•  50
    Three cheers for science and philosophy!
    Think 10 (29): 37-41. 2011.
    Stephen Hawking recently caused controversy by suggesting that philosophy had become obsolete in the face of the advance of modern science. Hawking's The Grand Design is only the latest in a long series of premature notifications of the obsolescence of philosophy. A wide range of writers, including but not limited to scientists and philosophers, have suggested that philosophy, in part or in whole, has been superseded by the sciences in a way that, all things considered, justifies its abandonment…Read more
  •  165
    Receptivity to Mystery: Cultivation, Loss, and Scientism
    European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 4 (3): 51-68. 2012.
    The cultivation of receptivity to the mystery of reality is a central feature of many religious and philosophical traditions, both Western and Asian. This paper considers two contemporary accounts of receptivity to mystery – those of David E. Cooper and John Cottingham – and considers them in light of the problem of loss of receptivity. I argue that a person may lose their receptivity to mystery by embracing what I call a scientistic stance, and the paper concludes by offering two possible respo…Read more
  •  44
    Objectivity, abstraction, and the individual: The influence of Søren Kierkegaard on Paul Feyerabend
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 42 (1): 125-134. 2011.
    This paper explores the influence of Søren Kierkegaard upon Paul Feyerabend by examining their common criticisms of totalising accounts of human nature. Both complained that philosophical and scientific theories of human nature which were methodologically committed to objectivity and abstraction failed to capture the richness of human experience. Kierkegaard and Feyerabend argued that philosophy and the science were threatening to become obstacles to human development by imposing abstract theori…Read more
  •  64
    Historical Contingency and the Impact of Scientific Imperialism
    International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 27 (3). 2013.
    In a recent article in this journal, Steve Clarke and Adrian Walsh propose a normative basis for John Dupré’s criticisms of scientific imperialism, namely, that scientific imperialism can cause a discipline to fail to progress in ways that it otherwise would have. This proposal is based on two presuppositions: one, that scientific disciplines have developmental teleologies, and two, that these teleologies are optimal. I argue that we should reject both of these presuppositions and so conclude th…Read more
  •  55
    Feyerabend on Science and Education
    Journal of Philosophy of Education 47 (3): 407-422. 2013.
    This article offers a sympathetic interpretation of Paul Feyerabend's remarks on science and education. I present a formative episode in the development of his educational ideas—the ‘Berkeley experience'—and describe how it affected his views on the place of science within modern education. It emerges that Feyerabend arrived at a conception of education closely related to that of Michael Oakeshott and Martin Heidegger—that of education as ‘releasement’. Each of those three figures argued that th…Read more
  •  324
    Exemplars, Ethics, and Illness Narratives
    Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 38 (4): 323-334. 2017.
    Many people report that reading first-person narratives of the experience of illness can be morally instructive or educative. But although they are ubiquitous and typically sincere, the precise nature of such educative experiences is puzzling—for those narratives typically lack the features that modern philosophers regard as constitutive of moral reason. I argue that such puzzlement should disappear, and the morally educative power of illness narratives explained, if one distinguishes two differ…Read more
  •  1
    Against Method (review)
    British Journal for the History of Science 44 (2): 311-312. 2011.
  •  31
    A Phenomenological Challenge to 'Enlightened Secularism'
    Religious Studies 49 (3): 377-398. 2013.
    This article challenges Philip Kitcher’s recent proposals for an ‘enlightened secularism’. I use William James’s theory of the emotions and his related discussion of ‘temperaments’ to argue that religious and naturalistic commitments are grounded in tacit, inarticulate ways that one finds oneself in a world. This indicates that, in many cases, religiosity and naturalism are grounded not in rational and evidential considerations, but in a tacit and implicit sense of reality which is disclosed thr…Read more
  •  34
    In the era of information and communication, issues of misinformation and miscommunication are more pressing than ever. _Epistemic injustice - _one of the most important and ground-breaking subjects to have emerged in philosophy in recent years - refers to those forms of unfair treatment that relate to issues of knowledge, understanding, and participation in communicative practices. The Routledge Handbook of Epistemic Injustice is an outstanding reference source to the key topics, problems and d…Read more
  •  130
    It is very well known that from the late-1960s onwards Feyerabend began to radically challenge some deeply-held ideas about the history and methodology of the sciences. It is equally well known that, from around the same period, he also began to radically challenge wider claims about the value and place of the sciences within modern societies, for instance by calling for the separation of science and the state and by questioning the idea that the sciences served to liberate and ameliorate human …Read more
  •  1
    Oswald Spengler
    In Gregory Claey (ed.), Encyclopaedia of Modern Political Thought, Cq Press. 2013.
    I provide an account of the political and philosophical thought of Oswald Spengler.
  •  144
    In this paper, I explore the relationship of virtue, argumentation, and philosophical conduct by considering the role of the specific virtue of intellectual humility in the practice of philosophical argumentation. I have three aims: first, to sketch an account of this virtue; second, to argue that it can be cultivated by engaging in argumentation with others; and third, to problematize this claim by drawing upon recent data from social psychology. My claim is that philosophical argumentation can…Read more
  •  17
    Emotion, religious practice, and cosmopolitan secularism
    Religious Studies (2): 1-18. 2013.
    Philip Kitcher has recently proposed a form of which he suggests could enable the members of a future secular society to continue to access and benefit from the moral and existential resources of the world's religions. I criticize this proposal by appeal to contemporary work on the role of emotion and practice in religious commitment. Using the work of John Cottingham and Mark Wynn, two objections are offered to the cosmopolitan secularists' claim that the moral resources of a religion could be …Read more
  •  73
    Emotion, religious practice, and cosmopolitan secularism
    Religious Studies 50 (2): 139-156. 2014.
    I challenge the 'cosmopolitan secularist' claim that the moral resources of a religion could be both preserved by and employed within a secular society whose members lack emotional commitment to and practical engagement with the religions in question. The moral resources of religion are only fully available to those authentically participate in religious practices and communities - something secularists, no matter how cosmopolitan, can achieve. I conclude that cosmopolitan secularism cannot fulf…Read more
  •  73
    Can Illness Be Edifying?
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 55 (5): 496-520. 2012.
    Abstract Havi Carel has recently argued that one can be ill and happy. An ill person can ?positively respond? to illness by cultivating ?adaptability? and ?creativity?. I propose that Carel's claim can be augmented by connecting it with virtue ethics. The positive responses which Carel describes are best understood as the cultivation of virtues, and this adds a significant moral aspect to coping with illness. I then defend this claim against two sets of objections and conclude that interpreting …Read more
  •  69
    Epistemic Injustice and Psychiatry
    with Paul Crichton and Havi Carel
    Psychiatry Bulletin 41. 2017.
    Epistemic injustice is a harm done to a person in their capacity as an epistemic subject by undermining her capacity to engage in epistemic practices such as giving knowledge to others or making sense of one’s experiences. It has been argued that those who suffer from medical conditions are more vulnerable to epistemic injustice than the healthy. This paper claims that people with mental disorders are even more vulnerable to epistemic injustice than those with somatic illnesses. Two kinds of con…Read more
  •  53
    The Contingency of Science and the Future of Philosophy
    In Eric Dietrich & Zach Weber (eds.), Essays in Philosophy, . pp. 312--328. 2011.
    Contemporary metaphilosophical debates on the future of philosophy invariably include references to the natural sciences. This is wholly understandable given the cognitive and cultural authority of the sciences and their contributions to philosophical thought and practice. However such appeals to the sciences should be moderated by reflections on contingency of sciences. Using the work of contemporary historians and philosophers of science, I argue that an awareness of the radical contingency of…Read more
  •  215
    Reawakening to Wonder: Wittgenstein, Feyerabend, and Scientism
    In Jonathan Beale & Ian James Kidd (eds.), Wittgenstein and Scientism, Routledge. pp. 101-115. 2018.
    My aim in this chapter is to reconstruct Feyerabend’s anti-scientism by comparing it with the similar critiques of one of his main philosophical influences – Ludwig Wittgenstein. I argue that they share a common conception of scientism that gathers around a concern that it erodes a sense of wonder or mystery required for a full appreciation of human existence – a sense that Feyerabend, like Wittgenstein, characterised in terms of the ‘mystical’.
  •  46
    Oswald Spengler, Technology, and Human Nature
    The European Legacy 17 (1). 2012.
    Oswald Spengler (1880?1936) is a neglected figure in the history of European philosophical thought. This article examines the philosophical anthropology developed in his later work, particularly his Man and Technics: A Contribution to a Philosophy of Life (1931). My purpose is twofold: the first is to argue that Spengler's later thought is a response to criticisms of the ?pessimism? of his earlier work, The Decline of the West (1919). Man and Technics overcomes this charge by providing a novel p…Read more
  •  27
    Humane philosophy and the question of progress
    Ratio 25 (3): 277-290. 2012.
    According to some recent critics, philosophy has not progressed over the course of its history because it has not exhibited any substantial increase in the stock of human wisdom. I reject this pessimistic conclusion by arguing that such criticisms employ a conception of progress drawn from the sciences which is inapplicable to a humanistic discipline such as philosophy. Philosophy should not be understood as the accumulation of epistemic goods in a manner analogous to the natural sciences. I arg…Read more
  •  78
    This paper explores the influence of the fifth-century Christian Neoplatonist Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite (Denys) on the twentieth-century philosopher of science Paul Feyerabend. I argue that the later Feyerabend took from Denys a metaphysical claim—the ‘doctrine of ineffability’—intended to support epistemic pluralism. The paper has five parts. Part one introduces Denys and Feyerabend’s common epistemological concern to deny the possibility of human knowledge of ultimate reality. Part two e…Read more
  •  475
    I offer an account of the virtue of intellectual humility, construed as a pair of dispositions enabling proper management of one's intellectual confidence. I then show its integral role in a range of familiar educational practices and concerns, and finally describe how certain entrenched educational attitudes and conceptions marginalise or militate against the cultivation and exercise of this virtue.
  •  21
    Doing Away With Scientism
    Philosophy Now 102 30-31. 2014.
    Scientism has none of the virtues of science or philosophy, so let's do away with it.
  •  50
    A Pluralist Challenge to 'Integrative Medicine': Feyerabend and Popper on the Cognitive Value of Alternative Medicine
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (3). 2013.
    This paper is a critique of ‘integrative medicine’ as an ideal of medical progress on the grounds that it fails to realise the cognitive value of alternative medicine. After a brief account of the cognitive value of alternative medicine, I outline the form of ‘integrative medicine’ defended by the late Stephen Straus, former director of the US National Centre for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Straus’ account is then considered in the light of Zuzana Parusnikova’s recent criticism of ‘i…Read more
  •  76
    This paper explores the relationship between epistemic integrity, virtue, and authority by offering a virtue epistemological reading of the defences of non-scientific beliefs, practices, and traditions in the writings of Paul Feyerabend. I argue that there was a robust epistemic rationale for those defences and that it can inform contemporary reflection on the epistemic authority of the sciences. Two common explanations of the purpose of those defences are rejected as lacking textual support. A …Read more
  •  47
    Was Sir William Crookes epistemically virtuous?
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 48 67-74. 2014.
    The aim of this paper is to use Sir William Crookes‘ researches into psychical phenomena as a sustained case study of the role of epistemic virtues within scientific enquiry. Despite growing interest in virtues in science, there are few integrated historical and philosophical studies, and even fewer studies focusing on controversial or ‗fringe‘ sciences where, one might suppose, certain epistemic virtues (like open-mindedness and tolerance) may be subjected to sterner tests. Using the virtue of …Read more
  •  16
    Renewing the Senses: A Study of the Philosophy and Theology of the Spiritual Life
    Philosophical Quarterly 64 (255): 356-358. 2014.
    Review of Mark Wynn's book, Renewing the Senses: A Study of the Philosophy and Theology of the Spiritual Life
  •  66
    Phenomenology, Naturalism, and Religious Experience
    In Frazer Watts & Alasdair Coles (eds.), Religion and Neurology, Cambridge University Press. pp. 35-47. 2019.
    Contemporary philosophical debates about the competing merits of neurological and phenomenological approaches to understanding both psychiatric illness and religious experience—and, indeed, the relationship, if any, between psychiatric illness and religious experience. In this chapter, I propose that both psychiatric illness and religious experiences - at least in some of their diverse forms - are best understood phenomenologically in terms of radical changes in a person's 'existential feelings'…Read more