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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: July, 2016
Jul 31, 2016

What is logic? Can something be true and false at the same time? Can we ever have perfect certainty? Those are some of the epistemological questions I asked the philosopher Dr. Timothy Williamson of Oxford University.

We also dove into the metaphysics of concepts and mathematics - and here we had the greatest disagreement. Do concepts have any existence outside of our conception of them? He says yes, I say no, and the consequences are very large.

Jul 28, 2016

"Trivial, dogmatic, and useless" - that's the professional reputation of tautologies.

I don't think tautologies deserve their reputation. In fact, I think they are profound and foundational to any critical worldview.

Here are three reasons why the orthodox philosophic position regarding tautologies is mistaken.

 

Jul 24, 2016

Logic has been called many things - "the rules of language", "the rules of reasoning", "the rules of existence", and so on. I want to know what logic is, so I spoke with Dr. Timothy Williamson of Oxford University to help me find out.

We cover a ton of great topics - the nature of logic, language, paradoxes, and the metaphysics of concepts and numbers.

Jul 19, 2016

Imagine a hungry donkey standing exactly between two identical bales of hay. Could it choose between them?

The paradox of Buridan's ass is an old, famous paradox going back thousands of years. I think it contains a mistaken premise, but if we're careful, we can formulate it in a way to paralyze our donkey.

The example helps us think clearly about what it means to be "identical" and "different."

Jul 17, 2016

Anarchism is a scary word, but it's a sensible political philosophy. Over the last several years, I've been persuaded by libertarian anarchism, and I think it's important to cover the basic ways of thinking about political issues as an anarchist.

In this episode, I want to give you the groundwork for an anarchist's intuition.

Note: by "anarchism", I am referring to "market anarchism", not "socialist/communist anarchism." There's a big difference between the two.

Jul 14, 2016

This sentence is false. Is that sentence true or false? If it's true, it's false. If it's false, it's true. This is the liar's paradox, and philosophers have been debating it for thousands of years. 

From what I can tell, it's tricky, but it can be resolved with a little inspection. We don't need to throw out classical logic.

Jul 11, 2016

A great deal has been written about how "weird" quantum physics is. Many wild and radical ideas are drawn from the field. However, few people seem to understand the basic concepts.

Before we evaluate the different theories in quantum physics, we need to grasp the fundamentals - the theories, data, and philosophy surrounding quantum events.

I am joined by Dr. Simon Saunders of Oxford University, who is a professor of the philosophy of physics, and he lays out the basic ideas.

Jul 6, 2016

Logic is the secret to all critical thinking. It is the root of every philosophical tree. When you understand what "necessity" means, you'll start grasping the most fundamental principle in the universe.

Jul 3, 2016

The Austrian School of economics is outside the mainstream, but I find their arguments compelling. Specifically, their claims about the epistemological status of economic theory - the philosophy of economics.

My guest is Dr. Peter Boettke from George Mason University. He is an Austrian School proponent, and we dive into some of the deeper questions surrounding the nature of pure logic in economic theory.

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