When it comes to thinking about animals, Bob Fischer believes we should be doing it more often and more deeply. A professor of philosophy at Texas State University and the author of, among other things, Animal Ethics—A Contemporary Introduction, Bob joins the podcast this week for a conversation about animal ethics, philosophy, and activism. Bob shares how empirical data and philosophical considerations can help challenge society’s cruel treatment of animals and even encourage more compassion toward them. We also discuss why people might be persuaded to care about chickens and even have their heartstrings tugged by cows but generally fail to empathize with insects. Plus, Bob tells us why quantifying animal suffering can help activists prioritize the best use of their resources, including both time and money.
*We are thrilled to expand the accessibility of our podcast by offering written transcripts of the interviews! Click here to read Mariann’s interview with Bob Fischer*
Bob Fischer is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Texas State University, a Senior Research Manager for Rethink Priorities, and the Director of the Society for the Study of Ethics and Animals. His most recent books are Animal Ethics—A Contemporary Introduction (Routledge) and Weighing Animal Welfare: Comparing Wellbeing across Species (Oxford University Press).
“Veganism is the very beginning of a long journey toward actually doing what’s right.” – Bob Fischer
Highlights for Episode 701:
- The complexities behind one of the basic tenets of animal activism: If we don’t have to cause extraordinary suffering, then we shouldn’t
- Why Bob doesn’t follow any particular school of philosophical thought
- How we can assess what pain and pleasure look like for animals
- How philosophical theory helps us decide how to act in the best interest of animals
- How the philosophical case for animal equality has changed over the last 25 years due to developments in animal welfare science
- Philosophical ways we think about sentience, how we identify markers in all creatures, and why it’s critical to understand the big picture when discussing what sentience means
- Activism at large and how everyone plays a unique, individual role
- The importance of using philosophical questions to examine our activism
- Bob’s latest book, Weighing Animal Welfare: Comparing Wellbeing across Species, and why it could be helpful to animal activists
- Whether quantifying animal suffering can make people rethink their lifestyle choices
- How to Clear 500,000 Feral Cats from New York’s Streets
- FakeMeats.com coupon code HENHOUSE23 for 15% off Plant Basics products
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This episode is brought to you in part through the generosity of A Well-Fed World. A Well-Fed World provides the means for change by empowering individuals, social justice organizations, and political decision makers to embrace the benefits of plant-based foods and farming. Learn more at awfw.org.