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Sentientist Conversations: Dr. Joe Wills

In this Sentientist Conversation I talk to Law and Rights Lecturer and Author, Dr. Joe Wills. We talk about what’s real and what matters morally.

“We have a golden opportunity to re-imagine our relationships with non-human animals.”


We discuss:
– Religious indoctrination and influences in childhood
– Morality without the supernatural
– The dangers of having too narrow a moral circle (within and beyond humanity)
– Extending our moral circle (and avoiding moral doughnuts!)
– Social norms that hold us back from extending our moral circle – Narrow (pain + pleasure) and richer conceptions of sentience
– Sentiocentrism vs. biocentrism vs. ecocentrism
– The dangers of dogma (including scientistic dogmas!) – The important contributions of religious compassion and religious thinkers to animal ethics thinking
– How even compassionate supernatural belief systems can lead otherwise good people to do serious wrong
– How dogma blocks constructive conversation
– Criticisms of Humanism and Sentientism as over-confident, universal, “western” ways of thinking vs. their deep, cross-cultural, pre-religious (even pre-human!) roots
– Religion and aristotelian hierarchy as an engine of oppression within and beyond humanity
– Sentientism as a bulwark against oppression
– Insisting on moral consideration for every being capable of suffering
– The dangers of moral relativism
– Welfarism, abolitionism, extinctionism, segregationism, antinatalism, relationalism and the future of human and non-human animal relations
– The ethics of farming human toddlers (let’s not)
– Wild animal suffering and what (if anything) we should do about it
– If sentient experiences are all that matter, should we plug into Nozick’s experience machine?
– Are we already in a simulation? Does it matter if the simulation is good enough?
– We have a golden opportunity to re-imagine our relationships with non-human animals given climate change/zoonosis/anti-microbial resistance crises, but will we take it?
– Seeing companion animals as family members, not property
– Legal opportunities to link climate change to resisting animal farming
Political initiatives (e.g. Sentience Politics in Switzerland) working to end factory farming and resist animal oppression
– How can we tap into the latent public opinion against factory farming and even animal slaughter (See Sentience Institute research).

You can find out more about Joe’s academic work here https://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/law… and can follow him on Twitter here @DrJoeWills.

Sentientism is “Evidence, reason and compassion for all sentient beings.” You can find out more about it at Sentientism.info. Everyone interested, whether Sentientist or not, is welcome to join our global community. Our biggest group is here on Facebook.

Many thanks to Graham Bessellieu for his post-production work on this video. Go follow him (and maybe work with him!) at @cgbessellieu.

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