Category Archives: philosophy

Once again: the supposed need for the self-justification of science

Reading the latest edition of The Chicago Maroon, our student newspaper, I saw an op-ed about self care by Ada Palmer, an associate professor of History. I’m not going to write about that; her piece is pretty straightforward and empathic towards our students, who will be having a rather stressful semester. Rather, when I looked […]

Why science needs philosophy: an op-ed in PNAS

Although some scientists (I believe Lawrence Krauss is one) have said that philosophy is useless to scientists, I’m not one of these miscreants. Although I recognize that philosophy can’t find out truths about the real world as opposed to “truths” within logical systems, it can certainly be an aid to thinking about science. Two examples […]

Gregg Caruso on free will, the justice system, prisons, the meaning of life, and the good life

The New Philosopher has a long interview, “On Purpose,” with Zan Boag speaking to the philosopher Gregg D. Caruso, Professor of Philosophy at SUNY Corning, Honorary Professor of Philosophy at Macquarie University, and Co-Director of the Justice Without Retribution Network (JWRN) at the University of Aberdeen School of Law. Although I’ve never met Caruso, I […]

Another paper claiming (but failing) to give evidence for libertarian free will

UPDATE: Reader Coel pointed out in the comments—this had escaped my notice—that the author of this piece, George Ellis, won the Templeton prize in 2004 for efforts in harmonizing science and religion. This may be relevant to the article below. Part of his citation says this: Beyond ethics, Ellis contends that there are many areas […]

Robert Sapolsky on (the lack of) free will and its consequences

Here’s a 43-minute Scientific American podcast in which Stanford biology professor, author, and atheist Robert Sapolsky is interviewed by Robert Mirsky. Many of us have read Sapolsky’s recent book Behave: The Biology of Humans at our Best and Worst, and Mirsky centers the talk on one of Sapolsky’s chapters from that book on behavior and […]

Another befuddled person touts panpsychism, proposing some possible (but impossible) tests of the idea that all matter is conscious

I continue to be baffled by the presence and lucubrations of apparently sentient people who claim that consciousness inheres in all matter, from electrons to us. This view that everything (including the Universe itself) is conscious is called panpsychism, and I’ve written about it at length. Why is this cockeyed theory so popular? Because it purports to […]

New Scientist touts panpsychism

“As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.” Proverbs 26:11 Matthew sent me a link to this new article in New Scientist. Yes, yet another credulous git has fallen for panpsychism. Click on the screenshot to read just the first three paragraphs (it’s paywalled, though the content of this […]

Panpsychism: a big bag of nothing

I was suckered by the Courtier’s Reply of panpsychists like Philip Goff, and so have finished his popular (i.e., trade) book, Galileo’s Error: Foundations for a New Science of Consciousness. I am not going to summarize it or review it at length, as it says little beyond what I’ve summarized previously. It has not convinced […]

Even more on panpsychism

As I near the end of Philip Goff’s trade book (Galileo’s Error: Foundations for a New Science of Consciousness), aimed at convincing the public that panpsychism is true, I came across a tweet that led me to an online “letters” conversation between Goff and philosopher/biologist Massimo Pigliucci, which you can read in the second screenshot […]

A philosophical red flag

Okay, I took the bait and am now reading Philip Goff’s trade book on panpsychism, Galileo’s Error: Foundations for a New Science of Consciousness. (Why do I let myself repeatedly fall victim to the Courtier’s Reply? I am a sucker.) It hasn’t convinced me so far that matter is somehow conscious, and yet there seem to […]