The Origins Podcast with Lawrence Krauss

Peter Boghossian: From Street Epistemology to Academic Freedom

Oct. 14, 2022

Pete Boghossian is a philosopher with little tolerance for nonsense, whose efforts to broadly encourage critical thinking using Socratic methods began early on. While doing his PhD, he worked with inmates to see if he could impact on their moral reasoning through a process of Socratic questioning.

Viewing faith-based beliefs as delusional, he worked on ways to encourage believers to question their beliefs. Because of the inherent difficulties in having such conversations Peter later worked with James Linsdsay to produce a book entitled How to Have Impossible Conversations, outlining a series of techniques aimed at producing productive, rather than defensive, conversations.

These techniques form a part of his current program of Street Epistemology, where he takes critical thinking and questioning out into the public, traveling around the country having a series of open conversations with people, and seeing if they are willing to change their beliefs.

Peter became more well known among the public when, with Lindsay, and Helen Pluckrose, he wrote a series of spoof papers submitted to gender studies journals, designed to show what they regarded as the lack of true scholarship in that discipline. Then, most recently, he resigned his position at Portland State University in response to what he said was harassment from the administration, and its lack of commitment to free speech and open inquiry.

All of these topics provided fodder for a fascinating discussion, which I hope you enjoy.

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