals weren't.

I'm rereading a sci-fi/fantasy novel called Hellspark. Writer Janet Kagan keeps talking about sapience, a word that I didn't know. In the Afterward, she said that she changed every instance of sentient in her manuscript to sapient.

So I looked the two words up.

It turns out that sentience means the ability to perceive individual experiences. Sapience means the ability to think and to reason.

Yes, I'm sentient, but so is my dog Lady. I'm also sapient; she's not. I'm sure that Lady would be happy to know that she's sentient ... if she were sapient.

Found in a book: Jean Lorrah, the author of The Vulcan Academy Murders, agrees with Kagan. In that book, Lorrah wrote:

Concentration was an art that Vulcans learned early, but concentration without results took its toll on any sapient being.

Links: On my web siteI have links to some of my stories online.

Editorial group: If you're a writer, editor or general freelancer, you might check out my Freelance Writers and Editors group on Yahoo! We've been really active lately, and I think we've become useful to each other.

Writers' guidelines: If you want to write for magazines (or book publishers), check out the writers' guidelines on my Freelance Writers and Editors group on Yahoo!

Followers: Welcome to all the followers on this blog. May the Force be with you.

Check it out: You might look at Funds for Writers, which specializes in grants for writers.


Entries from The Dog Blog
Blog entries from The Auto Racing Journal

(a book of great stories about the Intimidator)

(the book of great NASCAR stories)

More blog entries by Tom Gillispie

Anecdotes by Tom Gillispie

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