Category Archives: philosophy

“If there’s no God, murder isn’t wrong”: A ridiculous video from Prager University

Reader Kurt sent me this video with the note, “Sending you this for your listening pleasure in the hope you’ll never post anything from the execrable ‘Prager U’” again.” Sorry, Kurt: here it is. In fact, in this video Dennis Prager himself asks the burning question, “How do you know murder is wrong?” Science, he says gives […]

Dan Dennett profiled in The New Yorker

It’s early in the morning in Queenstown, and I have a 7.5-hour bus ride to Fox Glacier ahead of me. All I can do this morning is direct your attention to a (free) New Yorker profile on Dan Dennett and his views on the mind, “Dan Dennett’s Science of the Soul.” I haven’t read it, […]

Aeon: A physicist claims that materialism is dead because it can’t explain consciousness

Quantum mechanics is deeply weird, and I can’t grasp it in the sense of trying to understand how it works using my own experience as a reference. But of course that’s true for physicists as well, and I think it’s what Feynman meant when he said “Nobody understands quantum mechanics” (see the short video below): That is, […]

Philosopher thinks panpsychism (“all matter has mind”) is probably true

Panpsychism has a long history in philosophy, and is defined by the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy as “the doctrine that mind is a fundamental feature of the world which exists throughout the universe.” In other words, everything has a mind, with some philosophers, like Philip Goff, claiming that objects like electrons and rocks have “an inner life”. […]

Peter Singer’s talk censored in Canada as shouting students accuse him of “euthanasia”

I’m a a big admirer of philosopher Peter Singer, for he deals with philosophical problems affecting the real world, not with arcane stuff like compatibilism; and he really lives his philosophy, donating a substantial portion of his income to charity, not eating meat, and not wearing leather. His work on practical ethics, altruism, and animal rights has […]

A new paper suggesting that belief in determinism makes you more empathic and less vindictive

Even though all rational people know that determinism rules human behavior, and in that sense there is no possibility of “choosing otherwise” at a moment of decision—absent quantum effects, which don’t in any way give us “free will”—this conclusion disturbs some people. Our sense of agency is so strong that it’s impossible for many of […]

“The Scandalous Grace of God”: A Christian explains why he’s no better than Dylan Roof

When I read the title of this piece in PuffHo’s “Religion” section,  “I am no better than Dylann Roof“, I took it as a determinist: all of us are capable of doing what Roof did if we had a certain combination of genes and environments. (As you may recall, Roof murdered 9 African-Americans at a Church in Charleston, […]

University of London students demand that white philosophers be excised from curriculum

A caveat first: this article comes from The Daily Mail, and I haven’t been able to verify it from other news sources. On the other hand, I have verified the students’ demands to which it refers (see below). Further, the Mail article gives quotes from the likes of Sir Roger Scruton, which would have to have been fabricated by […]

Another word on free will: does compulsion eliminate it?

In my post on the Annual Edge Question the other day, which gave a link to my short piece on “determinism” on the Edge website, reader Coel made this comment: A hope for the new year is that some commenters here might persuade PCC-E that many compatibilists do not see compatibilist notions of “free will” […]

Richard Gunderman at The Conversation: our ability to lie shows that the mind is physically independent of the brain (!)

UPDATE: As the first comment in the thread (by Coel) shows, I was correct in assuming there’s a religiosity to Gunderman’s argument: he’s a trustee of the Christian Theological Seminary. Further, someone who once knew him emailed me and described him as “ultra religious.” ________________________ The motto of the site The Conversation is “academic rigor, […]