Category Archives: philosophy

The Atlantic: Free will is an illusion, but we need to keep that illusion

Yes, I know I’m writing about two Atlantic pieces in one day, but so be it: such are the laws of physics. The second piece, much better than the article on FGM, is an essay by Stephen Cave, “There’s no such thing as free will but we’re better off believing it anyway.” I’ll try to be […]

An unenlightening disquisition on consciousness

Several readers sent me Galen Strawson’s new piece in the New York Times‘s philosophy section, “The Stone.” In his op-ed, “Consciousness isn’t a mystery. It’s matter“, respected philosopher of mind Strawson makes three contentions. I find the most important two to be uncontroversial, while the third is puzzling. The basic premise is that consciousness is […]

I have landed. . .

. . . in Portland that is, where I’m in the capable hands of philosopher Peter Boghossian at Portland State University, host for half of my visit. We’ve already dined at one of the famous “food trucks” (stalls, really) that fill this food-loving city, and had a great Thai lunch. The evidence is below. Portland is, […]

Maarten Boudry on the nature of religious beliefs

Over at 3 Quarks Daily, a site I find of extremely variable quality, there’s a decent post up today (PCC[E] said self-aggrandizingly). It’s by my philosophy colleague Maarten Boudry, whose help and collaboration gave me Philosophy Cred, and it’s called “Disbelief in Belief.” Boudry’s piece is a concise, popular exposition of the paper that Boudry and […]

Proof that I have philosophy cred

Maarten Boudy and I wrote two papers for Philosophical Psychology. The first was a critique of a paper by philosopher Neil van Leeuwen, who argued that religious beliefs weren’t at all like “real” beliefs, but more often had a status as “fictional imaginings.” We took issue with that. Van Leeuwen then criticized us, and we […]

Is there “a meaning to life” for nonbelievers?

When I was talking about FvF with Dan Barker on Saturday, someone stood up during the Q&A session and asked a question that I’ve often heard: “If you don’t believe in God, how can you possibly find meaning in life?” This is perhaps the most common criticism of atheism, though of course it doesn’t bear […]

Blackford vs. Pigliucci: scientism, religion, and the “demarcation problem”

Ah, the philosphy fracas continues! First Russell Blackford wrote a laudatory review of Faith versus Fact for Talking Philosophy. Then Massimo Pigliucci, who never fails to remind us that he has three—count them, three—doctorates, and is therefore more qualified than anyone to assess both philosophy and biology, took out after Russell’s review—without having read my […]

And Russell Blackford reflects on 2015

Like Michael Nugent (see two posts below), philosopher/atheist Russell Blackford has summed up the activities and thoughts that occupied him last year; the post, “A last reflection on 2015“, is on his Metamagician website. Although Russell and Michael wrote their pieces independently, it’s no surprise that there’s some overlap. Both, for instance, decry rageblogging, the […]

Russell Blackford on science, religion, accommodationism, and Faith Versus Fact

Over at the “Cogito” (philosophy) section of The Conversation website, Brother Russell Blackford discusses (and dismisses) the compatibility of science and religion in a short essay called “Against accomodationism: How science undermines religion.” A substantial part of his piece is also a review of Faith Versus Fact, which I’m happy to see is positive. I won’t summarize Russell’s […]

NYT: Science can’t save us from our “apocalyptic future”, but can philosophy help?

Roy Scranton served in the Army for four years (2002-2006), is now a doctoral candidate in English at Princeton, and, in October, published a book called Learning to Die in the Anthropocene: Reflections on the End of a Civilization. He just reprised his thesis in the philosophy column “The Stone” at the New York Times in a […]

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