How do you identify intent?

In February, I read the case of the ‘Inexplicable Omelette’, in which the author played off a difficult question: how can you tell whether something has come into its current form ― been constructed or altered ― with intent? His argument was that some things are too complex to consider unintended, and even an omelette… Continue reading How do you identify intent?

On the importance of the philosophy of science

Many people lie in a casual ‘I’ll recognise it when I see it’ relationship with science. That ambiguity gives room for any interlocutor to add sudden vagaries to their criteria, hurriedly adding and removing things from their definition of science to suit their needs. Science can suddenly need to be given a ‘direct observation’ criteria… Continue reading On the importance of the philosophy of science

Does evidence undermine religion?

Again, watching the BBC’s The Big Questions, I stumbled across a question I would like to discuss. The format of the show ― and, no doubt, the decisions the producers have to make for the sake of the audience and time ― limits the ability of the surely great minds on the panel to have… Continue reading Does evidence undermine religion?

A Model Dependent Realist defence of Freewill

Model Dependent Realism, as articulated by Hawking and Mlodinow (2010) and Carroll (2016), is the idea that a specific and explanatory model represents a ‘reality’ and is ‘true’ if it can both account for extant data and is predictive. I have used this philosophy before to contest that determinism is the explanatory model that best… Continue reading A Model Dependent Realist defence of Freewill

Another take on Freewill

A good philosophy has considerable reach. By this, I mean that a certain philosophy may have been expressed in some esoteric and academic area, but it can be applied in other specific disciplines as well as in broader contexts. Notice, this is more than just saying ‘a good philosophy is always true’. Instead, this is… Continue reading Another take on Freewill

Against the Moral Landscape: AI and universal truth

Sam Harris’ The Moral Landscape (2011) is a thesis that claims morality is objective and knowable by scientific means. It is predicated on the initial premise that wellbeing is worthy of safeguarding, and thus intended actions can be objectively evaluated against that value. I have long agreed with this claim, with one subtle change: I… Continue reading Against the Moral Landscape: AI and universal truth

Truth: is it coherent? (A follow up on Sam Harris and Jordan B Peterson)

Sam Harris and Jordan Peterson, a very long time ago now, had their first podcast together. Whatever their schedule, their conversation turned to a massive disagreement about the concept of truth. It wasn’t about whether ‘truth’ is ever attainable, they disagreed about what it literally is. And, despite the commentary, it is not a case… Continue reading Truth: is it coherent? (A follow up on Sam Harris and Jordan B Peterson)