Category Archives: persuasion

The Age of Consent

You can listen to both parts now:  The Age of Consent.  I’m going on about engineering consent, and what that possibility does to the Enlightenment notion of consent as a ground for political obligation.  But there’s lots of other good stuff in there too.


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Persuasion and politics

I’m talking about persuasion and politics in The Age of Consent on BBC Radio 4 tonight at 8pm.  If we think the authority of our governments depends in some sense on our consent, then what do we make of the manufacture of consent on the part of spin doctors and producers of fake news?  Was the US election really ‘free and fair’ if the voters were influenced by propaganda?  Is Brexit really the will of the British people if half truths swung the vote?  I have no idea, but it’s worth thinking about how democracy might be under new sorts of pressure as our powers of persuasion grow.

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Filed under persuasion, philosophy, politics, talks/events, Uncategorized

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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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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