Dr. Matthew Cole is the only vegan sociologist that I know of. His unique point of view on veganism, especially its implications with respect to ethics, transhumanism, and the application of technology, has already left a mark on the way I perceive the small challenges of being vegan as an opportunity for personal discipline and growth. I have learned a lot from him and I hope you take this interview as an opportunity to challenge and reconsider your personal choices with respect to non-human animals. Alternatively, if you are dead-set that you are a predator, and consuming animals is the only conceivable alternative that is compatible with your identity, then perhaps you ought to skip this episode altogether. Sadly, I believe it would be a missed opportunity but, at the end of the day, you should make your own choices.
During this 2-hour interview with Dr. Matthew Cole, we cover a variety of interesting topics such as: the story of how he became a vegan sociologist; unemployment and basic income; playing guitar in a thrash metal band; the original vegan society definition of veganism; breaching experiments and social norms; the media representation and image of veganism; Dr. Who and my 6 reasons why I went vegan; transhumanism, nature and human exceptionalism; David Pearce’s Hedonistic Imperative; the importance of social structures and personal humility in everything we do; Matthew’s free open course on why non-human animals are victims of harm.
My favorite quote that I will take away from this conversation with Dr. Matthew Cole is:
Coming up with technical fixes rather than ethical reform, revolution, rebellion . . . Every time that technology tries to stand in for ethics, we do ourselves a disservice, […] we deny ourselves the opportunity for growth. Sex Robots and Vegan Meat, Page 298
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Matthew Cole is a Lecturer in Criminology at The Open University. His work focuses on how nonhuman animals are socially constructed as objects for human use, and the harms that flow from those constructions. These interests have led him to investigate how children are socialised to simultaneously care for other animals, while accepting the normality of exploiting them, as food, entertainment, and so on. Matthew also researches the history and representation of veganism, not least for veganism’s potential to deconstruct and disrupt the business as usual of exploiting other animals.