The danger of artificial stupidity

by J. Mark Bishop It is not often that you are obliged to proclaim a much-loved international genius wrong, but in the alarming prediction made recently regarding Artificial Intelligence and the future of humankind, I believe Professor Stephen Hawking is. Well to be precise, being a theoretical physicist — in an echo of Schrödinger’s cat, … Continue reading The danger of artificial stupidity


How (not) to bring psychology and biology together

by Scientia Salon [This is a new feature here at Scientia Salon: from time to time we will publish very short entries with the abstracts of selected (by our Editor) papers from the primary literature in philosophy, natural science or social science. Links will be provided to the full published article - which will often be behind … Continue reading How (not) to bring psychology and biology together

Michael Shermer and the moral arc of libertarianism

by Massimo Pigliucci Skeptic magazine publisher Michael Shermer has gotten onto the same “science can determine moral values” bandwagon as other scientistically-minded writers such as Sam Harris. But this commentary isn’t directly about Shermer’s latest book [1], and even less about Harris (about whose ideas I’ve written more than enough [2]). Rather, it concerns a … Continue reading Michael Shermer and the moral arc of libertarianism

Neuroscience and the soul

by Stephen Asma This video presentation covers a brief history of the concept of the soul, as well as a discussion of what, if anything, neurobiology and evolutionary biology can tell us about it. Stephen Asma, Tom Greif, and Rami Gabriel, of the Research Group in Mind, Science and Culture at Columbia College Chicago also talk … Continue reading Neuroscience and the soul

The upside of delusional beliefs

by Lisa Bortolotti Imagine that you are taking a walk in your hometown when you notice a dog on the steps of a Catholic church. While you pass the front of the church, the dog gets up on his hind legs. Then he moves his front paw forward. What do you make of this? Probably … Continue reading The upside of delusional beliefs

Lee Smolin and the status of modern physics

by Joe Boswell [This is the first interview we are publishing here at Scientia Salon, hopefully the beginning of a new interesting trend at the magazine.] I write a science and philosophy blog called Adams’ Opticks [1], and about a year and a half ago I published an in-depth critique of Lee Smolin’s Time Reborn, … Continue reading Lee Smolin and the status of modern physics

Physicists and philosophers

by Massimo Pigliucci and Dan Kaufman As part of the new direction at Scientia Salon [1] we are beginning to (occasionally) publish video conversations. This first one (and several of the forthcoming ones) features myself and Missouri State University's philosopher Daniel Kaufman. Dan and I will likely do more along the same lines, but I will … Continue reading Physicists and philosophers

Why fish (likely) don’t feel pain

by Brian Key What’s it feel like to be a fish? I contend that it doesn’t feel like anything to be a fish.  Interestingly, much of our own lives are led without attending to how we feel. We just get on with it and do things. Most of the time we act like automatons. We … Continue reading Why fish (likely) don’t feel pain

The World’s Greatest Living Philosopher

by Robert Nola The French Philosophe Alain Badiou gave a lecture at Auckland University in December 2014 entitled “À la recherche du réel perdu: In search of the lost real.” The full talk is on YouTube [1]. We are lucky to present here extracts from the diary which he kept while in New Zealand and … Continue reading The World’s Greatest Living Philosopher