I think you may be right that I should pivot more in that direction. Research on degrees of sentience (including if that idea makes sense) and what degree of sentience different invertebrates have might still be relevant despite the argument that you’re quoting.
Thanks for the link! I’m a pretty big fan of that book.
I think it’s somewhat stronger than “doing work on one philosophical question is relevant to all other philosophical questions.“I guess if you were particularly sceptical about the possibility of digital sentience then you might focus on things like the Chinese room thought experiment, and that wouldn’t have that much overlap with invertebrate sentience research. I’m relatively confident that digital sentience is possible so I wasn’t really thinking about that when I made the claim that there is substantial overlap in all sentience research.Some ways in which I think there is overlap are that looking at different potential cases of sentience can give us insight into which features give the best evidence of sentience. For example, many people think that mirror self-recognition is somehow important to sentience, but reflecting on the fact that you can specifically design a robot to pass something like a mirror test can give you perspective as to what aspects if any other test are actually suggestive of sentience.Getting a better idea of what sentience is and what theories of it are most plausible is also useful for assessing sentience in any entity. One way of getting a better idea of what it is is to research cases of it that we are more confident in such as humans and to a lesser extent other vertebrates.
Another reason it might make sense to ignore flow-through effects is when you don’t know whether they would be positive or negative. If you were absolutely unsure about the flow-through effects, and figuring them out seemed impossible, then it seems right that they would balance out and that you can expect zero value from them. Insofar as this is the case, you should ignore them.