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The Argument Ninja Podcast

Updated 4 days ago

Education
Society & Culture
Philosophy
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The Argument Ninja podcast is dedicated to helping you improve your skills at rational persuasion. Let philosopher Kevin deLaplante introduce you to a unique approach to critical thinking, inspired by martial arts training principles, that combines logic and argumentation with the latest research on the psychology of persuasion and belief.

Read more

The Argument Ninja podcast is dedicated to helping you improve your skills at rational persuasion. Let philosopher Kevin deLaplante introduce you to a unique approach to critical thinking, inspired by martial arts training principles, that combines logic and argumentation with the latest research on the psychology of persuasion and belief.

iTunes Ratings

55 Ratings
Average Ratings
47
4
2
1
1

Much needed. Amazing!

By ian19 - Apr 29 2018
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I came across this podcast when I was looking for a show on critical thinking. Little did I know that I would find something much greater. The comparison of a classroom to a martial arts dojo, and the need for something more like self-defense instruction that works in the works real world, is exactly what we all need today. I believe that these new ideas will fundamentally change the future of public and private discourse.

Great content

By beastiecapo - Apr 14 2018
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Great content, and insights, not consistent enough. I want more more more great stuff

iTunes Ratings

55 Ratings
Average Ratings
47
4
2
1
1

Much needed. Amazing!

By ian19 - Apr 29 2018
Read more
I came across this podcast when I was looking for a show on critical thinking. Little did I know that I would find something much greater. The comparison of a classroom to a martial arts dojo, and the need for something more like self-defense instruction that works in the works real world, is exactly what we all need today. I believe that these new ideas will fundamentally change the future of public and private discourse.

Great content

By beastiecapo - Apr 14 2018
Read more
Great content, and insights, not consistent enough. I want more more more great stuff

Listen to:

Cover image of The Argument Ninja Podcast

The Argument Ninja Podcast

Updated 4 days ago

Read more

The Argument Ninja podcast is dedicated to helping you improve your skills at rational persuasion. Let philosopher Kevin deLaplante introduce you to a unique approach to critical thinking, inspired by martial arts training principles, that combines logic and argumentation with the latest research on the psychology of persuasion and belief.

Rank #1: 023 - The Argument Ninja Difference: Why Critical Thinking is a Martial Art

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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.

Oct 31 2017

49mins

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Rank #2: 003 - How to Make People Like You

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Is it ever okay to intentionally use unconscious persuasion techniques to get people to like you? We explore this case study in the ethics of persuasion as we follow Derek and Carla on a lunch date. We also discuss persuasion ninjas Dale Carnegie and Robert Cialdini's principles for getting someone to like you, and lessons from South Park on how to get bigger tips.

Jul 28 2016

19mins

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Rank #3: 004 - The Classroom is My Dojo

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In this episode I explore reasons why standard critical thinking textbooks say almost nothing about the psychology of human reasoning and persuasion. Topics include: - argumentation as rhetoric vs argumentation as tool for philosophical reasoning - why Plato was so hard on the Sophists - what it was like being socialized into philosophy as a student - the martial arts training hall as a ritualized space - why the classroom is like a dojo for training in the martial art of rational argumentation - understanding the rules inside the dojo vs the rules outside the dojo - argumentation and the dream of universal reason - why critical thinking needs both approaches to argumentation

Aug 05 2016

30mins

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Rank #4: 029 - How to Raise a Critical Thinker

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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

Aug 03 2018

52mins

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Rank #5: 026 - Feminism, Marxism, Postmodernism and Jordan Peterson: Sometimes the Only Winning Move is Not to Play

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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

Mar 26 2018

1hr 16mins

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Rank #6: 007 - When Rational Debate is Impossible

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When is it worth your time to try to have a rational conversation with someone? When should you give up? What are the conditions that have to be satisfied for a rational conversation to even be possible? That's the topic of this episode. Overview: - the problem that Sam Harris is struggling with - a Q&A question from Essi on what to do when people “just don’t get it” - my original answer to the question “what conditions must be satisfied to have a rational conversation with someone?” - my first amendment: (1) what to do after you’ve recognized that there’s a problem - my second amendment: (2) what to do in light of the fact that our capacity to reason comes in degrees - my latest video course project (“Is Your Brain a Computer?”) and how you can get early access to those videos

Aug 29 2016

22mins

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Rank #7: 009 - The Argument Matrix (or, How to Know What You're Talking About)

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In this episode I introduce an important concept, the Argument Matrix, and two related concepts associated with the Argument Matrix, “argumentative depth” and “argumentative breadth”. These concepts are central to my views on the important role of background knowledge in critical thinking. Or to put it more plainly, they’re central to my understanding of what it means to really know what you’re talking about. In This Episode: - How do we know that we know what we're talking about? - Critical thinking education's Dirty Little Secret (critical thinking can't be taught) - The definition of an argument - Basic principles of argument analysis - The challenge of evaluating the truth of premises - The definition of an Argument Matrix - Objections and replies - Argumentative depth vs argumentative breadth - Example: the fossil record and common ancestry - Example: the ethics of abortion - the Argument Matrix and the goals of critical thinking - Expertise is relative - Pro tip: assume we know less than we think

Oct 07 2016

36mins

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Rank #8: 006 - Defense Against the Dark Arts II - Seduce and Destroy

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In this episode we look at persuasion through the eyes of seduction experts and the pickup artist community. - why critical thinking educators need to talk about persuasion - why scientific rationality is a social achievement that takes effort and vigilance to maintain - preparing students for life outside the dojo - summarizing our list of persuasion topics - Ross Jeffries as pioneer of the seduction community - NLP, hypnosis and "speed seduction" - Tom Cruise, Frank T.J. Mackey, and "Seduce and Destroy" - the seduction community's approach to the science of persuasion - the difficulty of answering the question "does it work?"

Aug 22 2016

21mins

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Rank #9: 016 - White Belt Curriculum (Part 1)

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The Argument Ninja training program that I'm developing is inspired by martial arts training principles. The curriculum is spread over nine belt ranks (white belt, yellow belt, orange belt, etc. ) In this episode I give an overview of the learning modules that make up the white belt curriculum, and dive deep into the second module, an introduction to Argument Analysis. In This Episode: Overview of the White Belt Modules (2:20) Module 1: What is an Argument Ninja? (4:20) The Goals of Critical Thinking (4:56) We Have a Problem (5:41) Solution: The Argument Ninja Academy (6:47) Module 2: Argument Analysis (I) (8:35) Worry: No One Talks Like This (9:00) It's About Learning the Principles (10:22) Wax-on, Wax-off (11:38) Definition of an Argument (14:35) Demanding Clarity (20:30) Vagueness and Ambiguity (22:00) Example: Is Trump a Conservative? (23:55) Argument Analysis Skills (26:30) Comment: Argumentation vs Persuasion (28:00) Example: "Make America Great Again" (29:13) Wrapping Up (31:11)

Feb 19 2017

32mins

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Rank #10: 021 - What if Sam Harris and Scott Adams Had a Baby?

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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

Sep 04 2017

1hr 31mins

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Rank #11: 012 - Trump, Persuasion and Hypnosis

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This is the first episode since Donald Trump won the election, so you know I've got to talk about Trump! In this episode I take up the question that Scott Adams has framed for us: is Donald Trump some kind of "master persuader" who uses persuasion techniques familiar to anyone trained in hypnosis? And is this the reason why he won the election? In This Episode: - Help me build the Argument Ninja Academy - Scott Adams on Donald Trump: Master Persuader - "Pacing and leading", Milton Erickson and hypnosis - Confusion and hypnotic suggestibility - Confusion and self-defense - Confusion and the "Chewbacca Defense" - Derren Brown: how to steal with hypnosis - Hypnosis stage acts and the spectrum of hypnotizability - Why Scott Adams was confident that Trump would win - Is Trump a master persuader? - Thinking critically about persuasion schools and persuasion science http://argumentninja.com/support

Nov 26 2016

46mins

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Rank #12: 022 - Thinking Clearly About Critical Thinking: Interview with Kevin deLaplante

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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!

Sep 11 2017

53mins

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Rank #13: 014 - Curiosity and Critical Thinking

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On this episode I talk about the various ways that curiosity is an undervalued resource for critical thinking. I explain how curiosity plays an important role in generating the kind of background knowledge that supports critical thinking, and why it has important and underrated debiasing properties, meaning that it can reduce many of the harmful effects of cognitive biases on our thinking. I’m also going to talk about my personal relationship to curiosity, and how it has influenced many of the decisions I’ve made in my career. In This Episode: Knowledge is not compartmentalized (3:40) Curiosity is a resource for generating relevant and lasting background knowledge that supports critical thinking (5:30) “Situational” curiosity vs “trait” curiosity (9:30) Some people are naturally more curious than others, but curiosity can be cultivated (11:25) “Partisan interest” vs genuine curiosity (14:50) Genuine curiosity is a debiasing agent (16:40) High partisan interest, low curiosity (18:15) My personal...

Dec 23 2016

35mins

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Rank #14: 015 - The White Belt Experience

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In this episode I explore learning and teaching techniques used in the martial arts, from the perspective of the beginning student and from the perspective of the experienced instructor. I extract a number of important training principles from this exercise that I hope to incorporate in the Argument Ninja training program. In This Episode: Review: What is "Rational Persuasion"? (2:30) Reminder: Our Children Are Watching (7:20) The White Belt Experience (10:00) Training for Skill Development: Analysis, Synthesis, Repetition, and Internalization (13:00) Training for Combat: Objectives, Strategy and Tactics (17:30) Training Through Time: Cumulative, Incremental Progress (25:15) Training with Inspiration: "Beginner's Mind" (30:30) Summing Up (37:45) The Instructional Design Challenge (39:00) How Classroom Teachers Solve It (42:10) The Value of a Belt Level System (44:00) How You Can Support the Podcast and the Argument Ninja Program (46:25) Book Me For a Speaking Gig (48:30)

Jan 13 2017

50mins

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Rank #15: 008 - Mixed Martial Arts for Argument Ninjas

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If we think of rational persuasion as a martial art, what kind of martial art should it be? In this episode I argue that a mixed martial arts approach is the only one that makes sense. But there’s a problem. Philosophical principles play an obvious and important role in traditional martial arts practices, like Taekwondo. They don’t seem to play an important role in mixed martial arts (or if they do, it’s not obvious.) An MMA program for Argument Ninjas needs a philosophy grounded in core critical thinking principles. In this episode I explore these issues. - The clash of martial arts styles and the emergence of mixed martial arts - Taekwondo as an example of a traditional martial art - Rules of Taekwondo sparring - Why would anyone choose to train in a single martial art style? - Lessons learned from sparring and competition - Examples of Taekwondo philosophy - What would a philosophy of mixed martial arts (MMA) look like? - Bruce Lee’s influence on MMA - Bruce Lee’s philosophy of martial arts -...

Sep 14 2016

35mins

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