On the biology of race

by Massimo Pigliucci The biology of human races is back in the news, big time. This is because of a new book by former New York Times journalist Nicholas Wade, A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History [1]. The basic thesis of the book is that human races are real, and that their genetic … Continue reading On the biology of race


Does philosophy have a future?

by Mark English Anyone who claims that the writings of philosophers are pointless or unnecessary is immediately accused of philosophical naïveté. And so in order to avoid or counter the charge one has to do a bit of philosophy. Likewise, it’s difficult to articulate an anti-metaphysical stance without getting bogged down in something that looks … Continue reading Does philosophy have a future?

My philosophy, so far — part II

by Massimo Pigliucci In the first part [19] of this ambitious (and inevitably, insufficient) essay I sought to write down and briefly defend a number of fundamental positions that characterize my “philosophy,” i.e., my take on important questions concerning philosophy, science and the nature of reality. I have covered the nature of philosophy itself (as … Continue reading My philosophy, so far — part II

My philosophy, so far — part I

by Massimo Pigliucci Over the last decade and a half — ever since I started the Rationally Speaking blog [1] which has now evolved into the webzine that is Scientia Salon — I have written about all sorts of core philosophical issues (e.g., ethics, metaphysics), as well as on much other stuff (e.g., the nature … Continue reading My philosophy, so far — part I

Why Phi Needs XPhi

by Mark O’Brien Humans are alone in the natural world (as far as we know) in the richness of our dealings with other members of our own species and in the fact that we have a complex language with which to negotiate these interactions. We have evolved a sophisticated suite of concepts and intuitions, and … Continue reading Why Phi Needs XPhi

Neil deGrasse Tyson and the value of philosophy

by Massimo Pigliucci It seems like my friend Neil deGrasse Tyson [1] has done it again: he has dismissed philosophy as a useless enterprise, and actually advised bright students to stay away from it. It is not the first time Neil has done this sort of thing, and he is far from being the only … Continue reading Neil deGrasse Tyson and the value of philosophy

Virtue aesthetics

by Steve Neumann You’ve probably heard of virtue ethics, but have you heard of virtue aesthetics? Probably not; it’s my own coinage, so far as I know. Virtue ethics, in the tradition of Aristotle, is essentially an attempt to define the good life, a life well-lived, to show how one can achieve the holy grail … Continue reading Virtue aesthetics

The interplay of science and ethics: the case of eugenics

by Massimo Pigliucci It is a rare case where I find myself sympathetic to quotes from both Steven Pinker and a Pope. And yet, reading and thinking about eugenics can cause this sort of strange happening, and more. Here is Pinker, from an interview with Steve Sailer [1] about The Blank Slate, criticizing what he … Continue reading The interplay of science and ethics: the case of eugenics

Information is the new Aristotelianism (and Dawkins is a hylomorphist)

by John Wilkins “In seeking tales and informations.” [Henry VIII, Act V, scene 3] For some time now [1] I have had problems with the notion of information. Not, please note, with this or that piece of information, but with the notion itself, especially in the natural sciences. In this age of computers and internets, we … Continue reading Information is the new Aristotelianism (and Dawkins is a hylomorphist)