Category Archives: philosophy

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 […]

A video on (the absence of) free will

Reader Matthew sent me this brand-new Cracked video with the note: It’s a pretty funny take-down of common arguments for free will, mostly of the compatibilist variety. None of this will be new to you, but the arguments are snappy and cogent. I also found some of their analogies to be quite clever. Cracked, in […]

Business Insider: Atheists are doing it wrong

Dear Lord, why do philosophers, who are supposed to be in the business of thinking analytically, rationally, and deeply, write such stupid stuff about atheism? The latest set of dumb lucubrations on the topic was published, in of all places, Business Insider, which becomes even weirder when you see the arguments about the impotence of atheism […]

Russell Blackford defends Peter Singer

I’ve written twice (here and here) about philosopher Peter Singer’s unpopular views favoring the “mercy killing” of newborn infants having horrible deformities or diseases.  For that many people have called for him to resign, or even for Princeton to fire him. And I’ve said that that’s unconscionable. For one thing, in my view Singer’s view does have some […]