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026 - Feminism, Marxism, Postmodernism and Jordan Peterson

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Show Notes:
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 own intellectual history with feminism, Marxism and postmodernism.
The broader question animating this episode is: how can I critically engage with challenging ideas without being sucked into a tribal mindset?
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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.
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