The evolution of the scientific method.

Empiricism, the idea that sensory experience is a source of knowledge, is ancient.  People have obviously learned through sensory experience as long as there have been people.  Studying the night skies gave ancient humans insight into the flow of the seasons, crucial knowledge as the agricultural revolution kicked into gear.  And farming techniques, medicinal practices, food … Continue reading The evolution of the scientific method.

Visualization of ancient cosmological models

Just to keep the discussion of the posts I'm doing on cosmology in context: As part of Topoi 1, Group-D, Sebastian Szczepanski and I developed software for the visualization of ancient cosmological theories. These included the 4th cent. BCE planetary models of Eudoxus, Aristotle, and Calippus, as well as the basic planetary models of Ptolemy’s Almagest. … Continue reading Visualization of ancient cosmological models

The War on Reason – Paul Bloom – The Atlantic

Paul Bloom has an interesting article at the The Atlantic, much of which I agree with. Aristotle’s definition of man as a rational animal has recently taken quite a beating. Part of the attack comes from neuroscience. Pretty, multicolored fMRI maps make clear that our mental lives can be observed in the activity of our neurons, … Continue reading The War on Reason – Paul Bloom – The Atlantic

Daniel Dennett on free will

Daniel Dennett has written a long paper on free will, specifically taking on Sam Harris' book on the subject.  Dennett is a compatiblist and uses arguments similar to the ones I used in describing this position and in the limitations of determinism. Harris is aware of Dennett's paper... I'd think we'll see a … Continue reading Daniel Dennett on free will

Rationally Speaking: What virtues, and why?

At any rate, what I’d like to do here is to explore a bit more of my own preferred framework for ethics, neo-Aristotelian virtue ethics (the “neo” prefix should alert the reader that I’m not about to defend everything Aristotle said, but rather discuss an updated version of the idea, based of course on his … Continue reading Rationally Speaking: What virtues, and why?

The mind is the brain, and why that’s good

Mind body dualism is the theory that mind and matter are separate substances.  It's an ancient theory discussed in various forms by philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle, and theologians such as Thomas Aquinas.  In 1641, Rene Descartes put forth his views, usually referred to as Cartesian dualism which laid important foundations for modern philosophy in … Continue reading The mind is the brain, and why that’s good

Comet ISON and our lack of fear

Lots of people are excited about comet ISON and the spectacular show it will hopefully provide.  However, unlike most people throughout history, most of us do not regard it as an evil omen, an attack from an angry god, or fear it for any other reason.  There's a reason this.  Science! Aristotle thought that comets … Continue reading Comet ISON and our lack of fear