Category Archives: philosophy

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 […]

Is falsifiability essential to science?

The two articles I want to discuss today are fascinating, for they raise a problem that’s now vexing many scientists (especially physicists)—the problem of testability. (Thanks to reader Mark H. for calling my attention to them.) It all goes back to the philosopher Karl Popper (1902-1994). Popper’s views about what made a theory “scientific” were immensely influential. They’re summed […]

A disproof of objective or “scientifically based” morality

I’ve made this point before, but have revisited it after my recent post on animal suffering and how we shouldn’t ignore it. When thinking about how to judge human versus animal suffering, I realized that there’s no objective way to do this, and that when trying to figure out how to treat animals, we must ultimately […]

Anthony Grayling chastises Oxford for holding a Templeton “philosophy” conference on the Trinity

I reported earlier (see here and here), that the Templeton World Charity Foundation (TWCF), as well as two seemingly reputable philosophical societies (the Analysis Trust and the Aristotelian Society), are sponsoring a conference in Oxford next March on “The Metaphysics of the Trinity: New Directions“. This is part of a larger TWCF project on “Metaphysics of Entanglement,” which of […]

Studying the Trinity: More dollars wasted by Templeton and philosophy groups

Here’s part of an email announcement sent out by the “Philosophy Admin” of Oxford University, which may mean (but may not) that this ridiculous conference, part of an initiative that I’ve mentioned before, has the blessing of Oxford University. It certainly has the blessing of the Templeton World Charity foundation, the Analysis Trust (publishers of the reputable […]