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The Argument Ninja Podcast
81 minutes | Oct 31, 2020
038 - Tribal Literacy and Emotional Intelligence
On this episode of the Argument Ninja podcast I share the audio from an interview I did with Brittney-Nichole Connor-Savarda for her for a new podcast, Living and Leading with Emotional Intelligence. Brittney-Nicole's show coincides with the publication of a book she's written on the topic of emotional intelligence, The EQ Deficiency. Topics discussed: How Brittney-Nichole came to be familiar with my work Definitions of tribalism and tribal psychology The evolutionary roots of tribal psychology; positive and negative aspects of tribalism Definition of polarization, and the effects of increasing polarization Why certain kinds of truth-seeking communication can only happen in the interstitial spaces between ideologically charged tribal zones Why "complexity is unstable" within polarized groups Strategies for improving our emotional intelligence by learning more about, and embracing, our tribal psychology Why "character is contextual", and how we can take advantage of this fact for personal growth Mental models for understanding human nature and social change, and cultivating emotional intelligence Show notes: https://kevindelaplante.com/038-tribal-literacy-and-emotional-intelligence/ Video interview on Brittney-Nichole's channel: https://youtu.be/BMPPPw7zeVU
68 minutes | Apr 5, 2020
037 - 3 Honest Updates: On Failure, Living With a Stutter, and Accepting My Comfort Zone
On this episode of the Argument Ninja podcast I talk openly about why this is the first new episode I've produced in 7 months, and the lessons I'm learning as a life-long stutterer. https://kevindelaplante.com/3-honest-updates Timestamps 00:00 - 03:12 Introduction 03:12 - 05:23 The move and web consolidation update 05:23 - 07:24 Failing at the one thing I set out to do 07:24 - 13:49 Experiments, consulting side-gigs, and coaching 13:40 - 18:12 Argument Ninja video community meetings—motivations and lessons learned 18:12 - 33:34 My history as a stutterer, and how it's influenced my work 33:34 - 42:44 On accepting my comfort zone 42:44 - 48:46 Retreating from my role as community builder (and trying to understand why) 48:46 - 57:53 My views on social media and how I choose to use it 57:53 - 01:06:22 A new opportunity that changes the equation 01:06:22 - 01:07:50 Wrapping up
69 minutes | Aug 28, 2019
036 - Understanding Complex Social Phenomena: More Theories of the Causes of Social Polarization
On this episode of the Argument Ninja podcast I talk about the difficulty of judging how much we really understand about the causes of complex social phenomena—even if we do lots of research and self-study. To help make the case I’m continuing my survey of different theories of the causes of the increase in social polarization that we’re currently experiencing. On this episode I look specifically at the work of two social scientists who have written extensively on this topic: Karen Stenner on the “authoritarian” personality type. Her 2005 book The Authoritarian Dynamic can be read as predicting the expansion of right-wing populism that contributed to the rise of Trump and Brexit. Stenner's work has been influential on Jonathan Haidt's analysis of polarization. Eric Kauffman on the effects of immigration on polarization in white majority countries. His latest book Whiteshift explores how demographic shifts are driving cultural conflict, and how this will likely play out in the longer run. But before I get to these topics, I give some Argument Ninja Dojo updates, do a recap of episode 034, and present a conceptual model for how we should think about the epistemological challenge of understanding complex social phenomena like polarization. Timestamps 00:00 - 01:22 Introduction 01:22 - 06:31 Argument Ninja Dojo Announcements 06:31 - 11:45 Recap of Episode 034 11:45 - 14:41 Outline of What's to Come 14:41 - 23:40 Argument Matrices and the Problem of Calibrating Our Knowledge 23:40 - 25:48 The Epistemological Challenge of Understanding Complex Social Phenomena 25:48 - 42:44 Karen Stenner: The Authoritarian Dynamic 42:44 - 01:04:35 Eric Kauffman: Whiteshift and "Multivocal" Nationalism 01:04:35 - 01:07:56 Reasons to Think We Know Less Than We Think 01:07:56 - 01:08:44 Reminder: Argument Ninja Dojo Discount Coupon Links Links Show notes Click here to learn more about the Argument Ninja Dojo and how to sign up using a discount coupon link for as low as $3/month. Karen Stenner's homepage Eric Kauffman's homepage
74 minutes | Apr 17, 2019
035 - Updates and a Street Epistemology Interview
On episode 035 of the Argument Ninja podcast I share updates on new course development over at kevindelaplante.com, and I share both the audio and the video of a one-hour interview I did with the hosts of the Epistemic podcast, which focuses on "street epistemology". Click to view the video interview on YouTube (full URL: https://youtu.be/rHQYHUksJFk) Timestamps: 0:56 - Topics discussed in the interview 2:15 - New courses in development on kevindelaplante.com 4:37 - How I'm pitching the new courses 5:12 - First course: Become an Argument Ninja 5:43 - Second course: How to Build a Good Argument (Argument and Reason) 6:11 - Third course: How to Know What You're Talking About (Argument and Knowledge) 7:00 - Fourth course: How to Be Understood (Argument and Communication) 7:32 - Fifth course: How to Win Over Your Audience (Argument and Persuasion) 8:52 - Introducing the interview, "street epistemology", and the hosts 11:57 - Critical thinking versus rational persuasion 13:19 - Two approaches to argumentation 16:34 - Why philosophers are suspicious of rhetoric 17:20 - How I was teaching critical thinking back when I was a university professor 17:33 - Origins of the "critical thinking movement" in higher education 21:12 - Jonathan Haidt's "Elephant and the Rider" model 23:54 - My "core belief network" model for helping strategize conversations 29:50 - The virtues of simplicity and clarity 32:05 - The culture of "smartness" in academia 34:49 - Viewing rational persuasion as a martial art 40:49 - Are there some people who should not be given training in these tools? 43:30 - Why critical thinking has a bad name in some circles 47:25 - Is the term "critical thinking" useful if everyone is willing to claim it? 51:21 - When the critical thinking label becomes politicized 51:53 - Why I avoid talking about my personal views on polarized topics 54:26 - Critical thinking, tribalism and polarization 01:01:35 - Keep your core small 01:01:35 - Is street epistemology part of a "mixed martial arts" approach to critical thinking? 01:08:14 - Can scientists do better at communicating with the public? Links: Show notes for this episode Video interview on YouTube My promo video for the new Argument Ninja courses Street Epistemology Anthony Magnabosco's channel Reid Nicewonder's channel Daniel Earles' channel The Critical Thinking Movement in higher education (historical overview)
50 minutes | Mar 6, 2019
034 - Understanding the Causes of Polarization (Part 1): Depolarization Initiatives
In episode 024 of the Argument Ninja Podcast I'm starting a series of episodes that will explore different models of the causes of social and political polarization, and introduce some general principles for thinking critically about complex social phenomena like polarization. In this episode (Part 1) I examine models of polarization and social change that are implicit in the depolarization strategies of three different depolarizing initiatives: Better Angels, AllSides, and OpenMind. https://kevindelaplante.com/034-understanding-the-causes-of-polarization-part-1/ Timestamps: 00:00 Why I'm doing a multi-part series on understanding the causes of polarization 06:46 Ideological polarization and evidence for increases 09:36 Affective polarization and evidence for increases 13:12 The depolarization strategy of Better Angels 20:25 The depolarization strategy of AllSides 26:32 Jonathan Haidt and OpenMind 31:48 The four-factor account of the causes of polarization in Chapter 3 of The Coddling of the American Mind 32:22 Loss of a common enemy or challenge 33:53 Social sorting and the emergence of homogeneous political identity groups 38:14 Partisan media and filter bubbles 39:05 Rise of negative partisanship in government 43:24 On the mismatch between individual-level strategies for depolarization, and multi-level, multi-scalar theories of the causes polarization 49:06 Wrapping up Links: Better Angels (https://www.better-angels.org/) AllSides (https://www.allsides.com) AllSides For Schools (https://allsidesforschools.org/) LivingRoom Conversations (https://www.livingroomconversations.org/) OpenMind (https://openmindplatform.org/) The Righteous Mind (https://righteousmind.com/) The Coddling of the American Mind (https://www.thecoddling.com/)
57 minutes | Jan 11, 2019
033 - Critical Thinking About Conspiracies
On this episode of the Argument Ninja Podcast I'm presenting edited versions of last three episodes of my first podcast show that I produced in 2010-11. These were the last episodes I produced of that podcast series, and I discuss why in the introduction. The last three episodes were on the subject of conspiracies and conspiracy theories. https://kevindelaplante.com/033-critical-thinking-about-conspiracies/ Topics discussed in this episode include: the definition of a conspiracy, and a conspiracy theory local vs global conspiracies default skepticism about conspiracies 9-11, the Moon Landings, the New World Order, mind control technologies, and other conspiracy theory examples real government conspiracies: COINTELPRO (FBI), MK-ULTRA (CIA) falsifiable and unfalsifiable conspiracies lessons each side can learn
40 minutes | Dec 19, 2018
032 - When Tribalism Becomes Pathological
On this episode of the Argument Ninja podcast I share the audio for the three videos I recently produced on Cognitive Biases, Tribalism and Politics. It was designed as one long video presenting one long argument, so the audio works well in this continuous format. Show notes and links: https://kevindelaplante.com/032-when-tribalism-becomes-pathological Topics covered: the "two movies" phenomenon (Scott Adams) the distinction between "psychological" value pluralism and "philosophical" value pluralism what is affect bias? what is cultural cognition? your "value channel profile" what is the focusing illusion? what is availability bias? what is the mere-exposure effect? how do these cognitive biases interact to create an exaggerated and distorted perception of reality? a three-channel model of political values value channel profiles for the libertarian, the progressive liberal, and the conservative can I be a libertarian AND a progressive liberal AND a conservative? sources of "pathological tribalism" analogy: Black Mirror, "Men Against Fire" trading off critical thinking values and political values
26 minutes | Dec 11, 2018
031 - New Cartoon Videos Plus a Fall 2018 Update
On this episode of the Argument Ninja podcast I talk about the three new videos I recently produced on Cognitive Biases, Tribalism and Politics, and I give an update on what's been keeping me busy this fall. Timestamps: Intro 00:00 What have I been up to? 01:24 Creating new videos 01:53 Keynote presenting at a conference in November 02:11 Consulting work 02:54 New tribalism videos 07:55 Inspiration for the videos 08:52 Findings of the "Hidden Tribes" report 09:48 The overall argument of the videos 12:43 Lessons learned from producing content in different formats for different platforms 20:54 Creating a new video course based on the tribalism and critical thinking videos 24:03 Audio versions of the Critical Thinker Academy courses available through Patreon 24:44 Links: Show notes for this episode on kevindelaplante.com Show notes and links to the "Cognitive Biases, Tribalism and Politics" videos Direct links to the videos on YouTube: Part 1 - https://youtu.be/2NjOzvM41zM Part 2 - https://youtu.be/M4x4p3kmWQc Part 3 - https://youtu.be/PIAJxU5DO7s Kevin's Patreon page The Critical Thinker Academy
16 minutes | Sep 10, 2018
030 - Behind the Scenes of My New Video Course
On this episode I talk about the genesis of my new video course, "The Vocabulary of Science: First Steps to Science Literacy", and my decision to start producing the Argument Ninja podcast in both audio and video formats. Next episode will be an "Ask Me Anything" episode. You can submit questions at this URL: https://kevindelaplante.com/ama Listeners can access the video course at the Critical Thinker Academy or on Udemy. Follow the links below: At the Critical Thinker Academy (included in the site-wide subscription for as low as $3/month): https://criticalthinkeracademy.com/p/the-vocabulary-of-science On Udemy (this link will give you a HUGE discount on the retail price): https://kevindelaplante.com/vocabulary-of-science-udemy Supporting members on Patreon also get access to all of the content at the Critical Thinker Academy, including this new course: https://patreon.com/kevindelaplante The video version of this episode! https://youtu.be/NrwfY6YYRVk Show notes for this episode: https://kevindelaplante.com/30-behind-the-scenes-of-my-new-video-course/ In This Episode: (0:00 - 0:45) Introductory remarks - new course, and this podcast has both audio and video versions (0:45 - 1:10) Next episode is an "Ask Me Anything" episode (1:10 - 4:00) Introduction to my new Vocabulary of Science video course. Play the promo video for the course. (4:00 - 5:15) How to access the course. (5:15 - 8:40) The history of this course: science education; producing a "critical thinking about science" podcast; designing a curriculum that teaches genuine science literacy. (8:40 - 10:00) Pivoting toward the Argument Ninja concept. (10:00 - 11:34) The decision to create new courses for Udemy and the Critical Thinker Academy. (11:34 - 12:10) Why this topic rather than some other topic?; teaching philosophy of science at Carleton University. (12:10 - 13:30) The perfect student assignment for this course; video critique exercise. (13:30 - 14:55) The new video format for producing courses and the podcast. (14:55 - 16:15) Wrapping up; reminder, AMA questions for next episode.
53 minutes | Aug 3, 2018
029 - How to Raise a Critical Thinker
On this episode of the Argument Ninja podcast I talk about the importance of critical thinking education for kids and teens, and what parents can do to help their kids become better critical thinkers. *** In This Episode: (0:00 - 4:57) Introduction (4:57 - 8:51) Critical Thinking Values (8:51 - 12:58) Why This Matters Even More to Young People (12:58 - 15:27) The Light Side and the Dark Side (15:27 - 16:25) The Martial Context of Critical Thinking (16:25 - 19:00) Social Media, Commercial Digital Culture and the Martial Context of Critical Thinking (19:00 - 22:42) Polarization and Critical Thinking: The One Ring to Rule Them All (22:42 - 24:45) Summing Up (24:45 - 27:47) Recommendation 1: Prioritize Role Modeling (27:47 - 32:19) Recommendation 2: Role-Model Intellectual Virtues (32:19 - 38:56) Recommendation 3: Depolarize Your Home (38:56 - 42:04) Recommendation 4: Be Critical of Social Media (42:04 - 48:00) Recommendation 5: Develop the Right Background Knowledge (48:00 - 52:37) Wrapping Up *** You can find show notes with links and supporting resources at: https://kevindelaplante.com/029-how-to-raise-a-critical-thinker Learn how you can support Kevin’s work on Patreon: https://patreon.com/kevindelaplante Anyone who signs up on Patreon gets access to all of the video tutorial courses at the Critical Thinker Academy website: https://criticalthinkeracademy.com Follow Kevin’s updates on Facebook: https://facebook.com/criticalthinkeracademy
52 minutes | Jun 12, 2018
028 - Tribalism Isn't the Problem
On this episode I’ve got an interview lined up for you that I did with Bob Froehlich, who hosts the Thinking Clearly radio program and podcast over at KMUD community radio in Redway, California. Our topic was critical thinking and tribalism, very much in the vein of what I’ve been talking about in my recent sketchbook video series titled, appropriately, "Critical Thinking and Tribalism". (To see the first three videos in this series, follow the links in the show notes below). If you’ve been following my work a certain amount of this will be familiar, but in this interview we covered some new topics relating to tribalism and polarization that I haven’t discussed before; for example, the distinction between ideological polarization and social polarization; evidence that social polarization along political lines has increased dramatically in recent years, especially in the US; and some discussion of the causes of this increase in polarization. We also answer a couple of live call-ins from listeners! We hear a lot of talk about the "rediscovery of tribal psychology "in recent years, but my view is that it’s misguided to think of tribal psychology per se as the problem. The problem facing us today is how our tribal psychology operates when polarization becomes extreme. So the more pressing issue is to understand the psychological and social factors that increase or decrease polarization. *** In This Episode: (0:00 - 4:25) Introductory remarks from Kevin (4:25 - 1:50) Introductory remarks from Bob Froelich (5:56 - 6:34) What is a tribe? (6:34 - 7:00) What is tribalism? (7:40 - 9:15) What prompted me to engage with this issue of tribalism? How is it relevant to critical thinking? (9:30 - 13:16) What is "tribal psychology"? (13:16 - 15:47) Examples of group identities that can become tribal (15:47 - 19:50) Tribal psychology as an evolutionary adaptation for human survival (20:00 - 21:13) In-group solidarity and out-group antipathy/hostility (21:13 - 22:27) Good news: tribal identification may be hardwired, but tribal categories are flexible (22:27 - 26:15) The importance of signaling to demonstrate membership in and solidarity with tribal groups; the rationality of tribal solidarity; signaling as unconscious cognitive bias (26:15 - 29:35) The distinction between tribalism and polarization, and why the problem is polarization, not tribalism (30:23 - 34:50) Ideological polarization versus social polarization; evidence for increasing social polarization; shout-out to Lillian Mason (34:50 - 35:30) Social sorting and segregation as a cause of increased social polarization (35:30 - 37:05) Loss of viewpoint diversity as an obstacle to critical thinking (38:05 - 40:25) What can be done to foster more productive relationships between in-groups that have become more polarized? (40:25 - 42:30) What's ahead for me, what I'm working on right now (43:27 - 47:45 ) Caller 1 - concerns with using the word "tribe" and "tribal" in this context when Native Americans and First Nations Peoples use that term to identify their political and social groups (48:37 - 50:40) Caller 2 - wants me to write a book! (50:55 - 52:12) Wrapping up: there's a broader story to be told about the forces that are exacerbating the problems discussed on this show *** References and Links: Thinking Clearly Radio Program Podcast: https://thinkingclearly.libsyn.com/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ThinkingClearlyRadio/ Videos in my Critical Thinking and Tribalism series: 1. "The Dangers of Tribalism" 2. "Our Tribal Intelligence" 3."In Our Tribe We Trust" Lilliana Mason's homepage, and her book, Uncivil Agreement: How Politics Became Our Identity My Patreon support page Critical Thinker Academy (criticalthinkeracademy.com)
33 minutes | May 8, 2018
027 - Updates: Finances, Projects and Plans
Over the past month almost every email conversation I’ve had with someone about my projects and plans has ended with “I’m going to talk about this on the next podcast”. In this episode I’m going to answer the most common questions I get about the status of my finances, what my plans are to improve my situation in 2018, what video courses I’m developing for Udemy, and where we are with the development of the Argument Ninja Academy. If you’re interested in entrepreneurship and making a living online doing what you love, I think you’ll find this episode interesting. *** Link to my latest sketchbook video: "In Our Tribe We Trust" *** Link to my 2017-Year-in-Review blog post *** In This Episode: (0:00 - 0:52) Introductory remarks. (0:53 - 1:50) New video published: "In Our Tribe We Trust" (1:50 - 8:06) How I managed my horrible tax situation (8:06 - 13:30) Review of my web properties and income from various components of my business (13:30 - 15:23) Strategies in 2018 for consolidating my web presence (15:23 - 19:28) How my approach to designing and teaching video courses has changed since I left academia. Example: How to teach critical thinking about probability and uncertainty to "ordinary people" (19:28 - 21:13) Designing new courses for kevindelaplante.com (21:13 - 22:17) Summary of consolidation plans and projects (22:17 - 30:30) Returning to Udemy. Designing a new course on the Vocabulary of Science. Teaching Philosophy of Science at Carleton University this summer. (30:30 - 31:59) Intermediate stages on the way to the Argument Ninja Academy (31:02 - 32:35) Wrapping up
76 minutes | Mar 26, 2018
026 - Feminism, Marxism, Postmodernism and Jordan Peterson: Sometimes the Only Winning Move is Not to Play
On this episode of the Argument Ninja podcast I offer a perspective on Jordan Peterson's criticism of left-wing ideology (what he calls "cultural Marxism") by sharing some of my intellectual history with feminism, Marxism and postmodernism. The broader theme of this episode is how to critically engage with ideas without being sucked into the tribal psychology of ideological conflict. Show notes and links: https://kevindelaplante.com/026-jordan-peterson Support the podcast on Patreon: https://patreon.com/kevindelaplante In This Episode: (0:00 - 3:10) Introductory remarks (3:10 - 6:10) Introduction to Jordan Peterson (6:10 - 7:15) Email from Daniel: a question about JP and "cultural Marxism" (7:15 - 8:00) Feminism's branding problem (8:00 - 10:30) My philosophy mini-course in middle school (10:30 - 17:35) The value of separating the descriptive components from the normative components of feminism (17:35 - 19:00) Distinction: describing patterns of discrimination vs explaining those patterns (19:00 - 20:11) Why this way of defining feminism leaves lots of room for disagreement (20:11 - 20:45) My agnosticism about explanations for the root causes of discrimination (and social change in general) (20:45 - 23:48) Feminism and theories of social change: the problem of how to get from here to there (23:48 - 24:58) Help support the podcast! (25:00 - 31:00) Introduction to Marxism: what you can learn from Marx without committing to socialism or communism (31:00 - 42:35) A thought experiment to illustrate a Marxist approach to social change: social idealism vs social materialism in explanations of slavery (42:35 - 50:00) Jordan Peterson (via Stephen Hicks) on cultural Marxism and postmodernism (50:00 - 51:45) Conspiracy theories and peer review (51:45 - 53:52) "Traditional philosophical inquiry" vs postmodernism (53:52 - 1:03:15) A legendary graduate seminar: "Essence and Construction". Philosophy vs Theory and Criticism as a clash of intellectual cultures (1:03:15 - 1:06:38) Breaking through: learning to communicate across an ideological divide (1:06:38 - 1:07:55) Empathy as a tool of understanding (1:07:55 - 1:10:11) Being socialized into a tribal view of intellectual identity and ideological conflict (1:10:11 - 1:12:19) Criticizing Jordan Peterson is easy when every side has their champion and everyone else is a charlatan (1:12:19 - 1:14:15) "Once you start playing this game, you will be a creature of the game from that point forward" (1:14:15 - 1:15:30) The WarGames option: "the only way to win is not to play". What it means to take the side of people
50 minutes | Mar 1, 2018
025 - Why Tribal Literacy?
On this episode of the Argument Ninja podcast I talk about TRIBALISM and the challenges that our tribal psychology poses for critical thinking. This episode includes the audio for two sketchbook videos I've done on this topic, "The Dangers of Tribalism" (11 minutes) and "Our Tribal Intelligence" (13 minutes), with additional commentary not found in those videos. I give time stamps below to help you navigate the episode if you've already watched those videos. Show notes and links: https://kevindelaplante.com/025-why-tribal-literacy/ Support the podcast on Patreon: https://patreon.com/kevindelaplante (0:00 - 1:45) Introductory remarks. (1:45 - 10:40) A undeserved gift, and my reflections on the nature of grace and original sin (my "secular Christian existentialism"). (10:40 - 15:25) Commentary setting up the discussion of tribalism and critical thinking. (15:25 - 26:52) The audio from my video on "The Dangers of Tribalism". (26:52 - 30:18) Commentary on "The Dangers of Tribalism". The multidisciplinary character of research on tribalism. Setting up the discussion of tribal epistemology. (30:18 - 42:40) The audio from my video on "Our Tribal Intelligence" (42:40 - 48:16) Commentary on "Our Tribal Intelligence". Cognitive biases that have roots in our tribal nature. The "knowledge illusion". Metacognition (thinking about thinking). Who is doing research on collective intelligence and the psychology of effective teamwork. (48:16 - 50:10) Wrapping up.
20 minutes | Jan 10, 2018
024 - How Commerce Became a Tool For Getting Outside My Head
At the beginning of a new year it’s customary to reflect on events of the past year in order to set new goals and chart a course for the future. This is the first in a three-part series where I discuss the lessons I've learned in 2017. In this episode I talk about the surprising role that commerce has played in raising the relevance and impact of my work as a critical thinking educator, and other positive highlights of 2017.
50 minutes | Oct 31, 2017
023 - The Argument Ninja Difference: Why Critical Thinking is a Martial Art
I’m not the only one talking about the failings of traditional schooling. I’m not the only academic talking about developing online courses for the public that they can’t find anywhere else. I’m not even the only one using the language of martial arts in this context. (e.g. Jordan Peterson, Thaddeus Russell, Mixed Mental Arts ....) But I realize that even among my audience, it may not be clear how the Argument Ninja Academy is supposed to stand out -- how it’s different from what I’m seeing in these other projects. In this episode I want to talk about these differences. I want to talk about what makes the Argument Ninja Academy special. There are three areas that I can point to. The first is the martial arts inspiration for this project. It goes way deeper than just borrowing the language of belt levels. The second is a unique approach to teaching and learning critical thinking and persuasion skills. And the third is the instructional design of the project, and the team I’m assembling to help make this a reality. The skill set they bring to the Argument Ninja Academy is powerful. We’re going to talk about all of this today on the podcast. Specifically, I’m going to talk about what it means to be a martial art the difference between bujutsu and budo, the Japanese terms for martial art and martial path, or martial way, respectively. the martial context of critical thinking, and why this language isn’t just metaphorical my own relationship to the martial arts, and the original inspiration for the Argument Ninja Academy what teaching and learning look like, when you focus on skill development rather than rote learning what I’ve learned from my team partners about thinking clearly and thinking big.
53 minutes | Sep 10, 2017
022 - Thinking Clearly About Critical Thinking: Interview with Kevin deLaplante
For this episode I’m going to share an interview I did for Thinking Clearly, a radio show about critical thinking hosted by Bob Froelich and Julia Minton. On this live broadcast I answered questions about - my particular take on what critical thinking is and why it’s important - why I decided to leave my tenured academic job and go solo - what video courses I offer at the Critical Thinker Academy - what is wrong with traditional approaches to critical thinking education - what’s different about what I’m trying to do with the Argument Ninja program - and more We even answered a couple of questions from live callers!
91 minutes | Sep 3, 2017
021 - What if Sam Harris and Scott Adams Had a Baby?
On this episode I use a recent episode of Sam Harris's podcast (#87 - "Triggered: A Conversation With Scott Adams") as a springboard for exploring a variety of topics related to critical thinking and persuasive communication. When it comes to critical thinking and rational persuasion, half of my brain thinks like Sam Harris, and the other half thinks like Scott Adams. Each gets something right that the other doesn’t. I’m interested in identifying what each of them gets right, as a step toward creating something that is better than each of them separately, by integrating their strengths and avoiding their weaknesses. In other words … I want the super-powered love child of Sam Harris and Scott Adams! In This Episode: (0:00 - 6:00) Introductory remarks (6:00 - 10:15) Introduction to Sam Harris and Scott Adams (10:15 - 15:30) Summary of Sam's interview with Scott on the Waking Up with Sam Harris podcast (15:50 - 16:30) Why this is relevant to the Argument Ninja Academy (17:00 - 20:15) What I Like About Sam: Intellectual virtues (20:15 - 24:50) What I like about Sam: Critical thinking values and democracy (24:50 - 30:10) What I like about Scott: The performative dimension of persuasion (30:10 - 31:55) What I like about Scott: The language of "filters" (31:55 - 39:00) Why both must be part of the foundational skill set for critical thinking and rational persuasion (39:10 - 45:30) Introducing the "rhetorical triangle": ethos, pathos and logos (45:30 - 51:18) Speech act theory and communication strategy (51:18 - 58:00) Sam vs Scott: analyzing the conversation (58:00 - 60:00) Speech act theory and Scott's defense of Trump (60:00 - 67:00) The accusation of sophistry: Sam Harris and the Very Bad Wizards (David Pizarro and Tamler Sommers) on Scott Adams (67:00 - 77:40) The philosopher-sophist spectrum, and the persuasion challenge that Scott Adams faces (77:40 - 90:00) Diving deeper: Scott Adams, the illusion of reality, and how persuasion masters can reshape the Matrix
56 minutes | Jul 24, 2017
020 - Critical Thinking in China
This past month I was fortunate to be a guest of Xidian University in China for two weeks. On this episode of the podcast I share stories and reflections from my adventures as a first-time visitor to China, and I give an overview of some of the public talks and lectures I gave during my visit. The episode has four distinct parts. The first 20 minutes is stories from my trip and observations about Chinese culture. Then there are three discussions on philosophy, science and critical thinking topics: (00 min -20 min) stories from my trip and observations about Chinese culture (20 min - 30 min) on circular reasoning in the appeal to science and nature to justify social and political views (30 min - 40 min) on the elements of science literacy and why public science education doesn't teach it (40 min - 50 min) on the history of critical thinking in the west, and the challenges of talking about the value of critical thinking to audiences in modern China You can find a photo essay with lots of pics over at the blog at kevindelaplante.com: https://kevindelaplante.com/pics-from-china/ You can support the Argument Ninja podcast at http://argumentninja.com/support/
61 minutes | May 31, 2017
019 – Understanding Your Divided Mind: Kahneman, Haidt and Greene
Argument Ninjas need to acquire a basic understanding of the psychology of human reasoning. This is essential for improving the quality of our own reasoning, and for mastering skills in communication and persuasion. On this episode I take you on a guided tour of our divided mind. I compare and contrast the dual-process theories of Daniel Kahneman (Thinking, Fast and Slow), Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind) and Joshua Greene (Moral Tribes). The simple mental models these authors use should be part of every critical thinker's toolbox. My other goal with this episode is to help listeners think more critically about dual-process theories in cognitive science, to better understand the state of the science and the diversity of views that fall under this label. In This Episode: - Why it's important to cultivate multiple mental models (2:40) - Kahneman and Tversky: biases and heuristics (4:20) - Example: the availability heuristic (5:30) - Cognitive biases originating from mismatches between the problem a...
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