Self-Expression, Knowledge and Value

by Mark English Attempts to express a comprehensive personal view of the world are doomed to failure. Each of us has a view of the world; some such views are more developed and plausible than others. But language (even supplemented with other modes of expression) is simply not equipped to articulate the complex and shifting set of values and beliefs […]

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Science, Fantasy and Religion

by Mark English Maybe I have read just one too many articles promoting the so-called simulation hypothesis. Maybe I have seen just one too many populist videos purportedly dealing with scientific topics but which, in order to maximize audience numbers, manage to leave all the hard and interesting stuff out and focus instead on presentational style (including colorful and virtually […]

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Knowledge and Illusion

by Mark English Writer’s block it is not. The problem – if it is a problem – is more along the lines that the sorts of topics and themes I know best are not (for various reasons) all that interesting to me, or only in a negative way. And most of the topics that I am interested in exploring I […]

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Science and Natural Language

by Mark English I once watched a nature documentary about a group of lions in the wild. At one stage a lioness and her cubs found themselves separated from the group. After a period of time during which she almost starved and her cubs were killed, she finally managed to rejoin the group. The other lions certainly recognized her and […]

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Science and Disenchantment

by Mark English At the age of seven, I went with my mother, brother and baby sister on a long plane journey. We flew for many hours, landing once for refueling (late at night). It was a rough journey, and I recall a certain amount of nausea and vomiting, but the positives certainly outweighed the negatives as far as I […]

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The God Non-Hypothesis

by David Ottlinger “The problem of evil, in the sense in which I am using this phrase, is essentially a logical problem: it sets the theist the task of clarifying and if possible reconciling the several beliefs which he holds. It is not a scientific problem that might be solved by further discoveries…” [1]                                                                                          -JL Mackie, The Miracle of […]

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This Week’s Special: C.P. Snow’s “The Two Cultures” (1959)

By Michael Boyle http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/students/envs_5110/snow_1959.pdf In 1956, Charles Percy Snow, physicist, novelist, and civil servant, published an article in the New Statesman, which, three years later, he would turn into a Rede Lecture and then publish as a book, The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution. The lecture and the book had a significant impact on the intellectual life of Britain […]

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This Week’s Special: Jerry Fodor’s “Special Sciences (Or: the Disunity of Science as a Working Hypothesis)”

By Daniel A. Kaufman http://fitelson.org/woodward/fodor.pdf On tap this week is one of the most influential essays in the philosophy of science, since the Second World War:  Jerry Fodor’s “Special Sciences,” which appeared in the journal Synthese, in 1974. The paper did two very important things.  First, it struck a crippling blow against a certain kind of positivist view of the […]

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