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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: 2018
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...

May 6, 2018
Is a “whole” really something greater than the sum of its parts? Or, is a “whole” identical to the sum of its parts?
 
Dr. Andrew Brenner joins me for a fun conversation about mereology - the study of parts and wholes. While it might seem like an esoteric topic, it’s actually central to metaphysics, and the conclusions have implications on things as varied as the philosophy of mind, personal identity, and even the philosophy of mathematics and geometry.
 
Both Dr. Brenner and I agreed in this episode: the only things that exist are simple substances. There aren’t actually any composite objects, though we act like there are for easy navigation in the world.
May 3, 2018

Zeno's paradoxes are some of the most famous. Most modern philosophers simply dismiss them as "resolved" because of calculus. However, that's a logical mistake. Calculus actually does not resolve Zeno's paradoxes. What resolves them is a base-unit of physical reality.

Apr 29, 2018

I am joined again by Ryan Charles to discuss the current state of the Bitcoin Cash network. After the failure of the Segwit2x proposal to scale Bitcoin, a significant percentage of early adopters have moved onto the Bitcoin Cash network, and progress is happening fast.

In fact, as of this interview, I've decided to only support Bitcoin Cash addresses for my work, and I've decided to write my next book on Bitcoin, called "The First Fork: From Bitcoin to Bitcoin Cash."

Apr 26, 2018

This is a narrated article from the 2016 campaign season. I was inspired by the rhetoric of Bernie Sanders to create some satire...

Apr 22, 2018

Imagine it's the late evening in Atlanta, and a small white woman is walking to her car in a parking lot. A black man she didn't see before walks up behind her. She gets nervous and feels like she might be in danger. She holds onto her purse a little more tightly.

Is this a clear case of racism? Is it simply rational behavior? If it's racism, is it a moral problem?

TK Coleman joins me to discuss these types of situations in Part Two of our conversation on race and colorblindness. Is it really possible to be colorblind, or is that naive to think? Are race relations improving or getting worse in America?

We cover these questions, and many more, in this episode.

Apr 19, 2018

This is a narration of an article I wrote when the US Supreme Court made their famous ruling on gay marriage. When you step back and view the big picture, the whole situation is bizarre. Humans, themselves, are bizarre, as are their political structures.

Apr 16, 2018

TK Coleman joins me for another excellent conversation about race. This week, we focus on the concept of "colorblindness."

Is it possible to be colorblind, or is that naive? Can we recognize differences among groups, while still judging every individual according to their own character?

Is white supremacism a fundamental feature of white people's minds - so much, that they cannot spot it within themselves? Is the reason that so many people deny being racist is because of a lack of self-awareness?

We cover these questions - and many more - in the next two episodes.

 

Apr 8, 2018

Poker can teach us something profound about philosophy. Specifically, it can teach us about the relationship between theory and data, knowledge and experience, and the ancient debate between rationalists and empiricists. 

 

Apr 2, 2018

This week I’m joined by Dr. Bryan Caplan to discuss his new book, “The Case Against Education.” We cover the signaling model of education, whether college is always a good idea, and we got into an interesting conversation about doing interdisciplinary work - something very relevant to my own project.

 

Mar 25, 2018

This is Part 2 of my conversation with Dr. Graham Priest. We talk about the history of logic and the great revisions that took place around the turn of the 20th century.

When logic met math, both disciplines changed, for better or worse.

Mar 18, 2018

My conversation with Dr. Graham Priest, who is best known for his defense of dialetheism - the idea that some contradictions are true.

We talk about logic, metaphysics, the relationship between the two, and focus on the liar's paradox in particular.

Mar 11, 2018

This is my breakdown of David Chalmers' interview on the Closer to Truth Series - about metaphysics and ontology. Are there entities in the world, or is there just stuff? Video here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0QPWQR5f9Q

Mar 4, 2018

If animals can suffer, does that make it immoral to eat meat?

I'm joined again by Dr. Mike Huemer to help me answer this question. He has recently released a series of four dialogues on the topic, which address many of the issues we talk about in this episode.

Also covered: free will, empathy, and whether the nutritional value of meat changes our ethical judgments. 

Feb 25, 2018

Does objective truth exist? Thaddeus Russell joins me for part two of our discussion about postmodernism. In this episode, we focus on the philosophy of truth.

Can we know anything about the world? Can we know anything about our minds? Are the laws of logic objective or just a convention of language?

Feb 18, 2018

I am joined by Dr. Thaddeus Russell to talk about postmodernism. With the popularity of people like Jordan Peterson, who vocally criticize postmodernism, Thaddeus thinks most of the criticism is misplaced.

We also have a great conversation about love, religion, and people's motivation for their actions.

Feb 11, 2018

Season 2 is here! The show starts up again with a fantastic interview with Dr. Bernardo Kastrup about idealism. 

I've spent a lot of time arguing against physicalism and for a kind of "reluctant dualist" worldview, but I've not explained my position on idealism. So, I brought Dr. Kastrup on the show to give his case that only mental stuff exists.

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