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Patterson in Pursuit

Interviews with intellectuals from across the globe. Exploring philosophy, politics, religion, and rationalism. Steve Patterson is an independent philosopher currently traveling the world to interview people in the pursuit of truth. Topics include logic and epistemology, skepticism, metaphysics, ethics, science and religion, truth, Christianity, Buddhism, atheism, culture, economics, the philosophy of mathematics, and every other topic that's important to humans.
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Patterson in Pursuit
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Nov 26, 2021

Wonderful conversation with my old friend Isaac Deitz who shares his personal religious journey. After decades of being a Christian, he no longer identifies with that label.

In my opinion, that's only because "Christian" is a terrible term nowadays. By some metrics, Isaac is a raging Christian. By others, he is a heretic. In that respect, I am coming to many of the same ideas about religion and truth--spiritual truth is often at odds with religious dogma. Better to give up a label than give up the pursuit of truth.

Isaac's website: http://www.isaacdeitz.com/

Jul 6, 2021

The best explanation for the current madness of the world is that we're in a dark age and have been for at least a century. The epistemic standards of the 20th century were not high enough to overcome social, psychological, and political entropy.

Jan 21, 2021

A couple of months ago, my friend Isaac Morehouse asked me to talk about the philosophy of mathematics and why I consider it so important.

Appeals to mathematics are everywhere, from COVID lockdowns to NFL play calling, and if our concepts about math are flawed, we make the world a significantly worse place.

 

Apr 19, 2020
What does scientific progress look like? Is it steady progress, getting ever closer to the truth? Or does it go through waves?
 
What about cases where we seem to have lost knowledge or the foundations of a theory we’ve been building on turned out to be wrong? Can that still be useful? Is that still progress?
 
These are some of the questions I explore with Dr. Geoff Anders.
Mar 31, 2020

A critical thinker must have the ability to zoom in and zoom out - to hyper-focus on cause and effect and to see how things interconnect in the big picture.

It's a common and critical error to be too-zoomed-in or too-zoomed-out. The over-focused mind is like the mathematician who doesn't realize the assumptions of his model are non-mathematical and likely wrong.

The under-focused mind is like the mushroom-enthusiast that's content concluding "All is one", with no finer-resolution of analysis.

The careful thinker must be constantly zooming in and zooming out, gathering ideas from all levels of resolution.

Mar 8, 2020

Libertarians like myself tend to focus on the abuse of power hierarchies. The existence of a "ruling class" makes most of us uneasy. However, might these sociological structures serve a valuable purpose? Are they inevitable parts of human society?

Samo Burja joins me to discuss.

Jan 10, 2020

For years, I've been making anti-Platonist arguments. Now, I think I was wrong. The universe seems to be composed of both concrete and abstract stuff.

Nov 19, 2019

Episode 100 of Patterson in Pursuit! Wow, what a milestone. Thanks to everybody who has listened to and supported the show. I hope it's created value for you.

In this episode, I share my personal thoughts about the show, some of my motivations, the conversations that were impactful to my own philosophy, and some funny experiences along the way. And of course, more heretical thoughts about the philosophy of mathematics.

Sep 8, 2019

Do logic and rationality have limits? Are there ways to "get outside" of rational thinking? Do altered states caused by psychedelics provide true insight about the world, or are they illusory?

These are the questions I discuss with Dr. Bernardo Kastrup, who shares some of his personal experiments and insights gained psychedelic drugs.

Sep 1, 2019

Is everything ultimately mental? Do we need a theory of a physical world at all? Dr. Bernardo Kastrup joins me again to talk about idealism.

This time, we go into great detail, both put our ideas to the test, and the result was one of my favorite interviews ever. I end up asking Bernardo some of the most difficult questions in philosophy. 

 

 

Aug 22, 2019

Finally, after investigating for more than 20 years, I have a concept of God I can rationally grasp. The idea is one of the oldest in existence, and it turns baroque theological claims into true and important insights.

Aug 2, 2019

Dualism is an attractive philosophy with an Achilles' heel. Dualists since Descartes have never given a good answer to the problem of interaction.

Finally, I think I've got one. I have a working resolution to the problem of interaction that I call a theory of indirect interaction, which allows effective interaction between objects in different ontological categories.

Original article here: http://steve-patterson.com/mind-body-dualism-solving-problem-interaction/

May 19, 2019

Lots of confusion is caused by the nature of language.

This is a narration of the article "There Are No Objective Definitions", which you can read here: http://steve-patterson.com/there-are-no-objective-definitions/

Apr 21, 2019

Dr. Doron Zeilberger is the Distinguished Professor of Mathematics at Rutgers University. He's also a math heretic who thoroughly rejects the orthodox conceptions of infinity in modern mathematics. So we got along quite well.

We had a fantastic conversation covering a wide range of topics, including set theory, calculus and limits, pi, irrational numbers like the square root of two, real analysis, and Godel's Incompleteness Theorems.

If you're interested in the philosophy of mathematics, this is a must-listen.

Apr 7, 2019

The most requested interview breakdown ever - my conversation with Thaddeus Russell about the postmodern theory of truth. Fun episode!

Can we know that experience is happening?

If somebody denies that they know, is it possible to convince them?

Mar 24, 2019

Christopher Langan is an independent intellectual known for having the highest IQ in America - somewhere around 200, which is six standard deviations above the norm.

His story is fascinating. Chris is not working within the academy. Instead, he's splitting his time between ranching and philosophizing.

We spoke about a wide range of topics, including the problems of modern academia, the concept of IQ, and his attempt at a Theory of Everything entitled "The Cognitive-Theoretic Model of the Universe" - or the "CTMU".

You can find more information about the CTMU at:

http://hology.org/

You can also find Chris's work and support him on Patreon at:

https://www.patreon.com/CTMU

Sep 2, 2018

Who is Satoshi Nakamoto? If you've been in the Bitcoin world for a while, you know that's the last question you should try to answer.

However, I've recently come across a story that I find quite plausible, written by Phil Wilson (aka Scronty). Phil documents the thinking-process behind the Bitcoin invention, in addition to providing many historical details around the creation of Bitcoin.

His story also explains the perplexing existence of Craig Wright. It's the only narrative that implies Craig is both a) Part of the Satoshi team, and b) largely fraudulent, at the same time. It explains how Craig was able to convince notable people like Gavin Andreson of being Satoshi, while also explaining his extremely poor writing and communication skills.

It also fits the facts of Satoshi's extremely careful Op Sec - though not in the way you might think.

The story isn't perfect - and Phil admits as much - but taken together, his story is the best I've heard, and worthy of 7 hours of interviewing.

Jun 28, 2018

My conversation with Dr. Walter Block about abortion and natural rights, which is one of the trickiest issues in any political philosophy, libertarianism included. He's the creator of a theory called "evictionism," which tries to take a middle ground between pro-life and pro-choice positions.

In my analysis, it's a reasonable compromise. I cannot think of any principled objections from the pro-choice side, and though a pro-lifer might have objections, the core of Block's argument is pro-life at heart and in the long run could result in the universal protection of pre-birth humans.

Jun 17, 2018

Julia and I have been dealing with a mystery illness for more than six years. It's progressively gotten worse, but finally, after seeing more than 50 doctors in multiple states and countries, we're finding answers.

Our story is not unique. There are millions of people suffering with unknown illness who get misdiagnosed or dismissed by their doctors. Too often, when a conventional doctor does not understand your sickness, they conclude one of two things: it's either in your head, or you're making up the symptoms outright. This is an arrogant and irrational method of thinking. The medical world could use more philosophy and critical reasoning.

If you're struggling with medical problems, hopefully you'll find our story helpful. We waited too long to step outside the conventional medical system, due to my own dogmatic thinking surrounding "alternative medicine." I had strong opinions about things I didn't understand, and now that my mind has opened, I see lots of high-quality work being done, and alternative treatments are finally helping us. Just like every other area of thought, "the experts" really are clueless.

Jun 10, 2018
Tom Woods joins me for a great discussion about Catholicism, papal authority, and his story of becoming an independent intellectual entrepreneur. 
 
Was the Catholic Church really an anti-intellectual, anti-science organization throughout history, or is that simply a myth?
 
Does the truth stand apart from what the Pope declares? Can the Pope be wrong?
 
These questions and lots more.
May 31, 2018

The purpose of this article is to point out where my fellow rationalists are being dogmatic, in particular, with regard to Austrian Economics. Philosophers like Hans-Hermann Hoppe tend to drop the "ceteris paribus" condition, turning true-but-neutered claims into false-and-dogmatic ones.

May 27, 2018

This week's interview is with Jeff Tucker. We're talking about how capitalism fits into the bigger picture. Libertarians tend to assume that everybody values the creation of wealth, and therefore free markets are important. But why make this assumption? Perhaps free markets create wealth at the cost of personal or spiritual impoverishment. What to think about this objection?

We also address the staggering beauty and complexity of free markets, illustrated in proper Jeff Tucker style: by telling the romantic story of tuna fish in a vending machine.

 

May 24, 2018

Few things are as intuitively obvious, yet philosophically challenging, as the existence of free will.

There’s a fashionable critique of free will that says, “The very concept of free will is incoherent; therefore, it obviously doesn’t exist.”

This article does not make the case for or against the existence of free will. Instead, it defends its conceptual coherence. Free will is not a nonsensical idea, and it might exist.

May 17, 2018

This article was inspired by a life-size replica of the crucifixion within a church in Bergen, Norway. The church service was pointless, but the replica sparked some valuable thoughts about love and hate.

May 13, 2018

This narrated article is about using the Rubik's Cube as an analogy for philosophic paradoxes and problem-solving. There are no unsolvable scrambles...

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