Category Archives: politics

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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Filed under history, persuasion, politics

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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Filed under persuasion, philosophy, politics

Trumped up persuasion

Here’s a review of The Persuaders in the Financial Times.  The reviewer is right to open the piece with a consideration of the crowds cheering Donald Trump and tie that in with some of the topics in the book.  He wraps it up nicely:

The author worries, rightly, that in losing the ability to argue and question intelligently we become more susceptible to the subtle and unseen skills of powerful persuaders. We could all fall prey to fallacies, sophistry and demagoguery . . . any day now.


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Persuaders in The Independent

An extract from a chapter on neuromarketing is here.

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Persuaders in The Sunday Times

The review is here, behind a paywall.  The reviewer isn’t entirely convinced by my take on how supermarkets manipulate us — but I’m won over anyway by his use of the word “jellifying”: the book is, he concludes, “a boisterous dissection of the forces jellifying our minds”.

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The Persuaders

So this is why I’ve been quiet for a while.  Out early next month.  More details to follow, I cover

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