72: "Making Compassion Easier" - Tobias Leenaert - Author and meta-advocate - Sentientist Conversation
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Tobias (@TobiasLeenaert) is an author & a vegan advocacy consultant. He blogs at Veganstrategist.org & wrote "How to Create a Vegan World". He is the co-founder of ProVeg International. He is an Effective Altruist - thinking about the best ways to achieve a compassionate society. He also describes himself as a "Slow opinionist".
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.
1:28 Tobias' Intro - A life of vegan advocacy
- Setting up EVA, then "meta-activism" helping other activists be more effective
2:37 What's Real?
- Being confirmed as a Catholic & attending Catholic school because "that's just what you do"
- Defending rational & scientific worldviews
- "I'm not the most devout atheist you can find"... there's a possibility there's "something more"
- Could religious visions one day be made real through technology? Reincarnation, heaven, creation/simulation?
- "Maybe religious ideas are perversions of what is technologically possible"
- Science fiction
- Hallucinogenics & "religious" experiences
- The hard problem of consciousness vs. "it's just what doing this sort of info processing feels like"
- The echoes of religious ideas even for those who no longer believe. The Exorcist" movie
15:34 What Matters Morally?
- Being raised as an ethical person. Volunteering at 12 yrs old
- A teenage phase of being less morally engaged, then "it came back - especially with animals"
- "That empathy was there always - without needing a system of rules"
- Emotional & rational bases for compassionate ethics
- "You can be a vegan sociopath"... decide rationally to act compassionately without feeling empathy
22:12 Extending moral consideration to non-humans
- Loving companion cats and dogs at home as a child
- Wondering what's the difference between them & cows we eat
- "If I can't answer that question I have to stop eating animals"
- Taking 10 years to go vegan even after that realisation
- The power of taste preference... overcoming intertia
- Making a bet to go without meat for a month. Then carrying on
- Empathy, reasoning, then practice
- "Making compassion easier"
- Peter Singer's shallow pond thought experiment
- Anthropocentrism, sentiocentrism, biocentrism, ecocentrism
- Wild animal suffering & artificial sentients
- "I don't see the point in going beyond sentientism - only sentient beings can suffer by definition"
- The dangers of environmentalists granting moral consideration to species or populations that have no concerns & can't experience
... and much more. Full notes at Sentientism.info and on YouTube.
Sentientism is “Evidence, reason & compassion for all sentient beings.” More at sentientism.info.
Everyone, Sentientist or not, is welcome in our groups. Main one: https://www.facebook.com/groups/sentientism.
Thanks Graham https://twitter.com/cgbessellieu.