Category Archives: philosophy

Stephen Law on scientism

On his eponymous website, writer/philosopher Stephen Law has a new post called “Scientism!“. I reproduce it in its entirety: SCIENTISM: here’s the final paragraph of the chapter I just finished which will appear in Massimo Pigliucci and Maarten Boudry’s forthcoming tome Science Unlimited. I have provided three illustrations of how the charge of scientism is […]

Moral, religious and free-will fictionalism: how dangerous are they?

At its philosophy website The Stone, the New York Times finally published an article that sparked my interest, though of course I don’t completely agree with it. It’s called “How to live a lie,” and it’s by William Irwin, a philosopher at King’s College in Pennsylvania. By “living a lie,” Irwin refers to three forms of “fictionalism”: […]

Does disbelief in free will make people cheat?

I’ve posted before about Greg Caruso, a philosophy professor who writes about the down side of believing in free will, including its support of a “just world” view in which people deserve what they get, and so shouldn’t get government help. (Many Republicans hold such a view.) Caruso’s also the author of Free Will and Consciousness: A Determinist Account of […]

An updated Pascal’s Wager: Just as bad as the old one

I am continually told that I should not engage in philosophy without professional credentials in that area, even though I am now co-author with a Credentialed Philosopher™, Maarten Boudry, on a peer-reviewed philosophy paper. But this credential mongering loses force when I see real professors of philosophy engaged in lucubrations that are so transparently dreadful that […]

Another failure to replicate a much-cited study on free will and cheating

There’s been a lot of press about a study just published in Science in which a large consortium of researchers tried to replicate 100 studies published in psychology journals, and managed to get significant results in only 36% of the replications. Further, investigators who repeated the earlier studies judged subjectively that they had replicated the […]

Let’s stop talking about “rights”, or at least don’t assert them as unquestionable givens

Now that I’ve established my philosophy cred, I want to talk about “rights”. These are just some off-the-top-of-my-head thoughts inspired by the video I’ve posted below. There are two ways we can interpret the meaning of the word “rights” as applied to humans or animals: a. Social, political, or legal conventions that help society run the way we’d […]

I’m a philosopher! I haz a paper with Maarten Boudry on religious belief

At long last Massimo Pigliucci—who (along with others) has criticized my lucubrations about philosophy on the grounds that I have no credentials in the field—can cease and desist. For, along with a genuinely credentialed philosopher, Maarten Boudry, I have a paper in press in a real peer-reviewed philosophy journal (Philosophical Psychology). It’s coauthored with Belgian philosopher […]

My INR5 talk about free will—or rather, our lack of it

I don’t think I’ve posted this, or knew till today that it was even on YouTube, but I’ll put it up for the record. It’s my talk called “You don’t have free will” that was given at the Imagine No Religion meeting in Vancouver in June. Of course many will disagree with my views, but […]

Sam Harris does another Ask Me Anything

by Grania Sam Harris recently did his second podcast on The Tim Ferriss Experiment, it’s a very enjoyable listen for a Sunday morning. From the show notes, these are the questions discussed. What are five books you think everyone should read? [6:53] In The End of Faith, you briefly discuss the challenging reality of having children. […]

Our New Overlords

by Grania There’s an entertaining article over on CNET about an actual conversation between a human (and an annoying one at that) and a Google computer program. The program has apparently been fed a database of movie scripts which is either cruel and unusual treatment of innocent unsuspecting software or really clever because that’s probably […]