Philosophy in the World: Steven Crowder – Change My Mind

Philosophy in the World – Change my Mind

The activity that I have found that is philosophical is a segment called “Change my Mind” on a conservative podcaster’s show called “Louder with Crowder”, where the conservative host (Steven Crowder) goes onto college campuses across the U.S. and invites anybody who is willing to sit down and have a discussion over some hot button topic, ranging from the second amendment to the idea that male privilege is a myth. Crowder sits at a table somewhere outside in the middle of a busy walkway at a college with a huge sign on the front of his table that reads, for example, “I’m pro-life, change my mind”, or “There are only two genders, change my mind”, and he waits for someone with an opposing viewpoint to sit down with him and have a discussion in the effort to defend their viewpoints and to basically have a discourse about their presuppositions and beliefs. Steven Crowder is a conservative that is pro-life, pro-second amendment, thinks that male privilege is a myth, and believes that hate speech is not real, which are all fairly unpopular opinions to hold currently in North America, especially on college and university campuses. Most media, professors and peers for people on campus will be pro-choice, believe that without a doubt male privilege exists, believe that hate speech is a problem and no doubt believe that something should be done about the second amendment, especially in the wake of all of the mass shootings that have been occurring recently.

Philosophy to me is exploring presuppositions and the things that we feel we know by asking questions, defining where we stand on certain issues and supporting our ideas logically. Socrates, a famous philosopher, used his “Socratic method”, which involves conversations (rather than arguments) that are based off the asking and answering of questions to invoke critical thinking, and questioning ideas that are very well ingrained in a person’s thought process, so much so that they believe it to be truth without stopping to think and dig deeper to make sure there are no flaws in their presumptions. This conversational approach that Socrates took to invoke deeper critical thought in his fellow Athenians is very similar to what Crowder does in a variety of ways. Crowder and Socrates are not in any way shape or form bent having an argument; instead, they are looking to have a civil discourse and to properly define and evaluate the positions that both parties hold on the topic so that they are able to meticulously and systematically examine every assertion presented. Crowder and Socrates do not present themselves as being emotionally invested in their discourse as well: they like to step back and objectively parse through all of the claims that are made without being combative or judging the person with whom they are conversing. They both question the validity of certain “common sense” ideas that are taught at school and through the media that are rarely picked apart (an example of this for Socrates would be when he asked Euthyphro what it was to be pious, and for Crowder an example would be that male privilege is a myth). Crowder asks people to clarify their position on things that they believe to be true by asking questions, defining where they stand and tries to pick apart their assertions where there are inconsistencies. This, by my definition, falls under the category of a philosophical activity.

Personally, I try to engage in philosophy through conversation with my close friends. When we find something we disagree on, I try to delve deeper into the logic behind our presuppositions, and attempt to find the better answer to our situation in the interest of truth and not in the interest of winning an argument.

 

LINK TO STEVEN CROWDER’S “There Are Only 2 Genders | Change My Mind”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WtftZPL-k7Y&t=574s

LINK TO STEVEN CROWDER’S “I’m Pro-Life | Change My Mind”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCSZYJywQPM&t=716s

Philosophy in the World-Joe Rogan

https://youtu.be/3DEruc61DnE

What is Philosophy? It is evident the answer to that question depends on the ideologies you invest yourself in and how you interact with the world around you, and may even differ completely from person to person. But to me, philosophy can be boiled down to three major activities: 1) actively engaging with the world around us by finding things in life that excite curiosity 2) thinking about and attempting to answer the difficult questions that come with being a conscious entity 3) questioning people’s reasoning for their own answers to life’s questions and through the tools of logic and argument come to some kind of conclusion. This definition of philosophy can be determined from many different philosophers but to focus on one, take the ideas of Thomas Nagel in his reasoning about the absurdity of life. In his work “The Absurd” Nagel states, “Most people feel on occasion that life is absurd, and some feel it vividly and continually… the reasons usually offered in defense of this conviction are patently inadequate… [so] why then do they [most people] provide a natural expression for the sense that it is?” (Wolf 1). In this quote, we see Nagel’s underlying motives for his work. He is actively engaging with the world around him by focusing on a topic that excites his intellectual interest, in this case: the absurdity of human life. He then states that he has often heard the conclusion from people that life is absurd but realizes the reasons most people give for its absurdity don’t actually prove that it is, and in his piece, he sets out to examine and ask questions of people’s unquestioned arguments of why life is absurd. In the text Nagel goes on to weigh the current arguments of why life is absurd against their own logical conclusions and finds them to be untrue, and then through this examination gets to the heart of what he believes to be the root cause of the unshakeable sentiment that life is innately absurd. This thoughtful response to the seemingly simple idea that life is absurd seems to conform to the definition of philosophy I laid out above.

Under this definition, a whole host of activities people engage in every day could be considered philosophy. As one specific example of philosophical activity I have chosen a clip from the Joe Rogan Experience podcast. This podcast is hosted by Joe Rogan who is an internet personality, a standup comedian, and commentator for the UFC. He engages in long form conversations of up to around three hours with a plethora of different guests from many different backgrounds. The form of the podcast is very relaxed; the conversations that occur between Joe Rogan and his guests have the time to develop into in-depth examinations of beliefs, hobbies, passions and although it does not specifically set out to offer philosophical thought or ideas many episodes evoke a sense of philosophical curiosity and examination in the listeners heads. Many times both Joe Rogan and his guest start talking about a topic simply because it captures their interest which leads them to investigate and discuss this topic further until new and interesting ideas are broached and then those new ideas themselves are examined. This examination of new topics provides evidence of active engagement of both Joe Rogan and his guests in the world around them. Many times, the topic that comes up is rooted in ideology and may be surrounded with contention or stigma but Joe Rogan does a good job of considering other people’s arguments and formulating a response to those arguments after an in-depth investigation and conversation about the topic. This shows his ability to take others’ arguments seriously while also showing that he is not afraid to question and challenge their ideas. In the clip of podcast I am referencing, Joe Rogan is talking to Kevin Smith, a film maker and fellow podcaster about the importance of accomplishing things in life that bring you joy. The clip is of a succinct and poignant story Smith tells of his father’s death that he believes proves the idea that there is no point not to set out to accomplish any kind of goal you may have. I picked this clip because I value this message of accomplishing things that bring you joy in the face of an eventual yet inevitable demise. But it is just one example from the Joe Rogan Experience that shows that a unique take on an old premise can come from discussing ideas and questioning why we take certain things as fact.

I think everyone incorporates some aspects of philosophy in to their daily lives, for me I actively seek out information that may provide me with a viewpoint contrary to my own and I will question and examine this viewpoint to see if it is valid and whether I can internalize it and incorporate into my own life. I believe there is an extraordinary amount of value in challenging the norms and beliefs that you have accrued throughout your life because you may find that many of them have been influenced by false or incomplete arguments and premises. And this self-examination is incredibly valuable as it is almost like an audit of all of the ideas you have been exposed to throughout your life to determine what works to facilitate and improve your conscious existence of life as a human being. If after examination and deliberation of an idea I find it to be untrue or rooted in flawed ideology I will abandon it, and on the other hand if I find a new idea offers a new and interesting insight to something in my life I will incorporate it into my understanding of the world.