Category Archives: philosophy

Nigel Warburton: Best philosophy books of 2016

Sophie Roell of Five Books interviewed freelance philosopher Nigel Warburton  (bio here) on his choices for the best popular philosophy books of 2016. The choices are interesting, and I’ll read at least two of them—probably the first two. I’ll show the books and then summarize a few of Warburton’s comments (indented) An intro: Over the […]

Peter Singer’s new books on ethics

Peter Singer’s new book on ethics, a series of short essays about real-world ethical issues, came out September 13 (Princeton University Press), and already it’s Amazon’s #1 release in “Philosophy of Ethics and Morality”. I’ll be reading it for sure, as Singer is one philosopher who has something to say about how real people live […]

Two morning tw**ts

Although I don’t follow anyone on Twi**er, as I’d never get anything done if I did, I do count on the kindness of stranger (and readers) to call interesting tw**ts to my attention. Here’s one that Grania sent me. I must admit, this solution to the trolley problem had escaped me… — Sam Harris (@SamHarrisOrg) […]

Sean Carroll on free will

Yes, I know some of you are thinking “Oh, no—not another post on free will!” Well, if you’re one of those, you know what to do: just don’t read any further. I write about what interests me; and the free will debate, which is a rare nexus of of science, religion, and philosophy, is interesting. Plus […]

Proof that the scriptures are man-made and don’t convey God’s word

When you read this I’ll be over—or, if something goes wrong, in—the Atlantic. If all goes well, Grania will have done the Hili dialogue; please her a hand for repeatedly filling in for me when I’m traveling. I woke up about 2 a.m. in the Warsaw airport hotel and this idea suddenly popped into my head. […]

Gary Gutting discovers the obvious: religion can cause violence

“We may find it hard to believe that religious beliefs could motivate murders and insist that extreme violence is always due to mental instability or political fanaticism. But the logic (and the history) of religions tells against this view.”  –Gary Gutting, having an epiphany The Stone, the New York Times‘s philosophy column, is remarkably undistinguished, […]

Misconceptions about determinism, illustrated

Over at the website Evolving Perspectives, reader Pliny the in between has a new cartoon called “Nuts and bolts of crime and punishment“. It illustrates one of the many misconceptions people have about science-based determinism and its rejection of libertarian free will: that under determinism is useless to try to change anything since everything is […]

ID advocates mock determinism, insist on libertarian free will and human exceptionalism

The boys over at the Discovery Institute (DI) spend a lot of time mocking me online, but I rarely pay attention. And when I do, I’m sort of flattered, and for two reasons: they think that what I write here is important enough to attack, and because when those creationist mushbrains go after me, I know I’m doing […]

At last: a rational thinker at “The Stone”

Over the years I’ve repeatedly documented the wooly thinking, religious apologetics, and general mushbrain-y analysis at “The Stone”, a philosophy blog at the New York Times. But very rarely the editors will deign to let a rationalist or—horrors!—an atheist have a column. And today it’s Duke University philosopher Alex Rosenberg, who is about the most “militant” atheist—and […]

John Searle on the persistent philosophical problem of free will

You don’t get much more respected as an academic than John Searle, a philosopher of mind and language who’s been teaching at Berkeley for 56 years. I’ve read some of his stuff, which I generally like, and admire him for still being an active, non-retired professor at 83. He must love his job! When Sam […]