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Joey (josephtuminello.academia.edu) is asst. professor of philosophy at McNeese State Uni & program coordinator for the nonprofits Farm Forward & Better Food Foundation (See also the Default Veg campaign). His research covers philosophies of food, medicine, animals & environment. He teaches biomedical ethics & sections of ethical theory & existentialism.
In these Sentientist Conversations we talk about the two most important questions: “what’s real?” & “what matters?” Sentientism is “evidence, reason & compassion for all sentient beings.” The audio is also on our Podcast – subscribe on Apple here & all the other platforms here.
- Growing up in a Catholic household in Louisiana
- “Who’s your mama, are you Catholic & can you make a roux?”
- Questioning religion early on. Developing scepticism. Understanding mechanisms of control in religion & beyond
- Hard-core atheist phase & studying philosophy
- Non-theism & atheism. Tempered with humility & openness
- “Open-mindedness & scepticism go hand in hand”
- Deciding not to get confirmed
- Attending Catholic high school that didn’t welcome questioning & experiencing social adversity
- Social justice & hateful interpretations of some religions (e.g. Westboro Baptist Church)
- Using religious arguments to justify discriminations
- Analytic philosophy & challenging religious inconsistencies
- “Ambiguity & tension is part of the human experience”
- Humility & open-mindedness needs to be at the core of naturalism
- The arrogance in “angry atheism”
- Getting comfortable not knowing. With-holding belief until there’s evidence
- Meta-physics & ethics
- “We don’t have access to the ultimate nature of reality” but there are still things we can meaningfully say about reality
- Experiences are happening. Phenomenology, directed consciousness & the self/non-self
- Nagel’s “What is it like to be a bat?”
- Consciousness, interests that matter and ethics (caring about the interests of others)
- Lacking a justification for the exploitation or oppression of others, human or not
- The “Embrace The Void” podcast with Joey’s friend Aaron
- Pre-human morality
- Is the choice to be moral simply the choice to care about the perspectives of others
- Moral inter-subjectivism. There are moral truths independent of each mind but they do require an interface between subjects
- Sentient beings do matter morally, but is sentience the only thing that matters? Is cutting down a tree wrong if it has no impact on sentients?
- The risk of anthropocentrism, because humans are defining & assessing sentience. But sentience existed long before & far beyond humans
- Sentience isn’t “how like humans are you?”. It’s just a characteristic humans happen to to have too
- The need for prudence re: assessing sentience. Giving entities the benefit of the doubt
- So much of the environmental movement grants ~zero moral consideration to farmed & many wild sentients
- Daoism. “The Dao that can be told is not the eternal way”. “Language can’t fully capture the nature of reality”
- Moral relativism
- The Is-ought barrier. I our ethics aren’t grounded somehow in reality – aren’t they arbitrary?
- Is the “moral circle” concept problematic? Humans at the centre, patronisingly granting moral consideration based on similarity to humans
- “Growing up I knew there was something weird about eating meat” & having a love for animals
- Breaking the deliberate obfuscation of links between animal products & animals
- Documentary Food Inc.
- Parallels betw. leaving religion & going vegan
- Seafood & meat deeply embedded in Louisiana culture
- Veganism is getting so much easier, like vegetarianism was ~10 yrs ago?
- Finding elements in cultures & religions that are open to non-human animal ethics (e.g. Andrew Linzey). Compassion, re-casting stewardship & dominion
- Veganising cajun foods!
- The deep, global roots of naturalistm & sentiocentrism
- Compassion for people indoctrinated into doing harm. But public intellectuals, philosophers & Humanists?
- Moral philosophers seem to be no more moral than anyone else. Experts at post-rationalisation?
- “Be open to the possibility that you could be wrong about everything you think”
- Zoonosis, anti-microbial resistance, climate impacts
- Systemic change
- Pluralism & pragmatism
- Jonathan Safran Foer’s “Eating Animals”
- BFF’s DefaultVeg initiative – vegan by default!
- Moral purity vs. effective change. “You’re on a journey but just don’t stop”
- “I’m concerned with oppression in all its forms”
Sentientism is “Evidence, reason & compassion for all sentient beings.” More at Sentientism.info. Join our I’m a Sentientist “wall” using this simple form.
Everyone interested, Sentientist or not, is welcome to join our groups. The main one is here on Facebook.
Thanks to Graham for the post-production!