•  1516
    We are addressing this letter to the editors of Philosophical Psychology after reading an article they decided to publish in the recent vol. 33, issue 1. The article is by Nathan Cofnas and is entitled “Research on group differences in intelligence: A defense of free inquiry” (2020). The purpose of our letter is not to invite Cofnas’s contribution into a broader dialogue, but to respectfully voice our concerns about the decision to publish the manuscript, which, in our opinion, fails to meet a r…Read more
  •  2
    The Character Gap by Christian B. Miller (review)
    Philosophy Now 138 46-47. 2020.
  •  12
    Stoicism
    Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2016.
    Stoicism Stoicism originated as a Hellenistic philosophy, founded in Athens by Zeno of Citium, c. 300 B.C.E. It was influenced by Socrates and the Cynics, and it engaged in vigorous debates with the Skeptics, the Academics, and the Epicureans. It moved to Rome where it flourished during the period of the Empire, … Continue reading Stoicism →
  •  6937
    The Value of Public Philosophy to Philosophers
    with Massimo Pugliucci and Leonard Finkelman
    Essays in Philosophy 15 (1): 86-102. 2014.
    Philosophy has been a public endeavor since its origins in ancient Greece, India, and China. However, recent years have seen the development of a new type of public philosophy conducted by both academics and non- professionals. The new public philosophy manifests itself in a range of modalities, from the publication of magazines and books for the general public to a variety of initiatives that exploit the power and flexibility of social networks and new media. In this paper we examine the phenom…Read more
  •  8
    Irrationality: A History of the Dark Side of Reason (review)
    The Philosophers' Magazine 88 113-115. 2020.
  •  26
    It is no secret that we inhabit an increasingly irrational world, plagued by rampant pseudoscience, science denialism, post-truths and fake news. Or perhaps, human nature being what it is, we have always lived in such a world and we are now simply more keenly aware of it because of easy and widespread access to social media. Moreover, the stakes are higher, as pseudoscience in the form of the anti-vax movement imperils the lives of many, while climate change denialism literally risks a collapse …Read more
  •  3
    Wisdom: What Is It?
    The Philosophers' Magazine 87 84-89. 2019.
  • Philosophy & Science
    Philosophy Now 55 25-25. 2006.
  • Philosophy & Science
    Philosophy Now 50 51-51. 2005.
  • Philosophy & Science
    Philosophy Now 46 36-39. 2004.
  •  10
    Sewall Wright’s adaptive landscapes: 1932 vs. 1988
    Biology and Philosophy 23 (5): 625-628. 2008.
    Sewall Wright introduced the metaphor of evolution on “adaptive landscapes” in a pair of papers published in 1931 and 1932. The metaphor has been one of the most influential in modern evolutionary biology, although recent theoretical advancements show that it is deeply flawed and may have actually created research questions that are not, in fact, fecund. In this paper I examine in detail what Wright actually said in the 1932 paper, as well as what he thought of the matter at the very end of his …Read more
  •  6
    Philosophy of Nature (review)
    Philosophy Now 126 42-43. 2018.
  •  220
    Recent debates between proponents of the modern evolutionary synthesis (the standard model in evolutionary biology) and those of a possible extended synthesis are a good example of the fascinating tangle among empirical, theoretical, and conceptual or philosophical matters that is the practice of evolutionary biology. In this essay, we briefly discuss two case studies from this debate, highlighting the relevance of philosophical thinking to evolutionary biologists in the hope of spurring further…Read more
  •  528
    Is knowledge of science associated with higher skepticism of pseudoscientific claims?
    with Matthew Johnson
    American Biology Teacher 66 (8): 536-548. 2004.
    We live in a world that is increasingly shaped by and bathed in science, with most scientific progress occurring in the past century, and much of it in the past few decades. Yet, several authors have puz- zled over the observation that modern societies are also characterized by a high degree of belief in a variety of pseudoscientific claims that have been thoroughly debunked or otherwise discarded by scientists (Anonymous, 2001; Ede, 2000).
  •  171
    The mismeasure of machine: Synthetic biology and the trouble with engineering metaphors
    with Maarten Boudry
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (4): 660-668. 2013.
    The scientific study of living organisms is permeated by machine and design metaphors. Genes are thought of as the ‘‘blueprint’’ of an organism, organisms are ‘‘reverse engineered’’ to discover their functionality, and living cells are compared to biochemical factories, complete with assembly lines, transport systems, messenger circuits, etc. Although the notion of design is indispensable to think about adaptations, and engineering analogies have considerable heuristic value (e.g., optimality as…Read more
  •  29
    Would We Be Better Off Without Academic Philosophy?
    The Philosophers' Magazine 80 94-95. 2018.
  •  542
    Science has always strived for objectivity, for a ‘‘view from nowhere’’ that is not marred by ideology or personal preferences. That is a lofty ideal toward which perhaps it makes sense to strive, but it is hardly the reality. This collection of thirteen essays assembled by Denis R. Alexander and Ronald L. Numbers ought to give much pause to scientists and the public at large, though historians, sociologists and philosophers of science will hardly be surprised by the material covered here.
  •  14
    Philosophy of Science Panel Discussion
    with Leonard Finkelman, Jonathan Kaplan, and Evan Tracy
    Questions traditionally answered by philosophers are now being tackled by prominent scientists. As the cultural influence of science and technology continues to grow, what room, if any, is left for philosophy? Three philosophers—Dr. Jonathan Kaplan, Dr. Massimo Pigliucci, and Dr. Leonard Finkelman —explore issues related to the philosophy of science, including how philosophy has contributed to scientific progress, why philosophy continues to be important to science, and why there remain question…Read more
  •  7
    A Stoic Take on the US Presidential Elections
    The Philosophers' Magazine 76 17-18. 2017.
  •  17
    Creationism vs. scientism
    Free Inquiry 23 (3): 32. 2003.
  •  18
  •  19
    On debating
    Free Inquiry 23 (4): 17. 2003.
  •  35
  •  12
    No free lunch for intelligent design
    Free Inquiry 23 (2): 14. 2003.
  •  1346
    Between holism and reductionism: a philosophical primer on emergence
    Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 112 (2): 261-267. 2013.
    Ever since Darwin a great deal of the conceptual history of biology may be read as a struggle between two philosophical positions: reductionism and holism. On the one hand, we have the reductionist claim that evolution has to be understood in terms of changes at the fundamental causal level of the gene. As Richard Dawkins famously put it, organisms are just ‘lumbering robots’ in the service of their genetic masters. On the other hand, there is a long holistic tradition that focuses on the comple…Read more
  •  2577
    What makes weird beliefs thrive? The epidemiology of pseudoscience
    with Maarten Boudry and Stefaan Blancke
    Philosophical Psychology 28 (8): 1177-1198. 2015.
    What makes beliefs thrive? In this paper, we model the dissemination of bona fide science versus pseudoscience, making use of Dan Sperber's epidemiological model of representations. Drawing on cognitive research on the roots of irrational beliefs and the institutional arrangement of science, we explain the dissemination of beliefs in terms of their salience to human cognition and their ability to adapt to specific cultural ecologies. By contrasting the cultural development of science and pseudos…Read more
  •  914
    Evolutionary biology is a field currently animated by much discussion concerning its conceptual foundations. On the one hand, we have supporters of a classical view of evolutionary theory, whose backbone is provided by population genetics and the so-called Modern Synthesis (MS). On the other hand, a number of researchers are calling for an Extended Synthe- sis (ES) that takes seriously both the limitations of the MS (such as its inability to incorporate developmental biology) and recent empirica…Read more
  •  1377
    Why Machine-Information Metaphors are Bad for Science and Science Education
    with Maarten Boudry
    Science & Education 20 (5-6): 471. 2011.
    Genes are often described by biologists using metaphors derived from computa- tional science: they are thought of as carriers of information, as being the equivalent of ‘‘blueprints’’ for the construction of organisms. Likewise, cells are often characterized as ‘‘factories’’ and organisms themselves become analogous to machines. Accordingly, when the human genome project was initially announced, the promise was that we would soon know how a human being is made, just as we know how to make airpla…Read more
  •  148
    Scientism and Pseudoscience: A Philosophical Commentary
    Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 12 (4): 569-575. 2015.
    The term “scientism” is used in a variety of ways with both negative and positive connotations. I suggest that some of these uses are inappropriate, as they aim simply at dismissing without argument an approach that a particular author does not like. However, there are legitimate negative uses of the term, which I explore by way of an analogy with the term “pseudoscience.” I discuss these issues by way of a recent specific example provided by a controversy in the field of bioethics concerning th…Read more