53 episodes

Want a philosophy or worldview that's grounded in reality and has compassion for all sentient beings (mostly humans and other animals)?
Then you might find Sentientism interesting. It's "evidence, reason and compassion for all sentient beings."
In this podcast, you'll hear about "what's real" and "what matters" from a wide range of celebrities, academics, activists, writers - and interested lay people like me.
Find out more at https://sentientism.info/ or join one of our open-to-all, global community groups, like: https://www.facebook.com/groups/sentientism

Sentientism Jamie Woodhouse

    • Society & Culture
    • 5.0 • 12 Ratings

Want a philosophy or worldview that's grounded in reality and has compassion for all sentient beings (mostly humans and other animals)?
Then you might find Sentientism interesting. It's "evidence, reason and compassion for all sentient beings."
In this podcast, you'll hear about "what's real" and "what matters" from a wide range of celebrities, academics, activists, writers - and interested lay people like me.
Find out more at https://sentientism.info/ or join one of our open-to-all, global community groups, like: https://www.facebook.com/groups/sentientism

    "I would consider myself a Sentientist now" - Tennis pro Marcus Daniell - Sentientist Conversation

    "I would consider myself a Sentientist now" - Tennis pro Marcus Daniell - Sentientist Conversation

    Marcus (https://twitter.com/MarcusDaniell) is a professional tennis player from New Zealand. He is a philanthropist and an advocate for effective altruism through his work as the founder of High Impact Athletes (https://highimpactathletes.org/) and as a member of Giving What We Can. 

    In 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 video of our conversation is here on YouTube.

    We discuss:

    0:00 Welcome

    1:45 Marcus intro - pro tennis and High Impact Athletes charity



    3:02 What's real?

    - Growing up on a farm in New Zealand

    - A "spiritual" father and a "hippie" mother

    - Pragmatism, a love for nature and animals, but a comfort with death. Hunting as a child

    - Attending Christian schools

    - Enjoying Religious Education but never buying in. Being agnostic/atheist from a young age

    - Moving alone to Slovakia for tennis

    - Discovering "spirituality" and eastern philosophies

    - Studying philosophy at university

    - Discovering animal ethics but thinking "I'm an athlete, I need meat"

    - A turning point when a friend ordered whale in a sushi restaurant in Tokyo

    - Going veg*an a week later

    - Finding awe and wonder in a naturalistic/scientific worldview

    - "Put me next to the ocean or in a forest or a jungle and it's like experiencing magic for me"

    - Naturalistic karma? Putting positive energy into the world and getting positive things back



    14:06 What matters? Humans and non-humans

    - Meeting a vegan tennis pro

    - "I now feel like I'm living in my space in the world - in the right way"

    - A sense of solidity... "That's really helped me"

    - Our lack of understanding of non-human sentients

    - Intelligence vs. sentience as a moral qualifier

    - "I would consider myself a sentientist now"

    - I try to give respect to all sentient beings. If they can suffer, try not to cause them suffering

    - Artificial sentients? Does suffering matter regardless of species or substrate?

    - Sentience as an evolved class of information processing that could also be programmed in

    - Luna the puppy makes an audio appearance

    - Existential, catastrophic and suffering risks (S-risks)

    - Peter Singer's Animal Liberation. Trying not to cause suffering

    - It's so easy not to think. "I wonder how we can create more of these culturally shocking moments to make more people understand"

    - The morals were somewhere there, just hidden under layers of culture and tradition



    28:05 The Future

    - Talking to others about animal products and hearing "We agree on all the reasons but I'm not going to make the change"

    - "I would love for the world to be plant-based"

    - Is regenerative animal farming an option?

    - Can slaughter ever be humane?

    - The broad common ground re: rejecting factory farming

    - And more... (see YouTube or Sentientism.info).

    Sentientism is “Evidence, reason & compassion for all sentient beings.” More at https://sentientism.info/​​​​​​​​​​​​​. Join our "wall" https://sentientism.info/wall/ w/this form: https://sentientism.info/im-a-sentientist​.

    Marcus is on our "celebs" page: https://sentientism.info/sentientist-pledge/marcus-daniell.

    ​Everyone interested, Sentientist or not, is welcome in our groups. Main one: https://www.facebook.com/groups/sentientism​. Thanks Graham for the post-prod https://twitter.com/cgbessellieu.

    "Ending animal testing is a win-win for humans and animals" - neurologist CEO Aysha Akhtar - Sentientist Conversation

    "Ending animal testing is a win-win for humans and animals" - neurologist CEO Aysha Akhtar - Sentientist Conversation

    Aysha (https://twitter.com/DrAyshaAkhtar & http://www.ayshaakhtar.com/) is a neurologist, public health specialist & author. She is President & CEO of the Center for Contemporary Sciences (https://contemporarysciences.org/). She worked for the Office of Counterterrorism & Emerging Threats of the FDA & served as Lieutenant Commander in the US Public Health Service. She is a Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics. Aysha wrote: "Animals &  Public Health: Why treating animals better is critical to human welfare."

    In 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 video of our conversation is here on YouTube​​​​​.

    We discuss:

    0:00 Welcome & Sentientism

    2:10 Aysha Intro

    - Neurology, public health, emerging threats (e.g. pandemics)

    - Setting up CCS to replace all animal research and testing with human relevant methods

    4:27 What's Real? Renouncing Islam, becoming atheist

    - Growing up in a Pakistani Muslim family, but more culturally than strictly religious

    - Calling herself a Muslim, but then seeing how her father & Muslim society treated girls & women differently

    - Feeling pressure to dress modestly

    - Announcing "I renounce Islam" at 11 yrs old

    - Still believing in a god, then becoming an atheist

    - "Why would a god care about me and not someone else living a miserable life?" "If there is a god, why is there so much suffering?"

    - How can the suffering we cause animals be something a god could allow?

    - Religion helps people feel less lost. Understanding why people cling to it

    - Meaning, value, moral structure, purpose, community, love, awe & wonder are available naturalistically too.

    15:50 What Matters Morally? All suffering & flourishing beings

    - Keeping the good parts of religious morality

    - "Living a life that causes the least amount of harm & the greatest amount of joy possible"

    - "Of course that includes non-human animals because they feel, they have emotions"

    - Our moral basics can be very simple

    - Rights, dignity, personhood, sentience

    - Why so much philosophy assumes only humans matter. The fundamental mistake of disregarding so much suffering

    - People seem more concerned about the potential suffering of AI & mini organic brains, while not caring about animals

    - Experiencing sexual abuse & finding solace with Sylvester the dog "my best friend"

    - Finding out Sylvester was being physically abused & calling that out, then finding the confidence to stand up for herself

    - Accidentally being sent PETA materials about the life of a dairy cow. The family went vegetarian that evening

    - Being a vegetarian in the Pakistani community in the 1980's was unheard of

    - Being made fun of my other kids, but "I didn't give a damn". "I didn't care what they thought about me I cared what they thought about the issue"

    - Reading Regan, Singer. Finding the connections between human & non-human ethics & rights

    - "We were such nerds"

    31:05 What are sentience & consciousness?

    - And more - see YT!

    Sentientism is “Evidence, reason & compassion for all sentient beings.” More at https://sentientism.info/​​​​​​​​​​​​​. Join our "wall" https://sentientism.info/wall/ w/this form: https://sentientism.info/im-a-sentientist​.  ​Everyone, Sentientist or not, is welcome in our groups e.g.: https://www.facebook.com/groups/sentientism​.

    "There is no 'us and them' " - Yasmine Mohammed - Ex-muslim activist - Sentientist Conversation

    "There is no 'us and them' " - Yasmine Mohammed - Ex-muslim activist - Sentientist Conversation

    Yasmine (https://twitter.com/YasMohammedxx & https://www.yasminemohammed.com/) is a rights activist, advocating for the rights of women living within Islamic majority countries. Yasmine founded Free Hearts Free Minds (https://www.freeheartsfreeminds.com/). Her book, Unveiled, recalls her experiences growing up in a fundamentalist Islamic household & her arranged marriage to a member of Al-Qaeda.

    In 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 video of our conversation is here on YouTube.

    We discuss:

    - Growing up in a fundamentalist Muslim household in Canada, attending Islamic school, being dressed in hijab & niqab

    - Being forced into marriage with an Al Qaeda member (now in prison in Egypt), considered "strong enough to control me"

    - Questioning things from a young age

    - The isolation of some religious communities even in secular states

    - Having a daughter & that being a catalyst for change

    - Escaping from husband & family

    - Going to university & learning about religions. The intoxication of being allowed to question

    - "I've been wasting my whole life terrified of a figment of the imagination of some ancient man"

    - "You spend so much of your life ruled by a fairy tale"

    - What's real? Believing in Islam

    - "It's embarrassing to admit I really did believe these things"

    - "You're indoctrinated from birth... & punished for questioning"

    - "You believe or you burn in hell"

    - "Every aspect of your life is laid out... Questioning is challenging god himself. So you must submit"

    - The life of Mohammed. The Quran as the word of god

    - "You don't think 'is this a good thing to do?' you think 'is this the correct thing to do?'"

    - What's real? Leaving Islam

    - Taking off the hijab & being told "you need to be killed before you leave Islam" by her mother, "I will be punished for eternity for having a daughter who is an infidel"

    - How a Jehovah's Witness mother might allow their child to die rather than allow a blood transfusion

    - Abraham's willingness to kill his own son

    - "Honour killings" (murders)

    - Religious compliance as above "ordinary morality"

    - Studying religion, seeing 9/11 happen & being horrified

    - Seeing a BBC reporter find Bin-Laden documents mentioning Yas' ex-husband's firm

    - "I needed to get my daughter out of that world before she started to think that was OK"

    - Hints of fundamentalism in the atheist movement

    - Appearing in Jay Shapiro's film "Islam & the future of tolerance" w/Sam Harris & Maajid Nawaz

    - "Meditation saved my life"

    - Humility & open-mindedness at the heart of naturalism

    - And more... (see YouTube for full notes)

    Sentientism is “Evidence, reason & compassion for all sentient beings.” More at https://sentientism.info/












    . Join our "wall" https://sentientism.info/wall/ w/this form: https://sentientism.info/im-a-sentientist
    .
    Everyone interested, Sentientist or not, is welcome in our groups. Main one: https://www.facebook.com/groups/sentientism
    . Thanks Graham https://twitter.com/cgbessellieu.

    "Animal activists don't have to be on the political left" - Josh Milburn - Sentientist Conversation

    "Animal activists don't have to be on the political left" - Josh Milburn - Sentientist Conversation

    Josh (https://josh-milburn.com/ & https://twitter.com/JoshLMilburn & https://www.instagram.com/aveganphilosopher/) is a moral & political philosopher with research interests in animal ethics, the philosophy of food, liberal & libertarian political theory & applied ethics. He is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in the Dept of Politics & International Relations at the University of Sheffield. He co-hosts the Knowing Animals podcast.

    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 video of our conversation is here on YouTube: https://youtu.be/akBBFREpveU.

    We discuss:

    - Taking an interdisciplinary approach to academia & activism

    - Encountering various religious traditions as a child

    - Thinking "I don't believe that" at 8 years old re: Noah's ark

    - Being a "militant atheist" as a teenager

    - Studying religions to undergrad level

    - What is real & what we can know to be real

    - There is a world out there but we don't know all about it

    - Science & naturalism

    - Dogma vs open-mindedness & humility

    - Moral realism & different kinds of claim/evidence

    - The dangers of moral relativism & nihilism

    - Grounding morality in a naturalistic understanding of sentient beings & sentience. "I don't suffering & I don't think you do either"

    - Pluralism

    - Religious studies didn't cover philosophy

    - Being very resistant to vegetarianism. A fundamental challenge

    - Reading Peter Singer at 17 while considering studying philosophy

    - "Philosophers are often not the best activists"

    - Philosophical arguments don't have the same impact on everyone

    - Some people "get it" but still don't change. Others just don't get it

    - "Imagine animals had rights - how would we feed the world?... It would't be a vegan food system." Clean/cultivated meats & milks

    - "Can we get to an ethical food system without people having to change their practices at all?"

    - Animals where it's less certain whether they are sentient. Invertebrates, oysters, jellyfish, insects, sponges

    - Deciding how to act in the face of uncertainty

    - "It's got to be a high bar to say 'you cannot do that thing that is central to your life'" but "Sentient animals have rights" and that's enough to tell pig farmers to stop

    - Edge cases re: veganism & animal ethics

    - Liberalism & state coercion. Only using coercion when injustice is clear

    - Having compassion for human sentients too, even those doing harm

    - #JustTransition

    - The history of the term "Sentientism". Rodman, Ryder, Singer

    - It's hard not to be consequentialist in its broadest sense

    - Deontological rules do have to pay attention to what happens

    - Gary Francione's abolitionism

    - Sue Donaldson & Will Kymlicka's Zoopolis

    - Sentientism as a pluralistic philosophy

    - "Animal activists don't have to be on the political left"

    - Sentientism rules out intra-human discriminations. Racism/homophobia etc. don't belong

    - Robert Nozick was a vegetarian & a libertarian

    - And much more. See https://sentientism.info/ or YouTube for full show notes.

    Sentientism is “Evidence, reason & compassion for all sentient beings.” More at https://sentientism.info/​​​​​​​​​​​​​. 

    Join Josh on our "wall" https://sentientism.info/wall/ using this form: https://sentientism.info/im-a-sentientist​.  ​Everyone interested, Sentientist or not, is welcome to join our groups. Main one: https://www.facebook.com/groups/sentientism​.

    Thanks to Graham for the post-prod https://twitter.com/cgbessellieu.

    "I'm concerned with oppression in all its forms" - philosopher Joey Tuminello of Farm Forward, the Better Food Foundation and McNeese University - Sentientist Conversation

    "I'm concerned with oppression in all its forms" - philosopher Joey Tuminello of Farm Forward, the Better Food Foundation and McNeese University - Sentientist Conversation

    Joey (https://josephtuminello.academia.edu/) is asst. professor of philosophy at McNeese State Uni & program coordinator for the nonprofits Farm Forward & Better Food Foundation (See also Default Veg). 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 video of our conversation is also here on YouTube​​​​​ (subscribe there too!).

    We discuss (full show notes are on YouTube and Sentientism.info):

    - 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

    - And much more... see YouTube.

    Sentientism is “Evidence, reason & compassion for all sentient beings.” More at https://sentientism.info/​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​. Join our "wall" https://sentientism.info/wall/ using this form: https://sentientism.info/im-a-sentientist​.

    ​Everyone interested, Sentientist or not, is welcome to join our groups. Main one is here on FaceBook.

    Thanks to Graham.

    "Maybe moral systems are harmful! Like religion they are used to divide us." - Walter Veit - philosopher, scientist and sentientist - Sentientist Conversation

    "Maybe moral systems are harmful! Like religion they are used to divide us." - Walter Veit - philosopher, scientist and sentientist - Sentientist Conversation

    Walter (https://twitter.com/wrwveit & https://walterveit.com/) is an interdisciplinary scientist, philosopher & writer focusing on biology, minds & ethics. He publishes the ‘Science & Philosophy‘ series on Psychology Today & Medium.

    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."

    Our conversation is also here on YouTube: https://youtu.be/xxSGItuaSn4​​.

    We discuss:

    - Defending Descartes, as a child!

    - Studying philosophy, politics, economics & science

    - Writing a PhD on the philosophy of consciousness. How sentience came to arise in a purely physical universe

    - Growing up in an agnostic family, attending church but "grumbling"

    - Finding it strange learning about god at school. Asking annoying questions :)

    - A brief early teenage phase of believing in god, then reverting to atheism

    - Church seemed like a "weird cult-like thing." "It just didn't make sense."

    - There are thousands of religions. They can't all be right. Just disbelieving in one more than religious people do

    - Being a "hard-core naturalist" but still feeling the pull of superstition

    - Finding naturalism reassuring. Can abandon the "f*cking scary stuff" (monsters, ghosts, hell)

    - We can just enjoy our lives & explore the universe

    - The pull of being part of something larger. The universe, a tribe, a sports team fan group...

    - The hesitation in Germany about collectivism

    - "It's a peculiar world we live in - it's exciting"

    - Does morality crumble without the normative force of a god. "A dude in the sky making up laws and we just have to follow them"

    - People sceptical of morality aren't sceptical about laws. You can break them but there might be consequences

    - Too much of morality seems arbitrary. But Bentham almost proposed utilitarianism as a sort of science, not morality

    - Utilitarians in the UK were engaged in politics & in improving the world

    - Instead of considering morality - just consider the facts re: "What do animals want from their own point of view"

    - Facts: animals exist. They can be harmed. They don't like suffering

    - Humans evolved as a social species. That makes us care

    - "Morality" might create more harms than benefits!

    - There is no dividing line between humans and other animals because we all have interests

    - Both morality and religion have been used to divide humans & animals

    - Even oppressive groups have divided people through an appeal to morality

    - The deep connection between morality and spirituality/religion. Often naturalists & atheists don't see the danger

    - Naturalists are attacked for being amoral but are no less moral

    - And much more... Full show notes are on Sentientism.info. I ran out of space!

    Sentientism is “Evidence, reason & compassion for all sentient beings.” More at https://sentientism.info/​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​.

    Join our "wall" https://sentientism.info/wall/ using this form: https://sentientism.info/im-a-sentientist.  ​Everyone interested, Sentientist or not, is welcome to join our groups. Our main one is here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/sentientism.

    Thanks, Graham for the post-prod: https://twitter.com/cgbessellieu.

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
12 Ratings

12 Ratings

Mattymedic123 ,

Highly recommended

Sentientism podcast is an excellent resource which explores sentience and the moral/ practical aspects of human behaviour. I have learnt a lot of interesting aspects in this area- I would recommend highly.

helen.ara ,

A podcast to definitely share!

Sometimes you find those poddies which you want to keep to yourself, like a little treasure you don’t want the rest of the world to have a piece of. This one, however, is a podcast EVERYONE should be listening to!! Sentientism means a better world for absolutely everyone. Always with fascinating guests.

Earthling 2020 ,

Great show

Professional interviews on an important topic. Sentientism is an idea who’s time has come!

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