Are there relatively recent scientific developments or findings that should be getting more attention from philosophers (and not just philosophers of science)? What are some good examples of philosophers taking up relatively recent, but perhaps not widely known or appreciated, scientific developments or findings? (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..
“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…)
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. (..
The CBC reports on recent work on thought-imaging technology, the use and development of which would raise various questions in ethics, and which would possibly be relevant to work in philosophy of mind, philosophy of perception, philosophy of science, philosophy of action, and other areas of philosophy. (more…)
“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”
This past year, nearly 60 high schools in Ireland began offering philosophy courses or introducing philosophy modules into existing courses, and the nation’s president, Michael Higgins, launched the Young Philosopher Awards for primary and secondary school students. (more…)
“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 ..
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 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…)
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..
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…)
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…)
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..
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..
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..
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..
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…)
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 ..
Last week, Susanna Siegel and Steven Pinker (both of Harvard) participated in a debate about the role of the humanities and the sciences in the study of the mind. The debate was videotaped and can be watched here (update: link fixed). Below is Professor Siegel’s summary of the event, the topic of which raises questions about the value of the humanities more general..
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 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 his contribution to A Teacher’s Life: Essays for Steven M. Cahn, David Rosenthal (CUNY) raises questions about philosophy’s fit with the humanities and the sciences, framed around the study of history.
A striking difference between those fields we classify as humanities and those we regard as sciences is the attitude within each field toward its history. Learning..