Category Archives: philosophy

Is Dennett rethinking free will?

Reader Jiten called my attention to this post by Gregg Caruso on Flickers of Freedom about Dan Dennett’s comment on Free Will—a comment that appeared in a discussion in the journal Methode. I admit that I haven’t yet read Dan’s whole piece, but Caruso gives an interesting excerpt, which suggests that Dennett may be rethinking the issue […]

Massimo hangs it up

Massimo Pigliucci has been writing at his site Rationally Speaking since August of 2005, which is three years and four months longer than this site.  And, after all those years, he’s decided to curtail his writing there, as he explains in his farewell post, “So long, and thanks for all the fish” (the title, of […]

Paul Bloom claims that we’re not biochemical puppets because we can reason. He’s wrong.

Paul Bloom is a noted psychologist at Yale, specializing in morality and its development in young children (see an earlier post on that topic here). Now, in the new Atlantic, Bloom has published a longish piece, “The war on reason,” that describes a purported war on rationality incited by the findings of neuroscientists, determinists, and […]

What is “science”?

I’m not sure who writes the website The Barefoot Bum (he appears to be named “Larry” in his website cartoon), but I’m sorry I didn’t run across it a while back, for he’s written two great posts in a row (the other one, which I may discuss later, is on the dreadful dialogue between Gary Gutting […]

Does the average person believe in determinism, free will, and moral responsibility?

One of the recurrent arguments made by free-will “compatibilists” (i.e., those who see free will as being compatible with physical determinism), is that those of us who are incompatibilists—in my case, I think people conceive of free will as reflecting a dualistic “ghost in the brain,” and find that incompatible with the determinism that governs […]

Sam Harris vs. Dan Dennett on free will

A while back Dan Dennett published a long critique of Sam Harris’s book Free Will, a book that I liked a lot. Like me, Sam is a determinist and an incompatibilist; that is, we see our determinism as incompatible with the kind of free will that many people espouse: a “ghost in the machine” libertarian […]

Grayling weighs in on the new A-level philosophy curriculum

Yesterday I posted about the proposed changes in the UK’s A-level philosophy courses, in which a lot of good secular philosophy was going to be replaced by a curriculum that included two coequal areas: epistemology and religious studies. I also noted that I’d ask Anthony Grayling (who was given Massimo Pigliucci’s seal of approval as […]

Oy vey: UK schools replace secular philosophy courses with religious ones

I tend to hold Jews to a higher standard than Christians, probably because of my quasi-Jewish upbringing and the general impression that Jews are on average smarter than members of other faiths (I don’t know that for sure, but they are certainly overrepresented in academic and among Nobel Laureates). And thus I get especially upset […]

Two bloggers argue that the only morality that makes sense is based on the Christian God

Reader Dean called my attention to an article on a site called Saints & Skeptics? :“Meaning, morality, and Jerry Coyne’s world.” It’s a critique, à la Ross Douthat, on the coherence of secular morality—or at least what J. Coyne sees as “moral.” I prefer to avoid using the term “moral behavior,” for it implies “moral […]

Skeptic asks Deepak how to distinguish real truth from that garnered by “other ways of knowing”

In 2010, skeptic and manga artist Sara Mayhew got a chance to ask Deepak Chopra a question after his ABC News debate with Sam Harris and Michael Shermer. The topic of the debate was “Does God have a future?“, and Chopra teamed with philosopher Jean Houston. (Thanks to a reader for pointing out this video.) […]

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