Rank #1: 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.
Oct 31 2017
Rank #2: 003 - How to Make People Like You
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
Rank #3: 004 - The Classroom is My Dojo
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
Rank #4: 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:
Learn how you can support Kevin’s work on Patreon:
Anyone who signs up on Patreon gets access to all of the video tutorial courses at the Critical Thinker Academy website:
Follow Kevin’s updates on Facebook:
Aug 03 2018
Rank #5: 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
Mar 26 2018
Rank #6: 007 - When Rational Debate is Impossible
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
Rank #7: 009 - The Argument Matrix (or, How to Know What You're Talking About)
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
Rank #8: 006 - Defense Against the Dark Arts II - Seduce and Destroy
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
Rank #9: 016 - White Belt Curriculum (Part 1)
Feb 19 2017
Rank #10: 021 - What if Sam Harris and Scott Adams Had a Baby?
Sep 04 2017
Rank #11: 012 - Trump, Persuasion and Hypnosis
Nov 26 2016
Rank #12: 022 - Thinking Clearly About Critical Thinking: Interview with Kevin deLaplante
Sep 11 2017
Rank #13: 014 - Curiosity and Critical Thinking
Dec 23 2016
Rank #14: 015 - The White Belt Experience
Jan 13 2017
Rank #15: 008 - Mixed Martial Arts for Argument Ninjas
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