The Singular Universe and the Reality of Time

by Massimo Pigliucci I have devoted a serious amount of time to reading the new book by Roberto Mangabeira Unger and Lee Smolin, The Singular Universe and the Reality of Time: A Proposal In Natural Philosophy [1]. Indeed, this review actually pertains to the first part of the book, written by Unger, the philosopher in … Continue reading The Singular Universe and the Reality of Time

Free to universalize or bound by culture? Multicultural and public philosophy

by Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther The accelerating flow of people (e.g., migration, whether voluntary and benign, or caused by violence and desperation) and information (e.g., the Internet) makes multiculturalism increasingly relevant. We find ourselves exposed to an ever-broader variety of smells, languages, behaviors, and attire in our daily schedules. Some of us seem impervious to this … Continue reading Free to universalize or bound by culture? Multicultural and public philosophy

A Bayesian approach to informal argument fallacies

by Scientia Salon This paper, which appeared in the journal Synthese in 2006, touches on a sacred cow of internet discourse, especially within atheist and skeptical communities: the idea of informal logical fallacies. I have a paper on the same topic currently in press, together with my co-authors Maarten Boudry and Fabio Paglieri, so we will return … Continue reading A Bayesian approach to informal argument fallacies

Metaphysics and (lack of) grounding

by Massimo Pigliucci I must admit to always having had a troubled relationship with metaphysics. My first exposure to it was during my three years of philosophy in high school (in Italy), where the bulk of our exposure to metaphysics came down to the medieval Scholastics (of course, we also studied Aristotle and Descartes, among … Continue reading Metaphysics and (lack of) grounding

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