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..
“My aim has been to remind philosophers that their subject, whether or not ‘handmaiden to the sciences’, ought to be handmaiden also to the humanities”
“One need no longer have recourse to magical means in order to master or implore the spirits, as did the savage, for whom such mysterious powers existed. Technical means and calculations perform the service. This above all is what intellectualization means.” (more…)
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..
The destruction recently wrought by Hurricane Harvey will take years to recover from. Now, weather forecasters are drawing attention to Hurricane Irma, currently in the Atlantic Ocean and heading west towards the islands of the Caribbean, Puerto Rico, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, and then possibly Cuba, Florida, and elsewhere along the eastern United States. (..
Bas van Fraassen (Princeton) is interviewed by Richard Marshall at 3:AM Magazine. The whole interview is chock full of interestingness. Here are three brief and possibly provocative passages from the interview. (more…)
The Royal Society, the United Kingdom’s learned society for the sciences, annually recognizes a scholar for “excellence in a subject relating to the history of science, philosophy of science or the social function of science” with its Wilkins-Bernal-Medawar Medal and Lecture. (more…)
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…)
The journal formerly known as Philosophy & Theory in Biology has relaunched with a new name, Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology (PTPBio), and has just published its first articles under the new title. (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..
“Since science took its modern form in the seventeenth century, it has been one long success story.” By contrast, we philosophers “don’t seem to have progressed much in the two and a half millennia since Plato wrote his dialogues.” That’s the conventional wisdom, as described by David Papineau (King’s College London) in The Times Literary Supplement. But if there’s ..
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..
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…)
I was attracted to philosophy because it is the most minimalistic art I can think of. To express ideas, you use only the most minimal, the most reduced resources: no body (as in theatre), no figures (as in pictorial art), no voice or sound (as in music), no story (as in literature)—just thoughts. They are ordered, ideally crystal-clear and sharp, but they are just..
A persistent challenge to philosophy is whether it is rendered obsolete by science. Consider this exchange on the philosophy of mind:
Cognitive scientists are working to understand many issues raised by Kant—do you think the scientists are going to get conclusive answers to the question about consciousness and the mind—and other minds—and if they are, doesn..
The following is a guest post* by Adam Briggle and Robert Frodeman, both professors of Philosophy at the University of North Texas and co-authors of Socrates Tenured: The Institutions of 21st Century Philosophy. This essay originally appeared in The Guardian and is reposted here with permission of the authors.
In yet another excellent interview at 3AM: Magazine, Richard Marshall talks with Elliott Sober (Wisconsin). There is a lot of interesting material in this interview, including Sober’s takes on the criticisms of evolutionary theory by Jerry Fodor (Rutgers) and Thomas Nagel (NYU).
On Nagel, he says:
Nagel thinks that “remarkable facts” can’t have low probabiliti..
What if I told you there was an easy, scientifically-proven, five-minute method for improving your teaching? Just five-minutes, and your teaching ratings go up. No, I’m not talking about giving your students candy when you have them fill out the course evaluation forms. I’m talking about an actual improvement in learning outcomes, based on real science. How much wou..
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…)
“Far from being years of ‘enduring failure,’ the last 150 years have been philosophy’s best.”
So argues Scott Soames (University of Southern California) in an essay on the influence of academic philosophy in The New York Times column, The Stone. Framed as a response to “When Philosophy Lost Its Way,” by Robert Frodeman and Adam Briggle (University of North Texas), ..
Daniel Dennett (Tufts) has withdrawn from the popular World Science Festival upon learning of its funding from the John Templeton Foundation. Dennett, whose opposition to Templeton has been discussed here before, is reported by The Washington Post as saying:
“I would be very happy to have the Templeton Foundation sponsor research on religion and science,” he said..
What are the boundaries of philosophy? Why are they there and what is their nature? How do such boundaries structure the way philosophers approach understanding people, events, relationships, institutions, and so on? A few recent pieces around the Internet explore versions of these questions.
Justin E.H. Smith (Université Paris Diderot) argues at Berfrois that th..
institutionalization of philosophy made it into a discipline that could be seriously pursued only in an academic setting. This fact represents one of the enduring failures of contemporary philosophy.
So argue Robert Frodeman and Adam Briggle (both of University of North Texas). Philosophy’s institutionalization in the modern research university was a kind of “pu..
What is the name of the phenomenon by which someone who is an acknowledged expert in one area is led to be overconfident about his or her knowledge in other areas? It’s a specific version of illusory superiority, and it may be related to the Dunning-Kruger effect (a product of the correlation of overconfidence and lack of skill), but I’m wondering if it has its own ..