Tina at Diotima's Ladder put up a very cool entry: What’s Your Philosophy? | Diotima's Ladder. BLOGGING EVENT! Tell the world. Don’t be shy. Yes, we’re used to piggy-backing off the famous philosophers, and that’s why I came up with this prompt. Those well-versed in philosophy will appreciate a grassroots approach, even those who spend every … Continue reading What are your philosophical positions?
Last week was scientism week at Scientia Salon, and I reblogged a post by Coel Hellier on a defense of scientism, mostly by arguing that mathematics was actually part of science. As I indicated in my comment on that reblog, while I agree with Coel that both logic and mathematics have foundations that are empirically … Continue reading Is logic and mathematics part of science?
Massimo Pigliucci has an interesting post at Scientia Salon on philosophical zombies. Massimo looks at David Chalmers's argument for philosophical zombie arguments and, I think, does an excellent job at showing the problems with them. But in the discussion, a distinction is made that I find interesting. Apparently, Chalmers admits that zombies are probably not naturally … Continue reading Logic has empirical foundations, sort of.
Stan asked for my thoughts on this article: Science is becoming a cult of hi-tech instruments – Philip Ball – Aeon. The tools of science are so specialised that we accept them as a kind of occult machinery for producing knowledge. We figure that they must know how it all works. Likewise, histories of science focus on ideas rather than … Continue reading Science is about both ideas and data gathering.
Tom Hartsfield at Real Clear Science has a nice short piece that explains why your mind isn't involved (at least not directly) in what happens in quantum mechanics: Does the Mind Affect Quantum Mechanics? | RealClearScience. Every measurement that you can name boils down to an interaction. You poke the quantum system with something (light, a … Continue reading Does the mind affect quantum mechanics?
Sean Carroll has posted a passionate defense of the Many-world interpretation to quantum mechanics. I have often talked about the Many-Worlds or Everett approach to quantum mechanics — here’s an explanatory video, an excerpt from From Eternity to Here, and slides from a talk. But I don’t think I’ve ever explained as persuasively as possible why I think it’s the right approach. So that’s what … Continue reading Sean Carroll makes the case for the Many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics
This excellent TED talk by Naomi Oreskes covers many of the same topics we've discussed before, concerning the limitations of scientific expertise, why scientists trust experts in other fields, and why lay people should trust scientific consensuses. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxyQNEVOElU via Naomi Oreskes: Why we should trust scientists | Talk Video | TED.com. Of course, trusting science is … Continue reading Naomi Oreskes: Why we should trust scientists
Stan Hummel called my attention to, and asked for my thoughts on this article: Big Bang Theory Challenged --"The Universe Should Not Have Lasted for More than a Second". British cosmologists are puzzled: they predict that the universe should not have lasted for more than a second. This startling conclusion is the result of combining the … Continue reading “The Universe Should Not Have Lasted for More than a Second”: The limitations of scientific theories
"Anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory has not understood it." --Niels Bohr "If you think you understand quantum mechanics, you don't understand quantum mechanics." --Richard Feynman Quantum mechanics are utterly bizarre. Quantum particles behave like spread out waves, until their position is measured, when they suddenly behave like a particle with definite position. The … Continue reading A debate on quantum mechanics interpretations
Following Neil deGrasse Tyson's wholesale dismissal of philosophy, there has been a lot of discussion on the value of philosophy. As I've said repeatedly, I think philosophy has a great deal of value, but some of its defenders are tending to overstate what it can do. I've already written a post on what I see as the … Continue reading Why philosophical conclusions are not reliable knowledge