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Final episode of Season 4 - Animal Liberation Now with Philosopher Peter Singer

That's a wrap on Season 4! It's not just the final episode of Season 4, it's also episode 75. What a milestone!It's so fun to look back and older episodes, see how I've grown, reconnect with previous guests. Powerful stuff. That also means that I'll hit episode 100 this year in Season 5, there will definitely be something special for that one! Thank you so much to my amazing listeners and my incredible guests for helping make this podcast the special show it is. I am so grateful for you all.

Coning back to the present, today, I am joined by the one and only, Philosopher Peter Singer. Recently retired from his role as Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics in the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University, (though when this episode was recorded he was teaching his final semester) Peter is often referred to as the “Father of the modern animal rights movement.” Journalists tagged him as the “world’s most influential living philosopher.” Peter believes this is attributed to the work within ethical treatment of animals and of the influence that his writing has had on development of effective altruism. When I mentioned to a friend that I would interviewing Peter, they said to me “that guy is pretty controversial” (would he be a philosopher if he wasn’t?) Peter attributes statements like this to his controversial critique of the sanctity of life ethics in bioethics. He is the author of Animal Liberation and the updated Animal Liberation Now and several other books on rights, Effective Altruism, and more. 

Animal Liberation, the 1993 edition, was the first book I read after going vegetarian. It solidified in me that I had made the right choice to stop eating animals and it reignited my interest in and love for philosophy. As I pursued my philosophy degree I dug into various philosophers who wrote about rights, I wrote paper after paper discussing them. In fact, I really had to reign it in during my Environmental Philosophy course so my professor didn't think that was the only thing I could write about.

One of the many things we discuss in this episode is the principle of Equal Consideration of Interests. Equal Consideration of Interests is a moral philosophy which states that we should give equal weight to all involved when deciding the moral rightness of our actions. Jeremy Bentham was one of the few of his time to see how this concept applied beyond our own species. I'll include his famous passage below, highlighting the piece that most, if they've heard of this, are familiar.

The day may come, when the rest of the animal creation may acquire those rights which never could have been withholden from them but by the hand of tyranny. The French have already discovered that the blackness of skin is no reason why a human being should be abandoned without redress to the caprice of a tormentor. It may come one day to be recognized, that the number of legs, the villosity of the skin, or the termination of the os sacrum, are reasons equally insufficient for abandoning a sensitive being to the same fate. What else is it that should trace the insuperable line? Is it the faculty of reason, or perhaps, the faculty for discourse?...the question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer? - Jeremy Bentham

Be sure to take a listen to this powerful episode. You just might come away with something new.

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This episode is sponsored by Learn Veganic.

Grow your garden the vegan way!

What did you find most interesting about this episode? Tell me in the comments below!

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