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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: 2017
Oct 8, 2017

I need to take a break from Patterson in Pursuit to focus on health and writing. I can't wait to return.

Oct 5, 2017

Consciousness is a hard phenomenon to explain in any worldview. We seem to be able to intentionally change the content of our experience. How is that possible? 

Oct 1, 2017

Who determines whether an individual or group has the right to govern themselves? 

At what point does secession become legitimate?

How many people need to get together in order to secede?

I try to tackle some of these questions while giving my perspective on the imminent Catalonia independence referendum. I am unabashedly in favor of secession - all the way down to the individual.

Sep 28, 2017

Language is ambiguous. If you want to communicate effectively, you must understand that different people have different meanings for the same words. 

Far too many rationalists waste their time arguing for objective definitions, instead of stating their intended meaning for words.

Sep 24, 2017

Can the whole be greater than the sum of its parts? Does consciousness require that we split the world between mind and body? Can free will exist in a naturalistic worldview?

Dr. David Kelley joins me on this episode to give his Objectivist perspective on these questions. As Dr. Kelley explains, many ideas in Objectivism are heavily influenced by Aristotelian thinking.

Sep 21, 2017

Many thinkers are more concern with how their ideas look, rather than how accurate they are. They want to appear intelligent, rather than have true beliefs. I call them the "fashionable thinkers," and this is my rant against them.

I've noticed many common traits among fashionable thinkers. Have you?

Sep 17, 2017

Do we see reality as it is? Or, are we stuck inside our own mental representations of the world?

My guest this week is Dr. Donald Hoffman, who believes that there's a 0% chance that we accurately perceive the world. He believes that mental phenomena - consciousness, experience, qualia - is the real stuff that makes up the world, not physical objects.

Sep 14, 2017

It's tempting to dismiss anybody who claims they've been abducted by aliens or seen Bigfoot in the forest. However, simple dismissal might not be the most rational response.

Extreme cases can actually help us understand the relationship between the mind and the world? What exactly do these people see/experience, and how can we know?

Sep 10, 2017

Part four of my conversation about race with TK Coleman. In this episode, we talk about the intersection of race, politics, and economics in America.

It's impossible to understand how the world works without understanding economics, and once you grasp the fundamentals, economics will change your worldview - especially your political theory.

TK understands economics and has a political solution that everybody should be able to agree on. We don't have to argue about the extent of racism anymore; we can agree on a solution, regardless of the severity of the problem.

Sep 7, 2017

Is the world composed of one thing or many things?

Some thinkers believe that the universe is one object that our minds chop up into many pieces.

I believe that the universe is many objects that our minds unify into one whole.

It might seem abstract, but regardless of your conclusion, it's got big implications.

Sep 3, 2017

Is it racist to notice cultural differences among groups? Can we make judgments about those differences?

Without a doubt, race is one of the most taboo subjects to talk about in America.

To help me grapple with these sticky questions, I'm talking with T.K. Coleman. We spoke in episodes 40 and 41 about race relations, and we continue the conversation today.

Aug 27, 2017

This is the craziest time in Bitcoin's history, and it's mired in confusion and misinformation. To help give some context, I'm joined by a long time Bitcoiner and entrepreneur Ryan X. Charles, who is the CEO and co-founder of Yours.

He breaks down some of the facts and history surrounding the network split and creation of Bitcoin Cash.

If you're interested in Bitcoin at all, you'll want to listen to this episode. If you appreciate the content and want to donate Bitcoin or Bitcoin Cash, you can use this address: 

1A3oPBkXU156c3NKqWpNdGfTizc8JAgwKZ

Aug 20, 2017

In this episode, I'm joined by Oren Sofer to talk about meditation and philosophy. We start by laying out the basics of meditation - what's going on, internally and externally - and then we get into some of the deeper questions in metaphysics like:

"What is the mind?","What is the self?", "Do observations require an observer?"

Aug 14, 2017

How well-justified are the insights of feminist philosophy? What is the metaphysical status of the patriarchy? Is there such a thing as a "biological difference" between men and women?

This is my interview breakdown of Episode 51 - my conversation with Dr. Michelle Boulous-Walker of the University of Queensland.

Let's just say: we disagree.

Aug 6, 2017

Hegel is famous for being a difficult and controversial philosopher. His work comes up often in my conversations about paradox and contradiction - from those who argue that paradoxes can exist in the world. 

Or, even more strongly, from those argue that "the world is paradoxical."

I don't know much about Hegel, so I've traveled to Atlanta to interview Dr. Donald Verene of Emory University, who specializes in Hegelian philosophy.

Jul 30, 2017

The Silk Road case is filled to the brim with corruption, and the media has done a terrible job getting the facts out. Ross Ulbricht has been painted as a vicious kingpin, when in fact, he has no violence in his background, nor has he been charged with any violent crimes.

New evidence keeps emerging that demonstrate Ross has been abused by the American legal system. My guest, Lyn Ulbricht, is the mother of Ross, and she shares some of this new evidence in our conversation.

If you want to learn more about the case, or if you want to donate to their fund, visit freeross.org.

Jul 23, 2017

My conversation with Oscar Martin, a Catholic priest in Panama City, Panama. We cover many topics - the church, the sacraments, faith, love, hierarchy, and community. I don't know much about Catholicism, so this is my attempt to try to discover some of the basics.

Jul 16, 2017

Patrick Byrne is known as the founder and CEO of Overstock.com. However, few people know that he also has a PhD in Philosophy from Stanford.

In this interview, we talk about ethics - both business and personal. He shares some of his most fundamental values in life.

We also cover his analysis of the "social justice" phenomenon.

Jul 10, 2017

JP Sears is known for his "ultra-spiritual" satirical videos. However, he's not just a satirist. Turns out, he's actually a serious life-coach with interesting ideas who actually believes many of the things he satirizes.

In this interview, we talk about his worldview and ideas about spirituality and religion, and I share some of my thoughts on the subject.

If you can sort through the dirt and dogma, there is truth to be found in the spiritual side of life.

Jul 2, 2017

Science has flaws. We must discover and acknowledge them if we want to avoid dogmatic thinking. Too many people dismiss skepticism about the rigor of modern science as “anti-intellectual.” They overlook serious problems with the scientific method in practice.

I am joined this week by Brian Earp, the author of the excellent article "The Unbearable Asymmetry of Bullshit"

Jun 29, 2017

It's easy to dismiss any insights while gained in an altered state as "crazy". But there might be more going on.

Drugs seem to make people naturally more philosophic; they shake you from your regular framework, which might be what people need in order to grasp the truth from a new direction.

But of course, drug use comes with its own risks. I've seen too many people whose wires have crossed after taking a few too many magic mushrooms. Use at your own risk.

Jun 25, 2017

Are there exceptions to the so-called "non-aggression principle," which says that it is never justified to initiate force against a peaceful person?

In some circumstances, could it be justified to use physical force on somebody that doesn't consent? What qualifies as "consent" in the first place?

This is part 1 of my breakdown of Episode 50 - my conversation with Stephan Kinsella. In the future, I'll release a second breakdown of our conversation about argumentation ethics.

Jun 22, 2017

Ambiguity is part of language. Words do not have objective definitions; they mean whatever you want them to mean.

You don't hear or see words - you hear sounds and see blobs of color that qualify as "words" by your own conceptual criteria.

Jun 17, 2017

What if a technology existed that allowed anybody in the world to trade with anybody else in the world - whatever they want, whenever they want, and without permission from anybody else.

What would the world look like? What would the political and economic implications be?

That technology is currently being created, and my very own brother has co-founded a company to develop it.

Jun 15, 2017

100% of the space that we experience is space within our representation of the world. Does that imply space is only in our heads?

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