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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: December, 2016
Dec 29, 2016

The bittersweet paradox is another popular irrationalist argument, which claims that two mutually exclusive things can be experienced together - happy and sad, black and white, bitter and sweet.

Once again, this type of argument falls short, and precise language clears up any confusion. It conflates the appearance of mutual exclusivity with actual mutual exclusivity.

If two things are mutually exclusive, then they cannot be experienced together. If they are experienced together, it's a demonstration that they aren't mutually exclusive.

Dec 26, 2016

Merry Christmas and Bah Humbug! This is an analysis of my interview with a Christian theologian from Cambridge. I wasn't a big fan of his argument, which ultimately rested on a dubious distinction between "who" and "what."

Also in this episode: my attempt at rationally explaining the connection between Jesus and the Christian God.

Dec 18, 2016

Drug prohibition causes more harm than good - that's the argument from libertarians like Dr. Jeff Miron of Harvard. He analyzes the topic from an economic and practical standpoint.

In this episode, we also discuss the role of government in providing a social safety net. Can private charity do a better job than public charity? Jeff thinks so, and I agree with him.

Dec 11, 2016

For the last decade, I've been searching for certain foundations, and finally, I've found them. Logic represents the foundation for all knowledge, and it's the subject of my first book on philosophy: Square One: The Foundations of Knowledge.

If you are interested in objective truth, certain knowledge, and logic, then pick up a copy. Anybody can read it and understand - it's not written for academics, and it doesn't contain useless jargon.

All of my work - present and future - draws from the ideas in Square One. If I've made a mistake here, you can confidently discard the rest of my worldview without hesitation.

Dec 8, 2016

Though it's bound to upset people, I don't think being in the military is honorable. I think it's a sign of weakness, and in most circumstances, it causes more harm than good.

Submitting to orders is not noble. Killing people because you were commanded to isn't courageous. Believing propaganda is not respectable.

Soldiers are how they've been used: as political pawns for ambitious men.

Dec 4, 2016

What are numbers? What are concepts? Do they exist, or do we just act like they exist?

I'm joined by Dr. Jody Azzouni of Tufts University. He's a philosopher who has been arguing for nominalism for years - the idea that numbers and abstract objects don't exist at all. 

His position is a wonderful contrast to the previous interviews I've done on this topic, where the guests have been Platonists. My own views sit in-between nominalism and Platonism.

I think abstract objects exist, but they do not exist in a Platonic realm. They exist in our minds. When we stop thinking about them, they stop existing.

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