Full record for sentience n.

Definition an intelligent being
OED requirements antedating 1947
Earliest cite G. O. Smith 'The Kingdom of the Blind'
Comment Malcolm Farmer submitted a 1992 citation from Vernor Vinge's "A Fire Upon the Deep". Malcolm Farmer suggested and Jeff Prucher located a cite in a 1993 reprint of Terry Bisson's 1991 "They're Made Out of Meat". Malcolm Farmer submitted a cite from a 1975 reprint of Poul Anderson's "Lodestar". Jeff Prucher submitted a 2002 cite from Ursula LeGuin's "Social Dreaming of the Frin". Malcolm Farmer submitted a cite from a 1999 reprint of Ian MacDonald's 1998 "The Days of Solomon Gursky". Fred Galvin submitted a 1947 cite from George O. Smith's "The Kingdom of the Blind".
Last modified 6 July, 2008

Citations for sentience n.

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1937 Astounding Stories Aug. 23/1 A cold cloud of darkness followed after him, implacable in its alien sentience.
1946 ‘P. Latham’ Blindness July 128/1 There is evidence that inorganic matter possesses a certain degree of sentience; that is, the atom may have consciousness and will, and therefore in a limited sense the power to control its own destiny.
1947 G. O. Smith Kingdom of Blind in Startling Stories July 48/1 Secondly, the true schizophrenic paranoid cannot rail against a mechanistic fate. He must find some sentience to fight, some evil mind to combat. For the paranoid feels that he can win in the end, which of course would be impossible against a case of mechanistic doom. Therefore Carroll needed some sentient manifestation of this doom, something that he could strike at, fight against. Therefore he has accused an ‘alien culture’ of tampering with the records to prevent us from knowing the truth.
1949 ‘R. Lafayette’ Emperor of Universe in Startling Stories Nov. 134/1 His writings, even if they were entirely disregarded in his lifetime, demonstrate an enormous command of the problems of inter-system government. They show a sentience on the subject of politics which one regrets is not general amongst our modern gentry.
1954 P. Anderson Brain Wave xx. 120 Corinth's memory went back over what he had seen, the mountains and oceans and forests of whole worlds, the life which blossomed in splendor or struggled only to live, and the sentience which had arisen to take blind nature in hand.
1954 P. Anderson Brain Wave 120 Corinth's memory went back over what he had seen, the mountains and oceans and forests of whole worlds, the life which blossomed in splendor or struggled only to live, and the sentience which had arisen to take blind nature in hand. It had been a fantastic variety of shape and civilization.
1969 A. McCaffrey Dramatic Mission in Analog Sci. Fiction/Sci. Fact June 64/2 She knew nothing of these Beta Corviki, but it was a convention among all the sophisticated societies she had encountered that sentience was not permitted to waste itself. Kira Falernova had found it excessively difficult to commit suicide.
1973 P. Anderson Lodestar in John W. Cambell Memorial Anthology 16 Already it had shrunk in his vision to a ball, swirled blue and white: a body as big and fair as Earth ever was, four or five billion years in the making, uncounted swarms of unknown life-forms, sentiences and civilizations, histories and mysteries, become a marble in a game‥or a set of entries in a set of data banks, for profit or loss, in a few cities a hundred or more light-years remote.
1976 J. L. Chalker Jungle of Stars 39 When you died, your body stayed behind—but the sentience, the animator part of you, did not. This ‘self‘—the soul, if you will, although robbed of its religious connotations—is basically electrical.
1991 D. Stabenow Second Star viii. 180 The Librarian had awakened Archy to sentience, to self-will, to an intelligence unprogrammed, unsupervised, not of human born.
1991 T. Bisson They're Made Out of Meat in Bears discover Fire (1993) 35 ‘Omigod. So what does this meat have in mind?’‘First it wants to talk to us. Then I imagine it wants to explore the Universe, contact other sentiences, swap ideas and information. The usual.’
1992 V. Vinge Fire upon Deep xxxii. 254 Imagine: a stable necrosis, where the only sentience in the High Beyond is the Blight.
1992 V. Vinge Fire upon Deep xxv. 187 Four or five billion years ago, Someone built the first skrodes and raised the first Riders to sentience.
1994 B. Hambly Crossroad ix. 120 Yet no instrumentally for transport—not even evidence of sentience—was ever found.
1994 Analog Science Fiction & Fact Jan. 132/2 Group members possess sentience when operating individually.
1999 I. MacDonald Days of Solomon Gursky 253 PanLife, that amorphous, multi-faceted cosmic infection of human, trans-human, non-human, PanHuman sentiences, had filled the universe long before the continuum reached its elastic limit and began to contract under the weight of dark matter and heavy neutrinos.
2000 A. Reynolds Revelation Space (2001) 448 They might have been alien in their biology, inspiring a kind of visceral revulsion simply because they were so far from what the human mind considered the right and proper form for sentience.
2000 L. Norman Stronghold Rising v. 160 He reached up to touch her face, tracing the iridescent markings around her eyes with a careful fingertip. She was altogether different from the females of his own time—even excluding her sentience and lack of ferocity. Smaller, lighter in build, she was pleasing to all his senses.
2001 T. Zahn Angelmass xxviii. 264 ‘What would you say‥if I told you I think Angelmass has become sentient?’‘I'd probably say you'd been working too hard‥it's a black hole. A fruitcake would have more chance of spontaneously developing sentience than it would.’
2001 D. Gerrold Bouncing Off Moon 307 Intelligence exists as the ability to recognize patterns. Self-awareness is intelligence recognizing the patterns of its own self. Sentience is the ownership of that awareness—the individual begins to function as the source, not the ef-fect of his own perceptions. Even being able to speak of sentience in such a context is evidence of it.
2002 U. K. Le Guin Social Dreaming of Frin in Mag. Fantasy & Sci. Fiction Oct.–Nov. 185 The duty of the strong-minded person, she holds, is to strengthen dreams, to focus them—not with a view to practical results or new inventions, but as a means of understanding the world through a myriad of experiences and sentiences (not only human).