The Peer-to-Peer Hypothesis and a new theory of free will

by Marcus Arvan [This essay is part of a special “free will week” at Scientia Salon. The Editor promises not to touch the topic again for a long while after this particular orgy, of course assuming he has any choice in the matter…] Nick Bostrom [1] is well-known for arguing on probabilistic grounds that we are … Continue reading The Peer-to-Peer Hypothesis and a new theory of free will

Free Will, the Basics

by Massimo Pigliucci [This essay is part of a special “free will week” at Scientia Salon. The Editor promises not to touch the topic again for a long while after this particular orgy, of course assuming he has any choice in the matter...] Sometimes it’s good, or even necessary, to go back to the basics. … Continue reading Free Will, the Basics

Choosing a compatibilist free will perspective

by Dwayne Holmes [This essay is part of a special “free will week” at Scientia Salon. The Editor promises not to touch the topic again for a long while after this particular orgy, of course assuming he has any choice in the matter…] Despite the question having been around forever, the topic of Free Will … Continue reading Choosing a compatibilist free will perspective

Quantum mechanics and scientific realism

by Quentin Ruyant One of the main tasks of philosophy is to clarify conceptual problems and sketch the landscape of possible solutions to these problems. Of course, individual philosophers often tend to defend specific positions, but what emerges at the level of the community is, generally, a landscape of possibilities. Take, for example, the question … Continue reading Quantum mechanics and scientific realism

Cosmic evolution and the meaning of life

by John G. Messerly [The following is an excerpt from The Meaning of Life: Religious, Philosophical, Transhumanist, and Scientific Perspectives, Darwin & Hume Publishers, 2013] Are there trends in evolution — cosmic, biological, and cultural — that support the claim that life is meaningful, or is becoming meaningful, or is becoming increasingly meaningful? Perhaps there … Continue reading Cosmic evolution and the meaning of life

Reductionism, emergence, and burden of proof — part II

by Marko Vojinovic In part I of this essay I have introduced and discussed the idea of reductionism from an epistemological point of view. In what follows we will go one step further, and discuss the idea of ontological reductionism [15]. However, much of what follows will be actually devoted to rewriting the discussion of … Continue reading Reductionism, emergence, and burden of proof — part II

Reductionism, emergence, and burden of proof — part I

by Marko Vojinovic Introduction Every now and then, the question of reductionism is raised in philosophy of science: whether or not various sciences can be theoretically reduced to lower-level sciences. The answer to this question can have far-reaching consequences for our understanding of science both as a human activity and as our vehicle to gain … Continue reading Reductionism, emergence, and burden of proof — part I

APA 2014-5: On the Reality of Atoms and Subatomic Particles

by Massimo Pigliucci This is going to be my last report from the 2014 meetings of the Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Association. Obviously, it has been a rather idiosyncratic set of choices, reflecting my own interests, not necessarily the (much) broader scope of the meeting. Now if I could only convince some of … Continue reading APA 2014-5: On the Reality of Atoms and Subatomic Particles

APA 2014-4: Emergence and complex systems

by Massimo Pigliucci This session of the Eastern Division meetings of the American Philosophical Association (part of my ongoing series of commentaries on the meeting) was chaired by Emily Parke (University of Pennsylvania), and the speakers were Mark Bedau (Reed College) and Paul Humphreys (University of Virginia). Bedau’s talk was far easier to follow, so … Continue reading APA 2014-4: Emergence and complex systems

APA 2014-3: Intuitions in philosophy, pro and con

by Massimo Pigliucci My series of reports from the Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Association meetings continues with an installation on the role of intuitions in philosophy, a topic that has seen much controversy recently. The chair of the session was Joshua Schechter (Brown University), and the two speakers were Herman Cappelen (University of … Continue reading APA 2014-3: Intuitions in philosophy, pro and con