The Brain and the Meaning of Life

The Brain and the Meaning of Life, by Paul Thagard (one of my favorite philosophers of science), is worth a look.

It’s intended for a more popular audience, so it doesn’t have citations in the text or detailed arguments for his positions that could convince critics. It’s a book that is, however, nicely expressive of a naturalist position without being a fully-fleshed out defense. I especially like how he uses ideas concerning inference to the best explanation to reject both religious claims to revelation and traditional philosophical claims about insight-from-the-armchair into deep conceptual necessities.

Like science, evidence-based philosophy is never a finished project, and I hope to see metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics evolve further in step with scientific developments. Unlike the quick fixes offered by faith and a priori reasoning, naturalism requires patience and tolerance as scientific theories and evidence fallibly develop. Faith-based thinking should  increasingly be understood as a cultural tradition stemming from motivated inferences that can be defused by recognition of how love, work, and play can suffice to meet human needs. (p. 229)

Consciousness and souls
Unapologetic Review - Part 3: The Main Argument
Unapologetic Review - Part 4: More Effort Required
Unapologetic Review - Part 5: The Meaning of "Faith"
About Taner Edis

Professor of physics at Truman State University