Category Archives: philosophy

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, […]

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… https://t.co/qBpTilAwT9 — 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. […]