Category Archives: philosophy

Gary Gutting interviews Michael Ruse and asks him why he coddles religion

Gary Gutting is a philosophy professor at the University of Notre Dame, and has been interviewing various academics about religion at his website The Stone at The New York Times. Interviewees have included Alvin “I Haz True Beliefs” Plantinga and my friend the philosopher Philip Kitcher. This week Gutting’s subject is the philosopher of science Michael Ruse, now at […]

A philosopher bashes atheists for dumb reasons

The atheist-bashing continues, and since there aren’t many new ways to attack nonbelievers, the critiques take the form of very slightly altered but still-familiar arguments. The latest is an essay in the Spectator penned bty the conservative and religion-friendly philosopher Roger Scruton, who specializes in aesthetics.  But his piece, “Humans hunger for the sacred, why can’t the new atheists […]

Pigliucci pwns Neil deGrasse Tyson; SMBC teases Pigliucci

Neil DeGrasse Tyson has criticized philosophy quite a bit recently, and so has Lawrence Krauss, though Krauss apologized for some of his more egregious statements. Tyson, however, remains obdurately anti-philosophy, and that has angered Massimo Pigliucci. Over at his new website Scientia Salon, Pigliucci takes out after Tyson in a post called “Neil DeGrasse Tyson and […]

Is Dennett rethinking free will?

Reader Jiten called my attention to this post by Gregg Caruso on Flickers of Freedom about Dan Dennett’s comment on Free Will—a comment that appeared in a discussion in the journal Methode. I admit that I haven’t yet read Dan’s whole piece, but Caruso gives an interesting excerpt, which suggests that Dennett may be rethinking the issue […]

Massimo hangs it up

Massimo Pigliucci has been writing at his site Rationally Speaking since August of 2005, which is three years and four months longer than this site.  And, after all those years, he’s decided to curtail his writing there, as he explains in his farewell post, “So long, and thanks for all the fish” (the title, of […]

Paul Bloom claims that we’re not biochemical puppets because we can reason. He’s wrong.

Paul Bloom is a noted psychologist at Yale, specializing in morality and its development in young children (see an earlier post on that topic here). Now, in the new Atlantic, Bloom has published a longish piece, “The war on reason,” that describes a purported war on rationality incited by the findings of neuroscientists, determinists, and […]

What is “science”?

I’m not sure who writes the website The Barefoot Bum (he appears to be named “Larry” in his website cartoon), but I’m sorry I didn’t run across it a while back, for he’s written two great posts in a row (the other one, which I may discuss later, is on the dreadful dialogue between Gary Gutting […]

Does the average person believe in determinism, free will, and moral responsibility?

One of the recurrent arguments made by free-will “compatibilists” (i.e., those who see free will as being compatible with physical determinism), is that those of us who are incompatibilists—in my case, I think people conceive of free will as reflecting a dualistic “ghost in the brain,” and find that incompatible with the determinism that governs […]

Sam Harris vs. Dan Dennett on free will

A while back Dan Dennett published a long critique of Sam Harris’s book Free Will, a book that I liked a lot. Like me, Sam is a determinist and an incompatibilist; that is, we see our determinism as incompatible with the kind of free will that many people espouse: a “ghost in the machine” libertarian […]

Grayling weighs in on the new A-level philosophy curriculum

Yesterday I posted about the proposed changes in the UK’s A-level philosophy courses, in which a lot of good secular philosophy was going to be replaced by a curriculum that included two coequal areas: epistemology and religious studies. I also noted that I’d ask Anthony Grayling (who was given Massimo Pigliucci’s seal of approval as […]


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