The academic field of peace studies suffers from a lack of ontological clarity, with peace researchers widely disagreeing on how to define “peace.” This internal incoherence has far-reaching implications for peace study’s scope, theories, and methodologies, and by extension, for peace practice in general. This article explores the possibility that at least part of this incoherence may be due to a fundamental misreading of peace study’s central object of study. Despite significant disagreement between peace researchers on a standardized definition of peace, there seems to be overwhelming consensus that "peace" – in all its varied academic conceptualizations – always relates to the social welfare of interacting sentiences. In a radical reframing of peace studies, this paper proposes that the field might be better operationalized as the multidisciplinary scientific study of the optimal social conditions for the continued evolution of the trait of sentience.

Author Bio(s)

Anders Reagan is a Researcher with the Stockholm-based PACS (Peace and Conflict Science) Institute. His work explores innovative approaches to understanding and defining peace through interdisciplinary lenses.


peace, definition, sentience, evolution, neuroscience, ontology







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