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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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Now displaying: May, 2016
May 29, 2016

"Completed infinities" are at the center of modern mathematics. Their existence is taken as a foundational axiom. I must admit: I think this is an error - a logical mistake. Infinity, by definition, cannot be completed, right?

I am joined by Dr. Gary McGuire, the head of Mathematics and Statistics at the University College Dublin. To my surprise, Gary also expresses skepticism about completed infinities.

May 25, 2016

Most ethical questions are framed incorrectly. Morality isn't about actions and consequences. It is about intention. Thinking this way avoids a number of popular ethical dilemmas, like the infamous trolley problems.

May 22, 2016

Selfish or simply honest? Egoist philosophy doesn't win popularity contents, but it does claim to be intellectually consistent. The self, they claim, is at the center of all moral values.

I am joined by Michael Malice, who is a best-selling author and self-described egoist. We talk about the philosophy, his thoughts on atheism, and some problems with Ayn Rand's Objectivism.

 

May 18, 2016

The physical world is made up of particles, not objects. Objects are abstractions - they are conceptual boundaries we put around clumps of matter. Without the mind, those boundaries wouldn't exist.

May 15, 2016

My analysis of the philosophies presented so far - covering pragmatism, anarchist legal systems, objective truth, the philosophy of mind, and autodidacticism.

May 11, 2016

It's taboo to criticize democracy. However, if we want to have clear political philosophies, we need to look at both the theory and the practice of democracy. Voters in New Hampshire freely chose a self-described socialist and a thinly-veiled fascist as their #1 picks. That should trouble us.

With a little effort, we might be able to construct a superior political system that doesn't allow foolish politicians to enact foolish policies.

May 8, 2016

American Pragmatism is a philosophy that's been around for more than a century. It's recently seen a renaissance in the last few decades, and I'm talking this week with Dr. John Stuhr, who has written several books on the topic.

We cover pragmatism from the basics to more advanced concepts, and I get to ask Dr. Stuhr a ton of questions in my own pursuit of understanding the philosophy. 

May 4, 2016

A central question in philosophy is "Can we know anything with perfect certainty?" Either way you answer - yes or no - has big implications. Here's my answer in five minutes.

May 1, 2016

Do democracies really make the best decisions? Should we encourage everyone to vote, even if they don't understand the issues?

I am joined today by Dr. Bryan Caplan, who is a professor of economics at George Mason University. He's also the author of "The Myth of the Rational Voter" (http://amzn.to/1Wn9xi4), which takes a skeptical look at the reliability of voting.

We also discuss the educational establishment, from K-12 to Higher Ed, and Dr. Caplan proposes what he calls the "signaling model" of education. 

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