Category Archives: philosophy

Two disparate views of free will

Here are two disparate takes on free will by Susan Blackmore and J. P. Moreland.  What they have in common is that both speakers conceive of “free will” in the same way: as dualistic, libertarian free will (Moreland buys it; Blackmore doesn’t). Now that’s the form of free will—the “ghost-in-the-machine” free will—that many readers here […]

Mathematician says he’s proven free will

Matthew Cobb called my attention to an interview with John Horton Conway in Notices of the American Mathematical Society. Conway is a famous mathematician at Princeton who says he’s proven that free will exists. I haven’t seen his formal treatment of the Free Will Theorem, so I can’t say I can evaluate it—much less understand […]

A strange conception of free will

Just when I think there’s nothing more to be said about free will—after all, we’ve hashed over most of the points here—a new piece comes along with yet another take on the issue. The latest slant, written by Dr. Peter Tse, is either deeply misguided or, less likely, profound in a way I don’t understand. […]

Colin McGinn resigns in wake of sexual harassment charges

Oy vey, you just never know.  According to Leiter Reports (which apparently took the news from the Chronicle of Higher Education, where the story’s behind a paywall), the world-famous philosopher of mind Colin McGinn, who is 63, will resign from the University of Miami at the end of this year in the wake of sexual […]

Philosophy of the gaps?

Humanist, poet, ex-scientist, ex-physician, philosopher, prolific writer —the list goes on—Raymond Tallis is the only person I’ve seen whose profession is described as “polymath” on Wikipedia.  But being a polymath doesn’t always guarantee you’re right.  In his column at the Guardian yesterday, “Philosophy isn’t dead yet, Tallis claims that philosophy—metaphysical philosophy—is the only way physics […]

What is compatibilism, really?

By way of getting feedback from readers, I want to highlight a comment by reader Jeff Johnson on a post I did a few days ago about moral responsibility. Here’s part of what he said: All that’s really going on here is that people called compatibilists have an emotional attachment to the idea of “free […]

A few words in favor of philosophy

by Greg Mayer Having just read of Jerry’s lamentable indisposition (get well!), I thought I’d write something brief that at least might get discussion going among WEIT readers till he can post again. (And in passing I note that perhaps encountering the greatness of salamanders in the wild for the first time caused a sensory […]

The consensus of philosophers

Over at his website, Sean Carroll has called my attention to a paper by David Bourget and David J. Chalmers called “What do philosophers believe?” (free download here, reference below). I must admit I’ve only scanned the paper, but the interesting results (highlighted by Sean) reflect whether or not the philosophers agree with various viewpoints and […]

Four horsemen, one seaman

Just FYI, there’s a profile of Dan Dennett by Jennifer Schuessler in yesterday’s New York Times “Book” section: “Philosophy that stirs the waters.” I knew Dan was a sailor, but didn’t realize that he once had a 42-foot “cruiser” (I guess that’s a sailboat). His books must be doing pretty well! The piece highlights Dan’s […]

Jim Al-Khalili mistakes unpredictability for free will

UPDATE: Reader Chris Quartly noticed that I posted about this same article by Al-Khalili in January here.  All I can say is that I forgot; blame it on advancing age. At any rate, those readers who didn’t catch the earlier post may want to engage with this one. Mea culpa.  Too, my views have developed […]

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