75: Should Stoics be vegan? - Philosopher Massimo Pigliucci - Sentientist Conversation

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Massimo (figsinwinter.blog & @mpigliucci) is Professor of Philosophy at the City College of New York. He co-hosted the Rationally Speaking Podcast & was the editor in chief for the magazine Scientia Salon. He is an outspoken critic of pseudoscience & creationism & an advocate for secularism, science education & Stoicism.

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

1:10 Massimo's Intro: Evo bio to philosophy

1:40 What's Real?

- Growing up in Rome, "Catholic by default"

- Accepting the christian world view, but questioning it early. The Trinity, transubstantiation

- At communion: "It doesn't taste like human flesh"

- Adopting secular humanism & turning to science & philosophy

- The limitations of secular humanism: "When it came to real crises in my life... secular humanism was not very useful... it doesn't help me to think in terms of human rights when my father is dying"

- Stoicism as a practical philosophy of ethics & how to live a meaningful life

- Hume & Russell

- Some of the commandments "seem a little narcissistic & self-centred coming from a god"

- Jesus seems like a good guy but the Catholic church has taken some awful political positions over the centuries & today

- Not blaming Jesus but instead blaming patriarchal forces inside & outside religion

- Antivaxx, conspiracy theories, alternative medicine

- "I don't believe that any unfounded belief is harmless, ultimately"

- The attitude of taking unfounded beliefs seriously crosses boundaries easily. Jumping from one mystical or conspiracy theory to another

- Hume "A reasonable person proportions his belief to the evidence"

- Faith as belief without evidence

- The ony thing you don't want to do without belief is go to 0% or 100%. Bayesianism

- Carl Sagan's It's nice to have an open mind, but not so open your brain falls out

- Don't ask "is it possible?" ask "how likely is it to be true?"

- The risk of dogmatic attitudes even amongst skeptics

- People don't like being told they're idiots

- Even a religious/supernatural worldview with modern ethics still presents a risk

- When religious authority conflicts with compassionate ethics

- As a secular humanist can disagree with Sagan or Seneca. As a Christian person I can't disagree with god or Jesus

21:21 What & Who Matters?

- The Tolstoy fallacy "Unless there is a god you might as well go around murdering and raping"

- Naturalistic ethics (Philippa Foot, Confucianism, virtue ethics and more...)

...And much more. Full show notes on YouTube and Sentientism.info.

Sentientism is “Evidence, reason & compassion for all sentient beings.” More at Sentientism.info. Join our "I'm a Sentientist" wall via this simple form.

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Thanks for the post-prod Graham.

78 episodes