The Value of Persuasion

Here’s a very short talk for the Brainwash Festival in Amsterdam.  There’s nothing like having no time and no notes to focus your brain — really cool festival though.


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InScience Talk on Persuasion

I just found this, a link to a talk I gave in Nijmegen about persuasion and politics.



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Brainwash and upcoming talks

Here’s a video of a short talk  for The Brainwash Festival in Amsterdam, on ‘The Value of Persuasion’.

I’m speaking at Inscience in Nijimen this weekend — details here, but I’m aiming to talk about persuasion in the US presidential debate, alongside nudging and all the rest of it.

Julian Baggini and I will be in Bristol on Monday, talking about reason in public life — details here — looking forward to it.



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CBC interview

There’s discussion of getting hosed and the nature of persuasion, an interview with CBC’s The Current, airing tomorrow in Canada at 9 am, but apparently you can listen to it later here:

I’m talking about persuasive language and the power of spin on BBC Radio 3’s The Verb tomorrow — not sure when it airs.

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New Humanist

Here’s a short Q&A with Samira Shackle of the New Humanist:  ‘It would be good if we could learn to listen to reason again.’  Here’s a bit from it (I got the words ‘dick measuring’ in, so obviously I’m very happy).

What’s the overall effect on society of the dominance of “the persuaders”?

I hate it when an author tells you the world is falling apart because of a single thing that happens to be the subject of their book, but I really do think we’re in the middle of a revolution in persuasion, a shift away from giving reasons to something that operates outside reason. As a result, we’re starting to lose the ability to argue, as a culture. Listen to Prime Minister’s Questions or the literal dick measuring going on in debates between Republican presidential candidates. The ability to argue, to think critically, spot fallacies and work together towards the truth is a kind of intellectual self-defence at the heart of democracy. If we lose that, we lose what it protects. We’re also less able to get along with one another if all we can do is shout back and forth. Modern persuasion undermines not just democracy, but our chances of living happy lives in a peaceful, interconnected world. It would be good if we could learn to listen to reason again. A lot hangs on it.


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Here’s an interview on The Hidden Persuasion Industry with Roger Dooley on his Brainfluence Podcast.  There’s some interesting back and forth about the ethics of influence and persuasion in the marketplace.

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Los Persuasores

Interview for BBC Mundo, in Spanish.  We talked about metaphor and the thoughts you might be led into if you think about a “war” on drugs.

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