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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”
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!