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Forums > Senate Hall archive > Sentient v.s. Sapient


I believe there is a problem with our categorizations of species. In particular, we classify things as "sentient" when, it seems to me anyway, people are inadvertently referring to "sapience." I have seen creatures that, though clearly sentient, are not listed as sentient because the term has been interpreted as intelligence, not sensory perception. Sentience doesn't even require self-awareness. Sapience, on the other hand, is often described as consciousness, or the ability to reason. Sapience is generally the quality that would differentiate an intelligent species from animals.

Wikilinks for sapience and sentience respectively: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sapience
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sentience

SO, shouldn't these categories be remade (and the distinction more clear)??? Thanks. mrobviousjosh 04:23, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

  • Actually, sapient means "having or showing great wisdom or sound judgment." Which isn't accurate for what you're saying either. I do understand what you're getting at and do agree to a point. But it's fine as it is. We're basing the terminology we use on reference works about the species in-universe, so regardless what the "real-world" definition is, sentient is what is used IU. - JMAS 04:33, 21 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Per JMAS. "Sentient" and "sentientologist" is all over The New Essential Guide to Alien Species. -- Riffsyphon1024 05:15, 21 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Yes, sapience is the correct term here on earth, but Star Wars draws from a long tradition in SF of using the term "sentient," which dates back to a time when it was thought that only intelligent beings (i.e. humans) actually felt things (other pop SF such as Star Trek and Transformers also use this term). As JMAS notes, since that's the term used in-universe (and I do believe it's the only term - I don't think "sapient" or "sophont" has ever been used in-universe), it's the term we use. jSarek 13:16, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for the clarification! mrobviousjosh 23:58, 22 June 2007 (UTC)

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