Smolin on mathematics

by Massimo Pigliucci I have continued on with my critical reading of Roberto Unger and Lee Smolin’s thought provoking The Singular Universe and the Reality of Time: A Proposal in Natural Philosophy [1], about which I have already published one essay here at Scientia Salon [2], focused on the general premise of the book and on … Continue reading Smolin on mathematics

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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

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

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

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