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

Evolution of consciousness--I tell a story

About mind we're hopelessly ignorant. Does matter have a mind? Where is mind? Did mind have to evolve? We haven’t a clue. To deal with problems like this I make up a story that accounts for whatever-it-is, and I extract clues from it. Here in brief is my story about mind: mind originated as living creatures evolved, in four stages. Stage one is evolution from scratch up to the creation of the genetic code, stage two is the evolution of single-celled creatures, stage three is the evolution of multi-celled creatures, stage four is the evolution of us humans. More...

Response to "Big Questions in Free Will" project

We’ve set up two rooms, one with zombies in it, and a second one with scientists. We’ve asked both groups the same question—do the members of your group have free will? The test is, from the groups’ conversations, can we tell which is the one consisting of zombies.

Actually, there aren’t any zombies, there’s just the scientists, part of a $4.4 Templeton Foundation's four-year project titled “Big Questions in Free Will.” We can eavesdrop on their conversation in “FREE: Why Science hasn’t Disproved Free Will,” a report on the project for the general reader by the project director, Alfred R. Mele, William H. and Lucyle T. Werkmeister Professor of Philosophy at Florida State University. More...

Re-thinking What It Means We Evolved: review

I'm taking advantage of being the publisher of this website to "review" the book I've written and that I feature to the right on every page, in the Classic Book Review section. Actually, in place of a review I've listed just the ideas in the book, first in reverse order so you can judge the merits of my conclusions first, then in  forward logical order so you can judge my argument's plausibility. Warning: this argument is radically unlike the modern scientific theory of evolution. More...

Humanities' project: a new natural philosophy

Let’s give “natural philosophy” a new meaning. Let’s have it refer to a basic account of what the world consists of and how it’s put together. This would be the basic understanding we’d want our children to have before we go into details. Each particular science or detailed body of wisdom would expand on some part of this natural philosophy but stay consistent with it and keep referring back to it, so all our understanding would fit together smoothly.

Of course we already have something like this that we offer strangers to our culture, such as our children or Martians or people from other cultures. But it’s nothing more than a jumble of ideas left over from history or the separate developments of modern sciences. Better would be to start over, from scratch, to come up with and maintain a new natural philosophy.

I see this as a project for the humanities. I will attempt such a project. More...

Introduction to "Evolution & the humanities"

What's the premise of this site? That it's time for the humanities to take over defining what it means we evolved. With science's abandonment of "the modern synthesis" attention can shift to the experience of being evolved, how knowing we evolved may affect the development of conscious thinking over a lifetime, the humanities' traditional subject matter. This golden opportunity is spelled out in a new "Introduction" to our "Humanities and Evolution" section. A summary of the resources gathered in this site is linked to from the menuitem "About" at the top of each page.