Anderson Brown gives a really interesting list of 10 classic articles in the philosophy of mind which cover (a couple more than) 10 pivotal arguments.   I’ve heard of almost all of them and all the philosophers on the list are extremely famous, major contributors to the field.  I especially love this one article’s point: 1) Daniel Dennett, “Why the law of effect will not go away,” Journal of Social Behavior, 1978. The theory of natural selection is not a… Read more

(Are These) Your Thoughts? Read more

Last night on Real Time With Bill Maher, Jeff Sharlet, the profiler of The Family: Read more

John Wilkins has a good post on the value of our minds’ readinesses to defer to authorities from an evolutionary standpoint: The evolutionary justification for this is, of course the following: if evolution were a designer, trying to ensure that thinking beings learned and knew what they had to to survive, a cheaper rule than putting everything into the head from the start is “learn from those around you, because they are not dead”. The term Grayling uses, which I… Read more

or, more precisely, of its essential purposes: Marriage is supposed to make people stable, provide a healthy environment for children, to encourage virtues related to commitment, love, responsibility, mutual support, kindness, generosity, and self-sacrifice, and to contribute directly to the individual happiness of those in the marriage and everyone directly affected by the marriage.  Indirectly, it is encouraged because it tends to create people who are more grounded, who are less flighty due to their increased responsibilities, and who have… Read more

Francis Collins trots out a familiar old argument against atheism.  The argument is that if there is no God then our morality is an illusion.  Collins’s presentation of this argument features an unusual and suspicious spin.  Collins knows that arguments can be made from evolutionary psychology that broadly moral thinking seems to have evolved in us, rather than to have been either an invention of human societies or revealed by God to humans through religious means.  This undermines what he… Read more

In his recent critique of Francis Collins, the Christian Evangelical and geneticist recently appointed by Obama to head the National Institutes of Health, Sam Harris referenced the slides from one of Collins’s speeches.  I want to take two posts (but possibly more if there are comments or if I otherwise have extra relevant ideas on the topic) to address this one assertion from Collins’s slides which is peculiarly pregnant with problems: If the moral law is just a side effect… Read more

On the needs for scientific education: Read more

From the BBC: The Quakers – also known as The Religious Society of Friends – are likely to reach consensus on the issue of gay marriage without a vote at their annual gathering in York on Friday. They will also formally ask the government to change the law to allow gay people to marry. Quaker registrars, like rabbis and Church of England priests, have the authority to marry heterosexual couples on behalf of the state. But many British Quakers feel… Read more

Pretty bizarre: Thanks to Andrew Sullivan Read more

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