The Ancient philosophy of Stoicism, as the ultimate life hack, has taken the world by storm. It seems particularly suited to providing pithy quotes for Silicon Valley desktops, doors of CrossFit gyms, and the bedroom walls of disenfranchised youths. On the face of it, there is nothing wrong with that. But then again, didn’t the famous Stoic slave Epictetus warn us all about learning just a “little philosophy”?
Mark and Wes continue the discussion from ep. 187. We watched some Jordan Peterson, so we talk about his position a bit, and about the appropriateness of organizations encouraging certain kinds of speech, the offense principle, the difference (and overlap!) between good-faith arguments and insults, conspiracy theories, “incoherence arguments” like Fish’s (also used by Kant, Rand, and others), and “fundamental moral principles”: Does that concept even make sense given that any principle requires judgement and probably sub-principles to apply it to real situations?
End song: “Combine Man” by RHEMA, as discussed on Nakedly Examined Music #67.
Jordan Peterson, professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, became arguably the most impactful public intellectual in the present-day online media sphere after speaking out against impediments to free speech in the fall of 2016. While the “father figure” of the YouTube world is revered as a conservative warrior against “social justice”—and for inveighing against activists, postmodernists, neo-Marxists and those he labels “radical leftists”—closer inspection of his ideas suggests that, significant shortcomings aside, there are lessons even those of us who disagree politically and philosophically with Peterson can still learn from his public pedagogy.