Place, Time, and Universals

Consider the following three statements: 1. The chair and keyboard that I am currently using are both here in this room. 2. The chair and keyboard that I am currently using both exist in January 2019. 3. The chair and keyboard that I am currently using both came in the color black. All three claims, … Continue reading Place, Time, and Universals

Mind and Matter

In Book III of On the Soul, Aristotle argues that the intellect does not have a bodily organ: Therefore, since everything is a possible object of thought, mind in order, as Anaxagoras says, to dominate, that is, to know, must be pure from all admixture; for the co-presence of what is alien to its nature … Continue reading Mind and Matter

Wishful Thinking about Wishful Thinking

Cameron Harwick discusses an apparent relationship between “New Atheism” and group selection: Richard Dawkins’ best-known scientific achievement is popularizing the theory of gene-level selection in his book The Selfish Gene. Gene-level selection stands apart from both traditional individual-level selection and group-level selection as an explanation for human cooperation. Steven Pinker, similarly, wrote a long article … Continue reading Wishful Thinking about Wishful Thinking

Chronological Archives

2015 7/5 – Why Useless? 7/6 – In Forty Days Nineveh Will be Destroyed 7/7 – Beati Mundo Corde 7/8 – Politically Incorrect Algorithms 7/9 – The Null Hypothesis 7/10 – Conspiracy Theories 7/11 – Are Hyperlinks a Bad Idea? 7/12 – Privacy 7/13 – Pope Francis and Proselytization 7/14 – The Order of the … Continue reading Chronological Archives

Was Kavanaugh Guilty?

No, I am not going to answer the question. This post will illustrate and argue for a position that I have argued many times in the past, namely that belief is voluntary. The example is merely particularly good for proving the point. I will also be using a framework something like Bryan Caplan’s in his … Continue reading Was Kavanaugh Guilty?


James Chastek reflects on science, pseudoscience, and religion: The demarcation problem is a name for our failure to identify criteria that can distinguish science from pseudo-science, in spite of there being two such things. In the absence of rational criteria, we get clarity on the difference from various institutional-cultural institutions, like the consensus produced by university gatekeepers … Continue reading Pseudoscience

Words, Meaning, and Formal Copies

There is quick way to respond to the implicit questions at the end of the last post. I noted in an earlier discussion of form that form is not only copied into the mind; it is also copied into language itself. Any time you describe something in words, you are to some degree copying its … Continue reading Words, Meaning, and Formal Copies

C.S. Lewis on Punishment

C.S. Lewis discusses a certain theory of punishment: In England we have lately had a controversy about Capital Punishment. … My subject is not Capital Punishment in particular, but that theory of punishment in general which the controversy showed to be almost universal among my fellow-countrymen. It may be called the Humanitarian theory. Those who … Continue reading C.S. Lewis on Punishment

Kavka’s Toxin

Gregory Kavka discusses a thought experiment: You are feeling extremely lucky. You have just been approached by an eccentric billionaire who has offered you the following deal. He places before you a vial of toxin that, if you drink it, will make you painfully ill for a day, but will not threaten your life or … Continue reading Kavka’s Toxin