APA 2014-2: Against causal reductionism

by Massimo Pigliucci Second report from this year's meeting of the Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Association. This session, under the general heading of philosophy of science, was actually constituted of just one talk, entitled “Against causal reductionism” and delivered by Chris Weaver (Rutgers University) (the session was chaired by Michael Hicks, Rutgers University). … Continue reading APA 2014-2: Against causal reductionism

APA 2014-1: The moral basis of capitalism, or something

by Massimo Pigliucci As I have done at the previous incarnation of Scientia Salon, the Rationally Speaking blog [1], from time to time I will report on this webzine on interesting conferences or workshops in which I participate. After all, the chief point of Scientia Salon is for academics to engage in discussions with a broader … Continue reading APA 2014-1: The moral basis of capitalism, or something

Free Will Skepticism and Its Implications: An Argument for Optimism — Part 2

by Gregg D. Caruso [This two-part essay was inspired by the author’s TEDx talk on the same topic, which can be viewed here.] [1] I. Addressing Pragmatic Concerns with Free Will Skepticism Let me begin with the concern that giving up free will belief will increase anti-social behavior. This concern has been fueled largely by … Continue reading Free Will Skepticism and Its Implications: An Argument for Optimism — Part 2

Free Will Skepticism and Its Implications: An Argument for Optimism — Part 1

by Gregg D. Caruso [This two-part essay was inspired by the author’s TEDx talk on the same topic, which can be viewed here.] [1] Contemporary theories of free will tend to fall into one of two general categories, namely, those that insist on and those that are skeptical about the reality of human freedom and … Continue reading Free Will Skepticism and Its Implications: An Argument for Optimism — Part 1

Why not Cynicism?

by Steve Snyder If there’s one thing that a lot of people are sure they know about Cynicism, it’s that it’s nothing other than a usually unwarranted, almost totally negative attitude about life in general, and most of its individual elements. And, if they think they’re talking about Cynicism the philosophy, with a capital C, … Continue reading Why not Cynicism?

It’s American Atheists billboards time, again!

by Massimo Pigliucci Christmas is fast approaching. So, naturally, American Atheists has launched its usual billboard campaign to nudge closeted atheists to come out and embrace the good news. AA President David Silverman is again spearheading what he calls the organizations’ “firebrand” approach to fighting religion. Despite being a lifetime member of American Atheists, I … Continue reading It’s American Atheists billboards time, again!

Cold, objective science? Think twice

by Enrico Uva In trying to make sense of science-related issues — say, global warming, or vaccines and autism —we are often hampered by a lack of scientific expertise, and even for those us who have a science degree, our knowledge often doesn’t spread beyond the scope of our specific field. Things get murkier still when individuals and organizations represent science … Continue reading Cold, objective science? Think twice

Do atheists reject the “wrong kind of God”? Not likely

by Daniel Linford Why is it that some people do not believe in God? Some popular religious writers have claimed that atheists reject God because they were presented with the wrong kind of God. Atheists reject a god that is too small, it is claimed, and most have not considered the more sophisticated God that … Continue reading Do atheists reject the “wrong kind of God”? Not likely

On the (dis)unity of the sciences

by Massimo Pigliucci As a practicing scientist I have always assumed that there is one thing, one type of activity, we call science. More importantly, though I am a biologist, I automatically accepted the physicists’ idea that — in principle at the least — everything boils down to physics, that it makes perfect sense to … Continue reading On the (dis)unity of the sciences

Three cheers for religious toleration

by Coel Hellier In the all-time lists of Good Ideas the principle of religious freedom ranks high, preventing much strife and war and thus being responsible for saving more lives than penicillin and vaccination combined [1]. “The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me … Continue reading Three cheers for religious toleration