Freedom regained

by Julian Baggini [This is an edited extract from Freedom Regained: The Possibility of Free Will, University of Chicago Press. Not to be reproduced without permission of the publisher.] We’ve heard a lot in recent years about how scientists — neuroscientists in particular — have “discovered” that actions in the body and thoughts in the … Continue reading Freedom regained

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Reflections on the skeptic and atheist movements

by Massimo Pigliucci Groucho Marx, one of my favorite comedians of all time, famously wrote a telegram to a Hollywood club he had joined, that said: “Please accept my resignation. I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member.” [1] I have recently considered sending such a letter to … Continue reading Reflections on the skeptic and atheist movements

Measuring skulls, hereditarianism, and what data is for

by Joshua Banta, Jonathan Kaplan and Massimo Pigliucci Why would the popular media be interested in a story about a historical argument surrounding measurement techniques and statistical summaries of human skull volumes? A technical scientific paper published by Lewis et al. in the journal PLoS Biology a few years ago [1] was just that, and … Continue reading Measuring skulls, hereditarianism, and what data is for

Nurture effect on caring relationships

by Anthony Biglan [This essay is an excerpt from the author’s The Nurture Effect: How the Science of Human Behavior Can Improve Our Lives & Our World, New Harbinger Publications, 2015] I am convinced that caring relationships are the fundamental building blocks for creating the nurturing environments that are vital to everyone’s well-being, thus achieving … Continue reading Nurture effect on caring relationships

Removing the Rubbish: Consensus, Causation, and Denial

By Lawrence Torcello In the 17th century the philosopher John Locke, writing in admiration of the great scientific thinkers of his time, remarked that he found it “ambition enough to be employed as an under-laborer in clearing ground a little, and removing some of the rubbish, that lies in the way to knowledge.” Locke was … Continue reading Removing the Rubbish: Consensus, Causation, and Denial

For a Narrow Expansion of Liberty — A Summary of Recent Cases Filed on Behalf of Four Chimpanzees

by Kirill Ershov [updated - see postscript below] This essay summarizes the recent series of New York State cases that were filed by the Non Human Rights Project (NhRP) petitioning to have four chimpanzees released from their owners. NhRP’s primary intent was to have the chimpanzees recognized as human-like beings with a common law right … Continue reading For a Narrow Expansion of Liberty — A Summary of Recent Cases Filed on Behalf of Four Chimpanzees

The Tao of Walking

by Gregory Bassham “Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road.” – Walt Whitman Walkers are a motley tribe. People walk for all sorts of reasons. Sociable walkers walk for the pleasures of good talk. Fitness walkers walk to stay in shape. Nature walkers walk to enjoy nature. Dog walkers walk to enjoy the … Continue reading The Tao of Walking

The anatomy of discovery: a case study

by David Field [The invitation for this piece was prompted by the appearance of an article entitled “Huge electric field found in ice-cold laughing gas” in Science Alert] Is laughing gas laughing at us? How do scientists discover new phenomena, and, just as important, how do they persuade other scientists that they have discovered something … Continue reading The anatomy of discovery: a case study

Practicing critical public discourse

by Daniel Tippens [Note from the Editor-in-Chief: beginning with this post we will begin to implement an updated policy for commenting. The relevant bit is as follows: “The Editors at Scientia Salon do their best to keep the dialogue both civil and productive. This means that we do not hesitate to reject an unsuitable comment, either because it is … Continue reading Practicing critical public discourse

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