Jan 11, 2021
20: “De-centring the human” – Robot (and other non-human) Rights author Josh Gellers - Sentientist Conversation
Play • 1 hr 16 min

Josh Gellers is an associate professor at the University of North Florida. His work spans animal, environmental and artificial intelligence ethics and law. He is a research fellow with the Earth System Governance Project and is a Fulbright scholar. He is Author of “Rights for Robots: Artificial Intelligence, Animal and Environmental Law” (open access!).

Full show notes are here:

In these Sentientist Conversations (subscribe!), we talk about the two most important questions: “what’s real?” & “what matters?”. Sentientism is “evidence, commitment & compassion for all sentient beings.”

Our conversation is also here on YouTube.

We discuss:

  • Seeing the impact of climate first hand in South Florida
  • Spanning “hard” and social sciences, rights, ethics and law, animal, environmental and artificial intelligence… inter-disciplinary
  • Sophia the robot and non-human entity rights
  • Growing up in a culturally Jewish household, with a mix of conservative religious and more secular liberal perspectives
  • Doubting religion from an early age
  • How could there be an omnipotent, omniscient, all-loving god when there is so much suffering?
  • Seeing examples of sexism and societal shaming within orthodox religion
  • Kosher laws as historic public health recommendations
  • Exposure to Buddhist animal ethics in Sri Lanka (living with spiders)
  • “Other ways of knowing and worlding” and pluralism
  • Wanting to say there are certain universals, but hesitating to say “I have the right way”
  • Guilt and consciousness about how to be in the world
  • Learning, respecting, humility, open-mindedness, compassion
  • Doing the above without slipping into a relativism that allows the powerful to oppress others
  • Critical environmental ethic with underlying pillars: Compassionate, resilience, sensitivity to the needs of others – ground rules as a safety net vs. relativism
  • Needlessly causing harm isn’t compassionate, whatever your cultural norms
  • People who care about people they know and people who care about people they don’t know
  • And more... Full show notes are here:

Josh is @JoshGellers and his home page is at

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