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In this episode of the Waking Up podcast, Sam Harris speaks with psychologist Jordan B. Peterson about freedom of speech and the nature of truth.

#62 - What is True? A Conversation with Jordan B. Peterson On Sam Harris

What is True? Sam Harris Vs Jordan Peterson.

Took me a long time to figure what was going on here. Sam and Jordan spend 2hrs arguing about the the term "truth" explains. I had trouble understanding what was the argument about given the high level concepts they used to describe their positions and trying to keep up with them at 2x speed (so I can chug through the episode faster) was challenging. I had resigned to call it since my brain was not able to fully spot the differences.

I didn't get what were SH's examples trying to explain as they seemed pretty self explanatory, almost tautological, and what JP's counter point was, was he saying that true wasn't true?

Thankfully this was a long discussion and their hammering for over an hour on the same two positions finally started to make sense to me, when I found saying out loud in my car to JP, "What an idiot!". And also laughed out loud at SH's quote to JP's usage the adjective "Darwininan":

That's not even a darwinian explanation of Darwinism.

In my understanding the core of the problem boils down to the usage of a same term for two different meanings. Or on this case a too simplistic and broad scope of the idea of "Truth".

SH's version of "Truth" here was descriptive, in his examples of the primalty of a number, energy of an electron, sequence of Small pox. The kind of unquestionable descriptions of reality that we agree and understand so far (which of course could be redefined or learned wrong with more information to be known later on when new truths are discovered by human apes). But JP's defense of "Truth" was more aligned with the kind of explanations that people have of their experience and perceptions, this is the root of much of the "Fake news" arguments going around where versions of truth are handled by different people, and according to JP, the one that helps our survival as mankind. Or what we should call "truth" is what doesn't kill us in the long term.

I see where JP's explanation is coming from, but I don't agree that the term "truth" is the right one Iif we also want to use it for descriptive truth), but I still see many people using it subtly, not because they're wrong but because we lack a single term and not have disaggregated the concept of "truth" confusing experience with description under the same bag, leading to many problems in explanations, understandings and as seen in the podcast, disagreement for both ends trying to appropriate of the same word.

On a previous podcast by SH I saw the same phenomenon happen with the concept of intelligence, it is still a bag term where we put many things and have difficulty discussing why something is and something isn't when someone else has opted to use the corners of the unconcept with different weight.

At the end, what I liked about this and many of other SH's talks is that they show me to separate argument's from the person and as much as I look up to both JP and SH on many aspects, there are also aspects where I can disagree with both, and to understand that backing someone's position in one thing doesn't mean to back them on everything else, which is a view that many people have trouble with.

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