BLOG

Evolution of Beauty: Prum. Review

I’m always hoping I’ll come across stories that enhance my appreciation of living creatures. I started Prum’s book hoping to find there such a story. What I found was more complicated. More...

System of Synthetic Philosophy: Herbert Spencer: review

“Laws of the Knowable,” the second of the two first principles underlying his system, Spencer referred to as:

A statement of the ultimate principles discernible throughout all manifestations of the Absolute – those highest generalizations now being disclosed by Science which are severally true not of one class of phenomena but of all classes of phenomena; and which are thus the keys to all classes of phenomena

To summarize his summary, from his study of science he had arrived at generalizations capable of accounting for everything, even the Absolute. All the rest about Spencer is footnotes. More...

Biological Principles, by Woodger: Review

Biological Principles is a product of a time in the early 20th century distinguished by revolutionary developments taking place in physics. The mechanistic philosophy of classical physics, with its emphasis on reductionism, determinism, and machine thinking, was being challenged by the philosophical implications of relativity and quantum mechanics. Alfred North Whitehead claimed these developments would require a fundamental revision not only of the foundations of physics but of natural science in general. Such challenges triggered new ways of thinking about biology, such as doubting its reducibility to physics while retaining a common overarching view of nature. It was such an organicist philosophy of biology that Woodger conceived of. Writing to the University of London Registrar in 1930, he proposed for philosophers of biology the following daunting role:                                                       

…no one had attempted to do for biology anything analogous to what Galileo had done for physics, and Boyle had done for chemistry. No one, that is to say, had undertaken a systematic critical study of the fundamental properties and special requirements of this science in relation to the most advanced metaphysical, epistemological and logical notions of the day.

More...

Social Environment and Moral Progress: Wallace

Over a century ago Alfred Wallace foresaw opportunities open to us to apply what we know about evolution to today's problems: "I have shown that the well-established laws of evolution as they really apply to mankind are all favorable to the advance of true civilization and of morality. Our existing competitive and antagonistic social system alone neutralizes their beneficent operation. That system must therefore be radically changed into one of brotherly co-operation and co-ordination for the equal good of all." More...

My mission--continue, or stop.

For two and half decades I’ve been publishing books and websites promoting a revolutionary new way of looking at the world. But I’ve made no impact. I have to wonder, is it time for me to give up? My problem involves consciousness and evolution, and what they say about mind. I can’t do without mind. And I want the humanities to insist that they can’t do without it either. I want to persuade the humanities to come up with an origin story that gives mind its due role. That’s my mission. Am I misguided?

Or does this, in fact, matter?

Take this link to the full article and to add your two cents.

Mission of this site, thanks to Thomas Nagel

My review of Dr. Nagel's book "Mind and Cosmos" applauded his opening thesis but declared the whole a failure. After asserting that consciousness could never be accounted for by a purely-physical theory he limited his further analysis to issues posed by traditional philosophic categories. I have just come across a summary he published in the New York Times where he makes up for his lapse by simply omitting the offending analysis. For an authoritative statement of the mission of this site I can now do no better than direct you to https://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/08/18/the-core-of-mind-and-cosmos/