Philosophy and the SciencesCategory
The Ann Johnson Institute for Science, Technology & Society (AJI) has been launched at the University of South Carolina. (more…)
Many of the young people who attend my classes think that philosophy is a fuzzy discipline that’s concerned only with matters of opinion, whereas science is in the business of discovering facts, delivering proofs, and disseminating objective truths. Furthermore, many of them believe that scientists can answer philosophical questions, but philosophers have no busines..
So, just as naturalism-as-opposed-to-apriorism succumbs to scientism when it falsely assumes that whatever isn’t a priori must be science, naturalism-as-opposed-to-supernaturalism succumbs to scientism when it falsely assumes that whatever isn’t religion must be science. Granted, theological “explanations” don’t really explain anything; but it doesn’t follow, and it..
Evolutionary Studies in Imaginative Culture, a new journal, has published the results of a survey of academics, sorted by discipline, regarding their views about genetic and environmental determinism and the explanatory power of science. (more…)
Anyone who studies the contemporary phenomenon of global warming, or who fears the insidious impact that the smartphone is having on our lives, or who remembers that there are enough nuclear warheads on enough intercontinental ballistic missiles to destroy human civilization with some ease, understands that modern technology threatens, indeed is likely, to overwhelm..
The experience of beauty is a pleasure, but common sense and philosophy suggest that feeling beauty differs from sensuous pleasures such as eating or sex. Immanuel Kant claimed that experiencing beauty requires thought but that sensuous pleasure can be enjoyed without thought and cannot be beautiful. These venerable hypotheses persist in models of aesthetic processi..
The Board of Officers of the American Philosophical Association (APA) has issued a statement in support of the March for Science, a demonstration taking place next month which “champions robustly funded and publicly communicated science as a pillar of human freedom and prosperity” and which calls for “science that upholds the common good and for political leaders an..
People who hold deontological moral views appear to others to be more “pro-social,” but actually aren’t, according to a new study. The study, entitled “Are Kantians Better Social Partners? People Making Deontological Judgments Are Perceived to Be More Prosocial than They Actually Are,” is by Valerio Capraro (Middlesex University, London) and seven others, and is ava..
Can science help us answer philosophical questions? Hanoch Ben-Yami, professor of philosophy at Central European University (CEU), in an interview at 3:AM Magazine, suggests that the question is too broad. The answers are different for different scientific inquiries. (more…)
egardless of whom you want to assign the task of reaching across the line , presently little crosses it. Few practicing physicists today care what philosophers do or think.
And as someone who has tried to write about topics on the intersection of both fields, I can report that this disciplinary segregation is meanwhile institutionalized: The physics journals won’..
A few reporters at Vox conducted an unscientific survey of scientists to unpack the sense they’ve been getting that “science is in big trouble.” The result is a list of the seven biggest problems facing science, based on responses from 270 scientists. (more…)
An almost fully-formed human brain has been grown in a lab for the first time, claim scientists from Ohio State University… Though not conscious the miniature brain, which resembles that of a five-week-old foetus, could potentially be useful for scientists who want to study the progression of developmental diseases… The brain, which is about the size of a pencil..
A team of 270 researchers have now published the findings from their “Reproducibility Project”—an attempt to replicate the findings in published psychology papers—in Science, and the results are dismal. Nina Strohminger (Yale) and Elizabeth Gilbert (Virginia) discuss the findings in an essay at The Conversation:
Almost all of the original published studies (9..
The Global Health Impact is an initiative created by Nicole Hassoun, associate professor of philosophy at SUNY Binghamton, that evaluates and compares the health impact of medicine. The site assigns “impact scores” to various drugs based on how much good they do (explained here) and presents the information sorted by disease, drug, country, and pharmaceutical compan..
In 2012, physicists Lawrence Krauss claimed that “…science progresses and philosophy doesn’t”, and Neil deGrasse Tyson infamously echoes such opinions… Lots of high profile physicists make dead wrong claims about a subject in which they are not experts, repeating misperceptions even after philosophers keep correcting them. This is like listening to creationists re..
Cosmology’s hot streak has stalled. Cosmologists have looked deep into time, almost all the way back to the Big Bang itself, but they don’t know what came before it. They don’t know whether the Big Bang was the beginning, or merely one of many beginnings. Something entirely unimaginable might have preceded it. Cosmologists don’t know if the world we see around us is..
In the world of Star Trek, a rule called the “prime directive” prohibits our heroes from interfering in the development of alien cultures. I don’t think they had in mind the kind of “cultures” that could be grown in a Petri dish, but, as it turns out, NASA has predicted that we will find extraterrestrial life within the next 20 years, and that the life in question w..
Alison Gopnik (Berkeley) has written a piece for the Wall Street Journal about the study by Sarah Jane Leslie et al that we discussed last month on innate or “raw intellectual talent” and academia’s gender and race gaps. In her article, she writes, “From a scientific perspective, the very idea that something as complicated as philosophical success is the result of “..
Unbeknownst to many people, our emotions, cognition, behavior, and mental health are influenced by a large number of entities that reside in our bodies while pursuing their own interests, which need not coincide with ours. Such selfish entities include microbes, viruses, foreign human cells, and imprinted genes regulated by viruslike elements. This article provides ..
My goal is to put the Ph back into a PhD. I want to restore more philosophical thinking into the doctoral degrees that students earn here.
So says Arturo Casadevall, chair of the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at Johns Hopkins University, in the Johns Hopkins Public Health Magazine. Casadevall thinks that bringing philosophical thinking, part..
Brian Robinson and Michael O’Rourke, both at Michigan State University, lead The Toolbox Project, an initiative which provides “philosophical yet practical enhancement to cross-disciplinary, collaborative science.” It is a fascinating and innovative use of philosophy to facilitate interdisciplinary research, and has been up and running for over a decade. I asked the..