We are Sentientists

Where are sentientists around the world?

Here’s our wall of sentientists. If, like them, you’re committed to evidence and reason and have compassion for all sentient beings, why not join them and add your tile here.

Ian Bryce

Committed Sentientist

An entire morality can be constructed out of one princliple - respect for sentient beings - plus all of scientific knowledge.

Laurence Burris

Committed Sentientist

Compassion for animals.

Elif Özdemir

Committed Sentientist

Steve Sapontzis

Committed Sentientist

Steve is a philosopher and professor emeritus of philosophy at California State University, East Bay who specializes in animal ethics, environmental ethics and meta-ethics. He was co-founder in 1985 of the journal Between the Species: A Journal of Ethics and served as its initial co-editor. Steve was a member of the board of the American Philosophical Quarterly (1991–1994). In 1983, Steve founded, with his wife Jeanne, the Hayward Friends of Animals Humane Society. They now operate Second Chance, Helping the Pets of People in Need, in California. Steve wrote Morals, Reason, and Animals, in 1987, Subjective Morals, in 2011, and edited Food for Thought: The Debate over Eating Meat; published in 2004.

Steve has a naturalistic worldview, saying "I don't have a religious bone in my body". He grants moral consideration to all sentient beings.

Find Steve's Sentientist Conversation with me here on the Sentientism YouTube and here on the Sentientism Podcast. We also had an earlier conversation but with a worse quality microphone so I'd suggest you watch that here one on YouTube with the subtitles switched on.

Steve on Wikipedia

Poppy Permatasari

Committed Sentientist

As a sentient being myself, I'd say I'm proudly a Sentientist. "Social oppression needs animals oppression" Realizing the roots cause of every social justice's problem is the idea some species are better than the others. We always have moral obligation to do better for human animals and non human animals. Free them, Free Us, Free ALL

Poppy on Instagram

Ian James

Committed Sentientist

I believe our views should be based on naturalistic exploration of our universe, and that the most rational foundation for morality is the suffering and flourishing of sentient beings.


Committed Sentientist

Humans have evolved to the most advanced order of Primates we are naturally sentient

Vegan Atheist Coral

Committed Sentientist

Coral is an aspiring writer, an animal rescue volunteer/donor & runs a bunny boarding & grooming business. She is an ex-Mormon atheist with a naturalistic worldview & a "meat & potatoes girl" turned vegan.

Find our Sentientist Conversation here on the Sentientism YouTube and here on the Sentientism Podcast.

Coral on YouTube
Discord JoinTheConversation Invite
Coral on WorldAnvil

Judy Tiberi

Committed Sentientist

Ethical vegan for over 54 years.

Mary Pat Champeau

Committed Sentientist

Mary Pat is the director of graduate programs at the Institute for Humane Education & faculty at Antioch University. Mary Pat has been in the field of education since 1979 when she began teaching as a Peace Corps volunteer in Niger. Before joining IHE, she worked in refugee camps in Asia & supervised culture & language programs for the World Trade Institute in New York.

Mary Pat is vegan and has a naturalistic, sentiocentric worldview - a "card-carrying Sentientist!"

Find her Sentientist Conversation with me here on the Sentientism YouTube and here on the Sentientism podcast.

David Michelson

Committed Sentientist

David is an activist & chief petitioner of the Yes On IP13 campaign ( & @yesonip13) which aims to outlaw the harming & killing of sentient animals in the US state of Oregon. That's without exceptions for animal agriculture, hunting, research or other forms of exploitation. Originally with a background in psychology & public health, David’s switch to activism began after bearing witness to pigs being killed in gas chambers.

David is vegan, has a naturalistic worldview and considers himself a sentientist.

Find his Sentientist Conversation with me here on the Sentientism YouTube and here on the Sentientism podcast.

Cameron King

Committed Sentientist

Cameron ([email protected]) is the Operations Lead for Animal Advocacy Africa (& @Animal_Africa). Cameron ran his own eCommerce business for several years before pivoting to charity entrepreneurship to have a more extensive & substantial positive impact on the world. Cameron has been involved in the Effective Altruism community for over ten years & went through Charity Entrepreneurship’s 2020 incubation program.

He is vegan, has a sentiocentric, naturalistic worldview and is happy to describe himself as a Sentientist.

Find our Sentientist Conversation on the Sentientism YouTube here or on the Sentientism podcast here.

Jazar Mohamed

Committed Sentientist

Because I'm sentient, and I think that is the most ethical way forward.

Jazar on FaceBook

Jessica Lohmann

Committed Sentientist

Because humans are not above nature, we are nature and therefore must protect it. All living beings have a soul, even plants.


XeL NaGa

Committed Sentientist

Ahimsa- lowest possible suffering for all sentient beings. You explain it very well.

Nick Pendergrast

Committed Sentientist
Nick (@NickPende & theconversation) is a Sociologist who researches social movements, social change & Critical Animal Studies. He is a member of The Institute for Critical Animal Studies, the International Association of Vegan Sociologists & The Australian Sociological Association. Nick co-hosts the Freedom of Species podcast & radio show on Melbourne's 3CR community radio station & also co-hosts the Progressive Podcast Australia podcast with his partner Katie

Nick is vegan and has a sentiocentric, naturalistic worldview.


Committed Sentientist

Cat Besch

Committed Sentientist

Cat founded and leads Vietnam Animal Aid & Rescue. She is also a writer & activist addressing many non-human animal issues.

Find our Sentientist Conversation on the Sentientism YouTube here or the Sentientism Podcast.

Cat on Medium

Michael Yonkers

Committed Sentientist

Tanya Ullyatt

Committed Sentientist

Timothy Post

Committed Sentientist

All sentient beings, including humans, have consciousness and emotions. We are all capable of suffering.

Timothy on FaceBook

Jacky Z

Committed Sentientist

Tobias Leenaert

Committed Sentientist

Tobias is an author and a vegan advocacy consultant. He blogs at and 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". He has a naturalistic worldview, although remains open to the possibility there is "something more".

Find his Sentientist Conversation with me here on the Sentientism YouTube and here on the Sentientism podcast.



Committed Sentientist

Self-awareness at the molecular level seems intuitively obvious - the universe is a self-aware entity, studying itself through the experience of “being” in all our various forms.

Mariann Sullivan

Committed Sentientist

Mariann is Co-host with Jasmin Singer of the Our Hen House podcast and host of the Animal Law Podcast. She is a lawyer, lecturer, teacher and animal rights activist.

Mariann is vegan and has a naturalistic worldview.

Find Mariann's Sentientist Conversation with me on the Sentientism YouTube here and on the Sentientism podcast here.


Sarah Rose

Committed Sentientist


Committed Sentientist

I'm a Sentientist because its what makes sense and we will need this shift if we are to survive as a species

Tristan Katz

Committed Sentientist

I'm a Sentientist because a being's physical differences from us or its intellectual capabilities do not matter for how I should treat them. The only relevant consideration is their sentience - I believe that anyone who has spent any time caring for animals knows this at some level.


Aditya Prakash @Soytheist

Committed Sentientist

Aditya ( & @Soytheist) is an animal rights advocate from Assam in India. His @Soytheist YouTube channel focuses on taking a straightforward & rational approach to animal rights, identity politics & occasionally religion & atheism.

He is vegan and has a naturalistic worldview.

Find his Sentientist Conversation with me on the Sentientism YouTube here or Podcast here.


Committed Sentientist

Although I gave up meat many years ago it was relatively recently that I learned more about the exploitation and cruelty in the agricultural industry, that meant dairy cows as well as though bred for meat were often treated badly and would be killed after a few years, often male dairy calves are merely useless to them so they can be sent to the veal trade? Surely even worse than eating meat. As well as avoiding animal tested make up and skin care I try to join the animal rights community in signing petitions, raising awareness of cruelty from Taji dolphin hunting to the UK badger cull, which again is linked to practices in the dairy industry, intensive farming has spread BTB in cattle yet badgers are blamed, why? There are so many MPs in the Conservative DEFRA who are pro hunt and shoot it is hard to find a voice, but hopefully with platforms like this change is coming. The Dominion attitude has reigned for too long, even though I'm not an atheist and believe in Jesus Christ, I also think that it is human attitudes that have led to so much cruelty to people outside the West and animals in the serach for new territory and riches, a way of living alongside nature not owning it should be our goal as more sustainable peoples have known for centuries.

Add my name to the wall!

"Just dive in and meet people where they're at" - Ashley Byrne - PETA Outreach Director - Sentientism Episode 153
"I went vegan finally when I fell in love with one" - filmmaker & writer Jay Shapiro - Sentientism Episode 151
Should Effective Altruism Take Abolitionism More Seriously? - Dhruv Makwana - Sentientism Episode 150
"Vegan pets... They're enjoying their lives more & they're living longer" - Dr. Andrew Knight - Sentientism Episode 148
"Animal research... much harm with very little benefit" - Neuroscientist Dr Katherine Roe from PETA - Sentientism Episode 147
Bursting "The Reality Bubble" - Ziya Tong - Science Broadcaster & Author - Sentientism Episode 146
A US Constitution For All Sentient Beings - Maybe Sooner Than We Think? - Professor Michael Dorf - Sentientism Episode 145
“How do you find meaning in a universe that’s doomed?” - Astrophysicist Dr. Katie Mack @AstroKatie - Sentientism Episode 144
"Why bad beliefs happen to good people" - Philosopher Neil Levy - Sentientism Episode 143
"Veterinarians are merchants of doubt for the animal agriculture industry" - Dr. Crystal Heath of Our Honor – Sentientism Episode 142
"All suffering matters morally" - Eva Hamer from Pax Fauna - Sentientism Episode 141
"Animal rights is a social justice issue now" - Fashion Activist Bel Jacobs- Sentientism Episode 140
"Who am I to take another's life?" - Paige Parsons Roache of UnchainedTV - Sentientism Episode 138
"What is it like to be another animal?" Lori Marino - Sentientism Episode 137
"Rationality comes with responsibility" - Kathy Hessler - Sentientism Episode 136
"The Creative Lives of Animals" - Author Carol Gigliotti - Sentientism Episode 135
"It just started to not make sense" ObjectivelyDan - Host of "Truth Wanted" Sentientism Episode 134
"I relate directly to other creatures - I don't need any belief system" - Karen Davis - United Poultry Concerns President - Sentientism Episode 133
Update: Sentientism Movement: Nov 2022
"I agree wholeheartedly with Sentientism" - A.C. Grayling - Humanist Philosopher & Author - Sentientism Episode 132
"Watching Earthlings hit me really hard" - Author Sandra Nomoto - Sentientism Episode 131
"The Animal Turn" podcast - challenges to Sentientism!
"What is compassion if it doesn't include all sentient beings?" - new YouTube conversation
Consumers can drive compassionate change - Ethos CEO Jill Ettinger - Sentientism Episode 130
Can Humanists and Atheists Break Free From Human Supremacism?
"We gotta make friends... that's the path to liberation" - DxE's Matt Johnson - Sentientism Episode 129
Knowing Animals and Vegan FTA! - talking about Sentientism
"It feels really good to be doing the right thing" - Alene Anello - Legal Impact for Chickens President & Founder - Sentientism Episode 128
"We need to transition [India]... the question is how?" - Economist Chaitanya Talreja - Sentientism Episode 127
"I've always identified with the 'Other'" - Adrian Tchaikovsky - Sci-Fi/Fantasy Author - Sentientism Episode 126
"Religion is at the intersection of everything I care about" - YouTuber & Podcaster Emerson Green - Sentientism Episode 125
"People can't not eat free vegan food!" - Pearl Monique Cole Brunt - Sentientism Episode 124
"Let's make a world with less suffering today!" PETA president and founder Ingrid Newkirk - Sentientism Episode 123
From Dairy & Beef Farmer to Animal Activist - VeganFTA's Jackie Norman - Sentientism Episode 122
"Compassion is a boundless capacity" - Lisa Kemmerer - Sentientism Episode 121
"The Politics of Love" - Writer Philip McKibbin - Sentientism Episode 120
"I have this instinct to go to the underdog" - Ana Bradley - Sentient Media ED - Sentientism Episode 119
"You can definitely be a victim & a perpetrator" - Farm investigator Erin Wing - Sentientism Episode 118
"As people who are harmed - how can we possibly perpetrate harm?" - LoriKim Alexander - Sentientism Episode 116
Sentientist Economics - Nicolas Treich - Sentientism Episode 115
"Humility should underpin our efforts to understand" - Journalist Marina Bolotnikova - Sentientism Episode: 114
"We are reflective animals - which comes with responsibility" - Susana Monsó - Sentientism Episode: 113
"Ought flows from sentience" - neuropsychologist & "Hidden Spring" author Mark Solms - Sentientism Episode:112
"The basis of all value is sentience" - Steve Sapontzis Take #2 - Sentientism Episode:111
"Bringing individual animals into the frame " - Author & Ethnographer Kathryn Gillespie - Sentientism Episode 110
"Incorrect beliefs impact the lives of others" - Street Epistemologist Mark Solomon - Sentientism Episode 109
"The Weight of Empathy" - author Lucas Spiegel - Sentientism Episode 107
"There's a myth that we can't understand animals... if we listen, we can" - Adam Cardilini – Sentientism Episode 106
Imagine a politics based on evidence, reason and compassion. Magnus Vinding has done just that in: "Reasoned Politics"
"The world is going to get better for animals in our lifetime" - Species Podcast host Macken Murphy - Sentientism Episode 105
"Veganism is the secular manifestation of Ahimsa" - author Jordi Casamitjana - Sentientism Episode 104
"Humanism is just way too focused on one animal" - Philosopher Constantine Sandis - Sentientism Episode 103
Misinformation and conspiracism in the vegan movement - on Freedom of Species
Modes of Inquiry - Talking About Sentientism
"There's a caste angle to how animal cruelty works in India" - Karthik Pulugurtha - Fish Welfare Initiative - Sentientism Episode 101
"I am relentlessly naturalistic" - Barbara J. King - Animal Author & Advocate – Sentientism Episode 100!
"The right to a fair start in life" - Carter Dillard of Fair Start Movement - Sentientism Episode 99
"Wars start because someone gets annoyed." - Richard Firth-Godbehere - History of Emotion - Sentientism Episode 98
Why is it so hard to talk about meat?
"Sentientism Salon" - online event - hosted by the American Ethical Union
"It's the same fight regardless" - Ex-Mormon writer Coral Sands - Sentientism Episode 96
Clearer Thinking - about Sentientism!
"The Sustainable Development Goals Are All About Us Humans!" – Dr. Helen Kopnina - Sentientism Episode 95
Talking to Humanists About Non-Human Sentients
"Artificial Animals" - a fascinating essay by Claire L Evans referencing Sentientism
Let's create more effective, compasionate narratives - Writer Alex Lockwood - Sentientism Episode 94
"I believe in the abolition of cages - human & non-human" - Rachel Krantz, author of "Open"- Sentientism Episode 93
"Science denial is about identity, not facts" - Lee McIntyre - Sentientism Episode 92
"Learning can liberate" - Mary Pat Champeau - Institute for Humane Education - Sentientism Episode 91
"Farmers say they want to take care of their animals... let's give them that opportunity!" – David Michelson of YesOnIP13 - Sentientism Episode 90
Freedom of Species - Talking About Sentientism
How can Africa avoid industrialised animal farming? - Cameron King of Animal Advocacy Africa - Sentientism Episode 89
"Punk music was my gateway into politics & ethics" - Sociologist Nick Pendergrast - Sentientism Episode 88
"You CAN change other people!" - Howie Jacobson of Plant Yourself - Sentientism Episode 87
"There's not a huge difference between how we treat farmed animals & how we treat people - as resources" Nandita Bajaj of Population Balance - Sentientism Episode 86
Uncomfortable Conversations - Sentientism outreach! Two new podcast appearances
"If you have experienced suffering you're aware of its badness" - Philosopher Michael Huemer - Sentientism Episode 85
"Nobody likes hypocrisy but we're all hypocrites" - Dr. Brian Earp - Sentientism Ep:84
"If I can open my mind about veganism... I can do anything... it was so liberating" - Jamila Anahata from the Afro-Vegan Society - Sentientism Ep:83
"Al Gore didn't want to talk about it!" - Dr Sailesh Rao - Sentientist Conversations EP:82
"Ethical value flows from reality" - Pablo Perez Castello - Sentientist Conversation EP:81
"'I love what you do for me' - isn't love!" - Cat Besch - Vietnam Animal Aid & Rescue Founder - Sentientist Conversation - EP:79
American Humanist Association Publishes Article on Sentientism
"A whole new relationship with non human animals that will blow people’s minds!" Jonina Turzi - Sentientist Conversations ep:78
Rod Graham's "Being" - Interview on Sentientism
Update: Sentientism Movement: Oct 2021
Humanism will Evolve into Sentientism - Peter Tatchell - Sentientist Conversations ep:76
Why Should We Care About The Environment?
Should Stoics be vegan? - philosopher Massimo Pigliucci - Sentientist Conversation ep: 75
"Veganism, Sex and Politics... pleasure, not sacrifice!" - Author C Lou Hamilton - Sentientist Conversation
"Making Compassion Easier" - Tobias Leenaert - Author and meta-advocate - Sentientist Conversation
"Boom! - the entire world changed - everyone was questioning everything" - Mariann Sullivan - Sentientist Conversation
"What will you say to your grandkids?" - @Soytheist Aditya Prakash - Sentientist Conversation
Pineal Podcast - Sentientism and Spirituality
"Are Panpsychism, Veganism and Sentientism Compatible?" - A Sentientist Conversation with Philosopher Luke Roelofs
"We need to develop Mental Immunity against epidemics of nonsense" - Andy Norman - Sentientist Conversation
"Time has come for non-human animals to be globally protected in UN-iversal law" - Sabine Brels of the World Federation for Animals
"When I adopted a dog - my whole worldview shifted" - Aditya from Animal Ethics
"The conversation has to start with you" - Jenny Splitter - Journalist and SciMom Founder
"May all beings be happy & free from suffering" - Cebuan Bliss
"Animal farming will end by the end of this century" - Jacy Reese Anthis
"You cannot go wrong with compassion" - primatologist Frans de Waal - Sentientist Conversations
"That's moral progress - you have to interfere in things" - Philosopher Kyle Johannsen
"I'm positive about our future... I experienced the rapid change in my own views" - Lu Shegay - Institute of Animal Law of Asia - Sentientist Conversation
"Factory farming is a complete disaster" - Financial Times Journalist Henry Mance
"We don't need a god - we can do it ourselves" - Philosopher Richard Brown
"We are entropic eddies complex enough to have woken up" - Sci-Fi author Peter Watts
"We don't have to wait until the 24th century for a Star Trek future" - Christopher Sebastian - Sentientist Conversation
Suffering matters even if we didn't cause it - Heather Browning - from Zookeeper to Philosopher
"I would consider myself a Sentientist now" - Tennis pro Marcus Daniell
"Ending animal testing is a win-win for humans and animals" - Neurologist CEO Aysha Akhtar
"There is no us and them" - Yasmine Mohammed - Ex-Muslim Activist - New Sentientist Conversation
"Animal activists don't have to be on the political left" - Josh Milburn - New Sentientist Conversation on Podcast and YouTube
"I'm concerned with oppression in all its forms" - Joey Tuminello - New Sentientist Conversation
"Maybe moral systems are harmful! Like religion, they are used to divide us." - Walter Veit - New Sentientist Conversation
"Freedom, equality & avoiding harm to others" - Psychologist Kristof Dhont - New Sentientist Conversation
"The root of all evil is in thinking some suffering doesn't matter" - Jane Velez-Mitchell - Sentientist Conversation
"Children are much less speciesist than adults" - Psychological Researcher Matti Wilks - New Sentientist Conversation
"There is suffering - end it!" - Actress Victoria Hogan - New Sentientist Conversation episode on YouTube and Podcast
"We're at the beginning of a huge movement" - Author Julie Taylor - New Sentientist Conversation on Podcast and YouTube
"Morality isn't linked to religion" - Amy Wilson - Activist Lawyer - New Sentientist Conversation on Podcast and YouTube
"Compassion needs to be grounded in reality" - Jessica Pierce - Bioethicist and Author - Sentientist Conversation on YouTube and Podcast
"The Peppa Pig Paradox" - activist academic Lynda Korimboccus - New Sentientist Conversation on the Sentientism YouTube and Podcast
"Sentientism captures everything - it's future proof" - Michael Dello-Iacovo - New Sentientist Conversation on Sentientism YouTube and Podcast
"No judgement... just how do we solve this?" - Humane Educator Zoe Weil - New Conversation on the Sentientism YouTube and Podcast
"The Ocean is Alive" - Ocean Ecologist Glenn Edney - New Conversation on Sentientism YouTube and Podcast
"We can't understand humans without recognising that we're animals" - Dr. Diana Fleischman - New Sentientist Conversation
Our Hen House podcast: Sentientism Episode!
"Maybe the point of being is to be loving" - Comedian Myq Kaplan - New Sentientism YouTube & Podcast episode
What if we re-wrote the Sustainable Development Goals for all sentient beings? Sentientist Development Goals?
"Us humans are slow learners" - Kim Stallwood - author & scholar - New conversation on the Sentientism YouTube and Podcast
An Introduction to Sentientism - on YouTube and podcast. "Talking to Humanists about other sentients"
From Human Rights to Sentient Rights: the next generation of rights thinking
"Every individual matters" - Marc Bekoff - New Conversation on Sentientism YouTube and Podcast
"If you hand most people a knife they won't stab a cow!" - John Oberg - New Sentientist Conversation
"Vet training reduces empathy for animals" - Vet Kevin Saldanha - New Sentientist Conversation
"Vegan stuff is going to be hot!" - Sociologist Corey Lee Wrenn - New Sentientist Conversation
"Change is possible but hard" - Jeff Sebo - Author, Activist, Academic - New Sentientist Conversation
"Imagining a better future through our everyday decisions" - Podcaster and academic Claudia Hirtenfelder - New Sentientist Conversation
Truth Wanted Live Call in Show - about Sentientism!
"Breeding into suffering is the root of the problem." - Sentient Media founder Mikko Järvenpää - New Sentientist Conversation
“A Fabulous Vegan Future!” - Jasmin Singer - New Sentientist Conversation
"How can I have been morally asleep for so long?" - Prof Randall Abate - New Sentientist Conversation
“De-centring the human” - New Sentientist Conversation with Josh Gellers. Also Happy New Year!
"Diverse sentients could live in mutual symbiosis" Graham Bessellieu - New Sentientist Conversation
"Being in balance with ourselves and the rest of the living world" - Author Gill Coombs - New Sentientist Conversation
"How can we do the most good for non-human animals?"- Jamie Harris - Animal Advocacy Careers co-founder & Sentience Institute Researcher - New Sentientist Conversation
"Let's end humanity's war on the rest of the planet" - Better Meat CEO & Animal Rights Hall of Famer Paul Shapiro - New Sentientist Conversation
"Humans might one day need to beg AIs for our sentient rights" - AI expert Roman Yampolskiy - New Sentientist Conversation
"As a Vet I Felt Helpless" - Vicky Bond, Humane League UK Managing Director - New Sentientist Conversations Video
"No victim, no problem!" - New Sentientist Conversation video with philosopher Floris van den Berg
"We'll look back on this era of humanity as barbaric" - New Sentientist Conversation video with campaigner CEO Naomi Smith
"Compassion alone is not enough - we need to systematise benevolence": David Pearce Video #Sentientist Conversation
From Devout Pentecostalist Sunday School Teacher to Sentientist Academic and Author - John Adenitire - New Sentientist Conversations Video
Drop the Retribution: Sentientist Justice
Update on the Sentientism "Movement" (if that's what it is)...
"My enemy, which I will destroy, is arbitrariness!" New Sentientist Conversation with Stijn Bruers
We Have a Sentientism Podcast!
"The aim is to convince 8 billion people to use evidence & reason & extend universal compassion to all sentient beings, thereby solving all the world's problems." New podcast interview!
"Do you want a habitable planet for your children?" A Sentientist Conversation with Zion Lights
Sentientist Conversations: Dr. Joe Wills
Podcast Alert: Future Based!
Sentientist Conversations: Bestselling Author AJ Jacobs
Sentientist Conversations: Actress Carole Raphaelle Davis
The Bridge
Fish Sentience! Free, online talk for the Sentientist community - 19 Nov!
Sentientist Conversations: Carole Raphaelle Davis (New Video!)
Sentientism @ "Future Design" and "Ask a Philosopher"
Ask A Philosopher - Open Q&A on Sentientism
Normalising rationality and compassion - Help us find Celebrity Sentientists!
Sentientist News - Making News Better?
Sentientist Politics - New Page!
New Sentientism PodCast Episode - All Things Risk
Help us build our FAQ!
Join Sentientism on WikiTribune Social
Association of Black Humanists Discussion on Sentientism - New Video!
Kialo Debate: Sentientism is the Optimal Universal Worldview
Free Zoom talk on Sentientism
Humanism needs an upgrade: Is Sentientism the philosophy that could save the world?
Beyond Species Interview
Dilemma HangOut - Conversation with Jay Shapiro
Video! - New page and a 3 hour discussion about Sentientism
Sentientism – Raising Awareness
Universal Declaration of Sentient Rights
Is Humanism good enough?
A Unifying Morality? How is Sentientism Different?
In a Sentientist World - What Disappears? - a new Sentientism Community
Animal Liberation and Atheism - Kim Socha
Interview with Open For Animals

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Latest work

Should Effective Altruism Take Abolitionism More Seriously? - Dhruv Makwana - Sentientism Episode 150

Dhruv is a PhD student at the Department of Computer Science and Technology, University of Cambridge. Sentientism is evidence, reason and compassion for all sentient beings.

A US Constitution For All Sentient Beings - Maybe Sooner Than We Think? - Professor Michael Dorf - Sentientism Episode 145

Find our Sentientist Conversation here on the Sentientism YouTube channel and here on the Sentientism podcast.

Michael is a law professor and scholar of U.S. constitutional law. He is the Robert S. Stevens Professor of Law at Cornell Law School. In addition to constitutional law, Michael has taught courses in civil procedure and federal courts. He has written/co-written/edited six books, including Beating Hearts: Abortion and Animal Rights (co-written with his wife, Sherry Colb), as well as scores of law review articles about American constitutional law. He is also a columnist for Verdict. Michael is a former law clerk to Justice Anthony Kennedy of the U.S. Supreme Court and Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Michael has appeared in American news media as a legal expert and has been interviewed by and/or quoted in, for example, The New York Times, CNN, National Public Radio and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (another suspected sentientist).

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 audio is on our Podcast here on Apple & here on all the other platforms.

We discuss:
00:00 Welcome
02:02 Michael's Intro

  • Studying physics, then the law
  • Clerking then legal scholarship
  • Blogging at Dorf On Law
  • #vegan since 2006
  • Animal work in partnership with Mike's wife, Sherry Kolb "we agreed on nearly everything, but not quite everything"

04:44 What's Real?

  • Growing up in New York, raised #jewish "but mostly culturally"
  • "My father never went to synagogue unless it was somebody's wedding… he was not at all religious but he was the most ethical person I knew"
  • "Religion is not necessary and certainly… not sufficient to make someone an ethical person"
  • "That personal aspect… overshadowed anything I was being taught"
  • Dad's library: "the answers that the religious folks were giving to deep philosophical questions… barely scratched the surface… whereas if I went into my dad's study… Bertrand Russell's "History of Western Philosophy"… Lao Tse…"
  • Teaching: "what I really value is engagement with hard questions"
  • "The sorts of answers that religion gives stop asking the questions just when they become interesting… god made the world… god thus commanded it… it leaves lots of further questions unasked"
  • Choosing to believe? Faith? "I don't even understand the disposition… I've never been able to choose to believe things"
  • "Nearly all of the spiritual or supernatural beliefs I've encountered, whether religious or otherwise, strike me as ridiculous"
  • Taking an Indian philosophy class with Robert Nozick (based on advice from Amartya Sen)
  • "If that happens [god appearing] then I'll adjust my views… but that will be in response to evidence… that itself would be a kind of naturalism."
  • #ontology , #epistemology , #fideism
  • "The core evidence for me against the existence of a benevolent deity is the existence of evil in the world"
  • "Sherry's parents were holocaust survivors and all of her other relatives… were wiped out by the Nazis"
  • "I actually find myself offended… after winning a football game you see an athlete thanking god… it strikes me as arrogant to think that the creator of the universe thought to intervene… to ensure that the ball bounced this way and that but not to prevent the suffering & death of millions of humans & billions of non-human animals"
  • "I might be amenable to the belief that the world was created by a malevolent being… but that's not really on offer."
  • #Freewill #theodicy "it's flawed even on its own terms"
  • Transitioning away from religion
  • "There really are two distinct Jewish communities": liberal or #orthodox
  • Even in #ultraorthodox communities "practice is more important than faith"
  • Possibly true story: group of very religous Jewish men in Auschwitz "put god on trial… and essentially convict god… then they pray"

26:40 What Matters?

  • "I am deeply pragmatic" John Dewey, William James #pragmatism
  • "My moral intuitions come before any attempt at synthesising or deriving them…"
  • Family participating in a longitudinal research study "there's a chapter on my father and me" in the book "Mothers, Fathers & Children"
  • Father on philosophy of parenting: "I'm anti-philosophical"
  • "Part of pragmatism is that you do it almost unthinkingly… there are some things I'm very deliberate about… when I became vegan that meant making choices…"
  • #Coherentism & Rawls' "reflective equilibrium… closer to #deontology than #utilitarianism … but it's not important to me to work out exactly where it fits…"
  • Michael Huemer’s Intuitionism
  • “The problem of bad coherence… a worldview that coheres but causes external harm”
  • Oliver Wendell Holmes “the bad man theory of the law… look at the law from the perspective of the bad man… law is a means of social control to rein him in.”
  • “I don’t think it’s intuitions all the way down… I am willing to let go of those of my intuitions that I think are not justified… but you need to start some place”
  • “It’s easier to define bad than good… Bad is acting in ways that harm others… and oneself…
  • “First do no harm… secondarily… try to do some good”
  • Sam Bankman-Fried’s “earn to give” and Effective Altruism “It doesn’t at all undercut the case for the broad concept that one ought to try to do as much good as one can”
  • Peter Singer’s “The Most Good You Can Do” “I don’t think I’m capable of that”… “The most good I can do consistent with a life I find fulfilling”
  • “Should implies can”
  • The risks of maximisation and ends/means problems

46:06 Who Matters?

  • Sentientism as pluralistic re: deontology / virtue / care / utilitarian ethics & re: degree of demandingness beyond “not needlessly harming & killing sentient beings”
  • Coming to veganism late in life
  • Adopting two dogs, meeting farmed goats “we came to see their similarity to dogs… we gave up eating mammals… that I think opened us up to persuasion”
  • Sherry’s colleague Gary Francione “a bit of a mentor”
  • “We became vegan… then we discovered this whole community… that was crucial… there’s a very strong social component to my veganism… that social component includes non-human animals…”
  • “The bigger challenge is having it taken seriously as a moral commitment”
  • Facing interrogations re: veganism “difficult conversations”
  • Sherry’s book “Mind if I Order the Cheeseburger?”
  • “They [non-vegans] think you’re judging them… and of course you are”
  • “It’s much more common now that if I go out to lunch with a non-vegan they’ll order vegan… that won’t happen if it’s a group of 12, but…”
  • Sentience as a moral qualifier
  • Biocentrism, ecocentrism, anthropocentrism
  • “It’s not important to me to push back strongly against views that nature itself and inanimate objects like rivers & planets have moral interests except…” if rocks and cabbages are seen as having the same rights as pigs or hens
  • The risk of quietism “everything matters so nothing does”
  • “Sentience is a baseline for moral consideration”
  • Caring about ecosystems “for the benefit of the animals who live in those ecosystems… positive externalities”
  • Other values: “when the Taliban destroyed the Bamiyan buddhas it was a great harm” e.g. aesthetics as a derivative value
  • Plant sentience “does the tree have its own interests? I can understand the argument… it doesn’t move me very much”
  • “Hard questions at the boundary”
  • “That is the one issue on which Sherry and I actively disagreed” (egalitarianism between sentients vs. potential grading of sentience & moral consideration weights)
  • Watching out for anthropocentrism traps
  • Panpsychism, micro and macro-consciousnesses
  • Physicalism and sentience as patterns of information processing
  • The philosophy of personal identity. The Ship of Theseus “almost a semantic question”. Daniel Dennett, John Perry, Derek Parfit
  • Nozick’s idea of “the closest continuer”
  • “…We have a strong internal subjective sense of our own continuity over time… but we don’t understand its boundaries… and I think sentience probably works the same way.”
  • Ginsberg and Jablonka’s Unlimited Associated Learning
  • Walter Veit’s pathological complexity
  • Evolution and developmental processes re: degrees of sentience “a kind of isomorphism between the two”

01:13:36 How Can We Make a Better Future?

  • “A story I tell my students on the last day of class… equanimity about good and bad fortune”
  • Unforeseen consequences
  • Working with Barack Obama “I was delighted when Barack Obama was elected as president… his presidency was probably a but-for cause of Donald Trump’s presidency… so was that a good thing or a bad thing – who knows?”
  • A humility about the possibility of doing good… “at the very least act locally… be kind & considerate of the people and non-human animals around me”
  • Activism through writing “maybe that has an effect”
  • Teaching and working as a lawyer. The law as “a limited but sometimes effective tool”
  • Re: protecting non-human animals, the law “plays almost no role… laws riddled with loop holes… minimal enforcement… exclusions”
  • “Law in constitutional democracies… are not going to be more than at most a standard deviation away from public opinion… so one has to work on public opinion”
  • “Law plays a very important role in creating the ecosystem in which activism can occur”… California’s law re: commercial kitchens and live animals
  • Protests against and investigations of slaughterhouses & farms. Challenging ag gag laws. “Removing obstacles to effective advocacy”
  • “Law can move things… but it’s got to have a hand-hold”
  • Same-sex marriage & other issues where the law has led public opinion
  • Sid Tarrow
  • Sceptical support for the Non-Human Rights Project “they lose every case but sometimes you win by losing”
  • Are Sentience-based laws tokenistic dead-ends or stepping stones to something that could be meaningful and enforced?
  • Meliorism “sometimes the adoption of baby-steps cuts off reform… but sometimes it’s a stepping stone” “it’s very hard to know ex-ante”
  • A Universal Declaration of Sentient Rights and Sentientist Development Goals
  • Could there be a future US Constitution that grants rights to all sentient beings?
  • Martha Nussbaum’s capacities approach: “I disagree with her implementation of it… she’s not a vegan… she has a very limited understanding of what animal capacities really are”
  • Will Kymlicka and Sue Donaldson’s “Zoopolis”… “They allow for exploitation in ways that I wouldn’t approve of”. “There’s still something dignified about being a moral actor, not just a moral patient”
  • “I would want this constitution for the sentient beings to at a minimum recognise the rights of non-human animals as moral patients but also to have some recognition for their agency”
  • Alasdair Cochrane’s “Sentientist Politics”
  • Early 2000’s constitutional law conference “how far away do you think same sex marriage is…” none of the answers were even close to how soon it occurred… “so maybe it’s sooner than I think [a sentientist constitution]… the real question is does the planet survive long enough to get us there”
  • Follow:, @dorfonllaw,

… & much more!

Sentientism is “Evidence, reason & compassion for all sentient beings.” More at

Join our “I’m a Sentientist” wall using this simple form.

Everyone, Sentientist or not, is welcome in our groups. The biggest so far is here on Facebook.

Thanks to Graham for the post-production and to Tarabella and Denise for helping to fund this episode via our Sentientism Patreon.


“How do you find meaning in a universe that’s doomed?” - Astrophysicist Dr. Katie Mack @AstroKatie - Sentientism Episode 144

Find our Sentientist Conversation here on the Sentientism YouTube and here on the Sentientism Podcast.

Katie is a theoretical cosmologist who holds the Hawking Chair in Cosmology and Science Communication at Perimeter Institute. Her academic research investigates dark matter, vacuum decay and the epoch of reionisation. Katie is also a popular science communicator who participates in social media and regularly writes for Scientific American, Slate, Sky & Telescope, Time and Cosmos. She is the author of the book “The End of Everything (Astrophysically Speaking)

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 audio is on our Podcast here on Apple & here on all the other platforms.

We discuss:

00:00 Welcome

01:58 Katie's Intro

- #cosmology  & #astrophysics

- "The study of the universe from beginning to end from the smallest to the largest scales"

- #darkmatter, the beginning of the universe & the end of the universe

- Research & public engagement

03:33 What's Real?

- Growing up going to church & youth group & #bible study

- United Church of Christ... liberal & open-minded #socialjustice #lgbtq rights

- Useful guidelines for life but "I never really understood how faith works... believing things without evidence"

- Exploring different religious traditions e.g. #judaism "attending church on Sunday mornings and synagogue on Friday nights"

- "I always wanted to believe something... there's a fundamental urge most humans have to connect with the divine... #spirituality of some kind... the problem was I didn't believe in anything"

- Connecting with religious songs, prayer, rituals about forgiveness & bettering yourself...

- Being told "just believe"... "I don't know how to do that!"

- "I believe things if I see evidence for them... if I have some reason"

- A scientifically curious kid

- "The way I relate to the world... is through evidence"

- "I don't fundamentally grasp the concept of choosing your perceptions... choosing your beliefs. I don't think I can do that"

- Ontological & epistemological naturalism

- "I haven't had a spiritual experience... I assume I would write it off as something explainable through psychology and physics... but I can't say for certain"

- Enrolling in a #theology seminary school after graduating in physics: "wanting to understand religion... why people believe in things... I dropped out after 6 months"

- "I've done everything... went to every service... went to seminary... I did all the things and still god has not appeared to me in any way... I was a little bit jealous... that certainty, that feeling of peace... you are loved by the most powerful being in the cosmos... that sounds really cool... sign me up"

- "I could follow all the rules... I couldn't believe"

- "If the idea is that you're only saved by belief & not through actions then there's no hope for me at all"

- No hassle at the seminary "everyone was assumed to be on their own spiritual journey... I just didn't have one"

- Talking to Menonites, Fransiscan brothers, Unitarians... "nobody cared that I didn't believe... I just felt out of place"

- Hearing others say "I find astrophysics so spiritual"... "I really don't!"

- "Most of my colleagues have no idea that I studied religion"

- "I totally miss the community stuff... occasionally I think I should start going back to synagogue... the ritual, the mindset, the scholarliness..."

- "The idea that everybody gets together once a week to think about how to be better people"

- Secular people in religious communities "Practising but not believing... religious but not spiritual... now I guess agnostic... (I don't know)"

- "I was very fortunate to be in religious communities... they were very progressive and focused on #socialjustice"

- Having no issues being #bisexual / #queer in those religious communities "I always understood that I would be accepted"

- Mystical traps in gaps & uncertainty: origins and ends of the universe, life, consciousness, free will. #Godofthegaps

- The weirdness of physics "weirdness is in the eye of the beholder"

- "What we're trying to do in physics is create a mathematical model of the universe that best matches what we observe... a model that is useful... describe & predict"

- "Quantum mechanics seems really weird in a lot of ways but mathematically it's extremely clear and simple... the evolution of these wave functions... it matches perfectly"

- The dissonance between our sub-atomic model & our macro models "we think of it as weird"

- "As long as we have a model you don't even have a gap to put god into"

- Aspects of subatomic theory that we don't yet understand

- Attending seminary lecture trying to connect god to quantum physics "it's god who decides... how the wave function will collapse"… “You can do that but I don’t think it’s useful”

- Determinism & probability

- Quantum mechanics interpretations e.g. Many worlds / wave function collapse

- “Because I think of physics as being about creating models that are useful… there’s nothing useful about saying that a supernatural power is making a decision… you can’t use that”

- “It’s outside of what physics is about… I have no need of that hypothesis”

- “It’s not up to me to tell people how to think about the world but what is up to me is to try to make better models of the workings of the universe through physics and mathematics”

35:50 What Matters?

- Nihilism

- “I don’t think I ever saw it as being a question of what god wants me to do” Rejecting divine command theory

- “Commandments or rules in religion were based on not being bad”

- “The most important commandment is to love god… I don’t know what that means but I can not kill people… not lie… not steal… be an honourable person”

- Honour “as core to how I think about the world”

- “I always felt very keenly the suffering of others and not wanting to be part of that… not wanting to harm animals… or people”

- Hating violence in movies and “I can’t watch nature shows”

- The end of the universe: “There will be a point in the future when nothing that we’ve ever done will have mattered”

- Death and the attractive idea of “carry on”… “but if the universe is going to fully end – at some point that argument no longer applies… there will be a point where it will not have mattered if I kill someone tomorrow or not… it doesn’t matter”

- “Those black holes evaporating at the end of the universe are not going to care if I led a good life… if I hurt people… if there is suffering… it doesn’t matter to physics”

- “How do you find meaning in a universe that’s doomed?”

- No rapture or judgement day

- “As humans living in a temporary world… we have to find structures of meaning that apply in the now… that don’t rely on the future at all... that are not outcome based.”

- “I’m not waiting for some judgement… it’s more about ‘am I harming now’… am I making things better or worse… in the moment.”

- JW: “All value is in every moment of sentient experience”

47:12 Who Matters?

- Going vegetarian at 7 yrs old “started to understand where meat comes from and how that works” & being vegan now

- At a restaurant eating a hot dog and seeing a kids menu with a picture of a pig on it “Oh that’s a pig – that’s a hot dog!”

- “I don’t want to hurt that animal and so I shouldn’t be eating this food… I didn’t want to be part of that any more… because I didn’t want to hurt animals”

- “I’ve always been someone who loved animals and wanted to care for animals”

- “The emotional aspect was very automatic and honestly very inconvenient… experiencing the pain of suffering creatures”

- Being teased by middle-school kids for getting upset about them harming & killing snails

- “It’s not about cognitive ability – it’s about does that animal suffer?... I don’t want to cause suffering… it’s not a complicated philosophical argument”

- “By perceiving that suffering I suffered”

- “My family assumed that it was a phase” & health concerns “they tried to trick me into eating chicken” but later supportive

- Awkwardness with friends “I had to remove myself from certain things” & arguments & teasing “I kind of got used to that”

- “I was never somebody who was very susceptible to peer pressure”

- “A lot of the social awkwardness comes from the fact that people do inherently understand it [veganism] to be a social justice cause”

- “The reason people don’t like vegans… because they do see it as a judgement on their own ethical viewpoints”

- “It doesn’t matter to anybody else what I eat unless they take it as a personal attack”

- “It’s the same reason people will sometimes give me trouble about wearing a mask in a public indoor place… because they feel judged that they’re not doing that… I’m reminding them”

- “When I was a kid… I would tell them sentimental reasons… I really didn’t want to get into that conversation… you could use friends that way”

- What are consciousness and sentience? “There’s a grand tradition of theoretical physicists getting really into consciousness… I don’t want to do that… I’ll leave the definition of consciousness to the neuroscientists”

- “I don’t think that consciousness is some important element of the cosmos… it’s something that happens in the brains of organic creatures”

- Spectrums of consciousness & sentience “when I’m half asleep in the morning I’m less conscious”… sleep and anaesthetic

- “There’s nothing very, very specific about the way the human brain works that’s vastly different from the way other animals’ brains work”

- Adrian Tchaikovsky on Sentientist Conversations, spider & octopus & bird consciousnesses “evidence that jumping spiders can dream”

- Graduated evolution & development of cognition and sentience “maybe a baby experiences the world more like a dog or a mouse”

- “We are fundamentally creatures of matter and circuitry… there’s no special spiritual spark that we have that other animals don’t… it’s very strange to put us in a totally different ethical category”

- “The only thing that really matters is can you feel… can you suffer… and they all do”

- Fish feel pain too

- Quantification gets tricky “Is one human worth ten cows”… trolley problems & difficult judgements

- Ethical challenges of any consumption e.g. exploitative supply chains

- Panpsychism

01:10:55 How Can We Make a Better Future?

- “My expertise is in the total destruction of the future not making it better” 😊

- “As human societies evolve we generally expand our idea of who has moral weight… I hope we continue to do that… people who are unlike us…”

- “Trends towards isolationism and fascism… are moves backward”

- “As the worst impacts of climate change become more and more felt – one way humanity can respond to that is to become more isolationist and more aggressive to those trying to escape”

- “I hope we are able to find a path towards justice, climate justice, social justice, decolonialism, being more open & welcoming & more helpful”

- Climate reparations

- “Congruence of climate, decolonisation and animal welfare… part of the same cause”

- “It’s going to be a difficult century… there are ways to solve those problems in humane and positive ways”

- The role of science & science communication

- “The problem of climate change is not that much a science communication problem as a political problem these days”

- Political affiliations & values driving people’s responses

- “The science information is out there… but when it comes up against people’s identities and their values…”

- Prioritising connecting better with people on a values level

- “Just giving information is just never going to be enough”

- “There are groups… who have a very strong vested interest in maintaining certain status quos… ideas that are contrary to progress… they have a lot of money”

- “Not many people have very strong views about dark matter and the big bang… doesn’t tend to threaten people’s personal identities and livelihoods”

- Explaining the process of science (there isn’t a “Big Green Energy” conspiracy!)

- “We love finding mistakes… we prefer it to be other people’s mistakes 😊 – we love finding new answers”

- “All of science progresses through falsifying”

- Make it clear what scientists are like “we really do just want to find the answer… we’re not just trying to push an agenda… we are human beings… curiosity”

- Address legitimate concerns about how science be used to cause harm

- The Epilogue of “The End of Everything (Astrophysically Speaking)”

- On Twitter and Mastodon @astrokatie & TikTok and Instagram

... & much more!

Sentientism is “Evidence, reason & compassion for all sentient beings.” More at

Join our “I’m a Sentientist” wall using this simple form.

Everyone, Sentientist or not, is welcome in our groups. The biggest so far is here on Facebook.

Thanks to Graham for the post-production and to Tarabella and Denise for helping to fund this episode via our Sentientism Patreon.


"Why bad beliefs happen to good people" - Philosopher Neil Levy - Sentientism Episode 143

Find our Sentientist Conversation here on the Sentientism YouTube and here on the Sentientism Podcast.

Neil is a professor of philosophy with research interests spanning philosophy of mind, psychology, free will, moral responsibility, epistemology, and applied ethics. He is Senior Research Fellow at the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics and professor of philosophy at Macquarie University, Sydney. From 2010, he was head of neuroethics at the Florey Institutes of Neuroscience in Melbourne.

He has written many papers and books, including “Bad Beliefs: Why They Happen to Good People“ (open access and free to read!)

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 audio is on our Podcast here on Apple & here on all the other platforms.

We discuss:
00:00 Welcome

  • Is Neil a #Sentientist ?

02:05 Neil's Intro

  • Perpetual winters between Oxford & Sydney
  • Philsophy of applied ethics, free will, epistemology
  • Neil's episode on #DecodingTheGurus re: intellectual virtue signalling

03:55 What's Real?

  • Brought up #jewish "very much a cultural thing… synagogue twice a year" in #southafrica Africa
  • Jewish Saturday school
  • Moving to #Australia & attending religious school
  • At 11-12 "This doesn't make much sense to me - this god business. I've been a convinced #atheist ever since"
  • "Being religious can be perfectly reasonable"
  • Subjective rationality "how well are you processing your evidence given where you are?"
  • "People are much more rational than we think… even #QAnon supporters… they're completely wrong… but if they believe what they're saying… they're rational given where they start"
  • #Trolling & #bullshit
  • "We've got lots of evidence people don't believe what they're saying"
  • #Determinism & #freewill & "the epistemic condition on responsibility"… "nobody does have that kind of control over their beliefs… they've done the best they can with the evidence available to them"
  • "Criticism comes cheap… so does praise"
  • "Luck explains so much" constitutive & present luck
  • "It gives us more to do… of the sort of things philosophers aren't good at"
  • Teaching critical thinking, logic, fallacies "people get better… but they don't get better at using it outside the classroom"
  • "In the classroom I give you evidence… they stipulate it… you just accept it"… "But in the real world you're faced with the continual problem… should I trust the evidence?"
  • A key reason people don't update beliefs given new evidence is because "they just don't trust the evidence in the first place… and you can formally model why they shouldn't… given what they already believe"
  • The "capital punishment views" experiment
  • "If somebody shows me a prima facie plausible study showing that… all dogs have 5 legs… I'm going to think… that it's bullshit"
  • Bayesianism
  • Gullibility, dogmatism, #skepticism
  • #QAnon , #Antivaxx , #homeopathy : JW "The same individual is able to be completely gullible when it comes to one set of propositions… at the other extreme can be completely denialistic about another set of sources"
  • "I don't like these terms… gullibility, open-mindedness, skepticism,
  • Kripke's defending dogmatism re: #astrology
  • Climate change denial: "Everyone should dismiss it… except climate change scientists… only if it makes some sort of sense should they engage with it"
  • "We've got to rely on domain experts… then we've got to take their word for it… that does leave us vulnerable."
  • Lysenkoism in the USSR causing crop failures "telling farmers to do things that didn't work"
  • "What we've got to focus on is making sure that the political & social contexts are such that the domain experts can do their stuff"
  • Risks of the hubris of experts: "They're lay people on everything else"
  • "Have our own domains of expertise and have warranted relations of trust between domains"
  • Some sympathy for the antivaxxers & climate change denialists "they can point to reasons why they shouldn't trust… some of those are good reasons"
  • Even #vegan atheists aren't automatically right about everything else 🙂
  • "The main reason I believe most of the things I believe is because someone I regard as reliable told me"
  • "I think I'm right about lots of stuff - but that's not a reflection of my virtue - that's a reflection of my luck"
  • #Moralluck

26:03 What Matters?

  • "I'm anti-foundationalist generally" & giving up the idea of absolute certainty
  • "I don't think we can have perfect actions"
  • “We’re thrown into a world in which things have value for us… we can be sceptical of them… but the scepticism has less power than the value itself”
  • Moore’s response to solipsism “here’s one hand… here’s another”
  • “The idea that nothing matters… requires an idea of ultimateness that maybe doesn’t make sense… maybe ultimately nothing matters… the universe will suffer a heat death… That’s kind of sad but it’s not the perspective to ask about… [instead] Is my life going better or worse?… is the world going better or worse from the perspective of the beings in that world?”
  • Why should we care about others? “I’m not sure that’s a challenge we should be in the business of trying to meet”
  • Is morality ultimately selfish? “Scratch an altruist and watch a hypocrite bleed”… “That’s a crass confusion of the proximate and the ultimate levels of explanation… the ultimate explanation might be because it’s in our interests to care… but that doesn’t mean we don’t care.” Just as sex might be ultimately about procreation but can also be about pleasure
  • “You can explain things without explaining them away”

34:02 Who Matters?

  • Assumed & implicit #Anthropocentrism
  • “I think of at least some of them [non-human animals] as moral agents as well as moral patients”
  • Insect & mollusc sentience?
  • Two different bases for mattering morally: sentience & having a point of view
  • Converting from continental to analytic philosophy
  • Peter Singer’s “sentience is what matters for non-human animals… gives you a concern with suffering but not life”
  • The idea that: “It would be fine… to get a kitten… make it’s life a good kitten life… and then painlessly kill it” and the #Thanos snap
  • The reason painless killing of a sentient being is itself wrong is if that being has “a unified point of view”
  • David Chalmer’s P-zombies “doesn’t have the capacity for phenomenality at all but has a point of view… I think would count as a moral agent and a moral patient… at least close to as morally significant as I am – maybe completely”
  • “I think that phenomenality does less work than philosophers have thought”
  • “I was at Monash University at a time when the entire philosophy department was convinced by Peter [Singer] that they should be vegetarian but almost none were.”
  • “They found it difficult – I didn’t”
  • “I did find it harder to give up cheese – which I did years later”
  • “I have no lived sympathy with those people who say they find it really hard… these days in particular… At least if you’re living in the UK or Australia”
  • “What doesn’t make it easy is social pressure… you know that veganism is highly stigmatised” 😊
  • “Very online atheists are nothing like most atheists… they’re much more aggressive… maybe something like that is going on with veganism too”
  • The parallels between journeys towards atheism & veganism re: intellectual / ethical thought vs. social norms
  • How strongly held ethics can lead to warped epistemology
  • The dangers of motivated reasoning (“veganism cures cancer!”) even if our motives are good

49:07 How Can We Make a Better Future?

  • Would everyone adopting Sentientism solve all the world’s problems?
  • “I don’t share your optimism… I’m actually quite deeply pessimistic… because of climate change… vested interests but also the collective action problem”
  • “We’ve left taking it [climate change] seriously late and we’re now going to have to spend literally trillions on adaptations and, even so, there’s going to be a lot of death”
  • “Veganism is one of the few things individuals can do that actually make a difference”
  • “We need to take much better care of the environment… the natural environment… but also the institutional and social environment… and the informational environment”
  • “Caring about other animals matters not just for their sake but for our own”
  • Land use, emissions, zoonosis, pollution impacts of animal agriculture
  • Structuring the informational environment to enable collective action and collaboration
  • “Peer review in science is hugely flawed but… it has elements that can work… that needs to be rolled out across many different social structures… collective co-operation… that channels conflict”
  • The airline industry’s safety culture: total transparency re: mistakes and a collective focus on not making them again
  • Virtue epistemology “good thinking as dependent on character traits which are at once intellectual and ethical… like respect for arguments, respect for people, humility”
  • “I’m not even sure ethics is a separate subject…”
  • Free will and the philosophy of action
  • “The things [epistemology & ethics] leak into each other.. they’re porous… they’re not things we should be trying to have hard and fast boundaries between”
  • “The criticisms of virtue signalling are often overblown… I don’t think there’s anything wrong with indicating your values… as part of establishing trust relationships with each other”
  • “It can become a kind of pathology when people build their entire identity around a kind of signalling of their good qualities”
  • The danger of virtue signalling identity being driven by bad incentives (e.g. maximising the number of Twitter followers)
  • Bad Beliefs, Why They Happen to Good People” and many of Neil’s other papers and books are open access and free to read!

Sentientism is “Evidence, reason & compassion for all sentient beings.” More at

Join our “I’m a Sentientist” wall using this simple form.

Everyone, Sentientist or not, is welcome in our groups. The biggest so far is here on Facebook.

Thanks to Graham for the post-production and to Tarabella and Denise for helping to fund this episode via our Sentientism Patreon.