Saturday, April 19, 2014

Theme: Massimo Pigliucci

  • A foundationalist in ethics, for instance may reasonably ask what grounds (notice the metaphor!) our ethical judgment in general (as opposed to asking what reasoning has brought one to a particular ethical judgment about whatever matter happens to be under discussion). There are, of course, a number of different approaches on offer: from divine law (yeah, I know) to conventionalism, various forms of moral realism and anti-realism, and so forth.Read more
  • The “Darwinian” theory of evolution is here to stay. I used the scare quotes to refer to it in the previous sentence because the current incarnation, known as the Modern Synthesis (and incorrectly referred to as “neo-Darwinism,” which actually was an even earlier version) is significantly more sophisticated and encompassing than the original insight by Darwin.Read more
  • A really fascinating and, as we shall see in a moment, somewhat nasty dispute has exploded in the philosophical public sphere, and I think it’s going to be interesting to see why - both sides have a very good point.Read more
  • This semester I’ve been running a graduate level seminar at the City University of New York, on the difference between philosophy of science and science studies. The latter is a broad and somewhat vaguely defined term that includes (certain kinds of) sociology of science, postmodern criticism of science, and feminist epistemology. Read more
  • Recently I have been intrigued by James Ladyman and Don Ross’s ideas about naturalistic metaphysics and in the course of my discussion of their book, Every Thing Must Go, I pointed out that those ideas (as the authors themselves recognize) are compatible with one form or another of mathematical Platonism.Read more
  • The other night I was with friends, enjoying a relaxing evening of Chinese takeout and a wine that was far too expensive to go with it, while we started watching favorite YouTube videos. One of them is Ricky Gervais’ take on Noah’s Ark.Read more
  • A recent piece by Scott Jaschik in “Inside Higher Education” pointed out what a number of my colleagues have been thinking for a while now: the peer review system for scholarly journals doesn’t work very well, needs to be reformed, and really ought to take radical advantage of new technologies. Read more
  • Recently, I have hosted a roundtable discussion on the science and philosophy of free will (full video here), where the panelists were Hakwan Lau from Columbia University, Alfred Mele from Florida State University, Jesse Prinz, a colleague of mine at the City University of New York, and Adina Roskies from Dartmouth College. The idea was to have a serious discussion about the various concepts of free will, as well as what exactly neuroscience can tell us about them. Read more
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