Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Causation in Science and the Methods of Scientific Discovery

2019.06.10 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Rani Lill Anjum and Stephen Mumford, Causation in Science and the Methods of Scientific Discovery, Oxford University Press, 2018, 278pp., $65.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780198733669. Reviewed by Clark Glymour, Carnegie Mellon University In both the big and the small, science has changed in the last decades. We have huge sky surveys capable of following regions of stars over time. We can measure the joint time course of changes in physiology of tens of thousands of small regions of the brain. We have daily data on the surface and atmosphere of the entire Earth at 1 km2 resolution. We can measure the genetic and sub-genetic variations in entire populations and try to discover their phenotypic effects. We can measure protein concentrations in a single cell, and experiment on them in a limited way. We can trace axons from terminus to cell body. And on, and on. "Dark matter"... Read [More]

Intuitionism in the Philosophy of Mathematics

[Revised entry by Rosalie Iemhoff on June 11, 2019. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Intuitionism is a philosophy of mathematics that was introduced by the Dutch mathematician L.E.J. Brouwer (1881 - 1966). Intuitionism is based on the idea that mathematics is a creation of the mind. The truth of a mathematical statement can only be conceived via a mental construction that proves it to be true, and the communication between mathematicians only serves as a means to create the same mental process in different [More]

Sorolla at the National Gallery

Last week, the slates were stripped off our roof (preparing for a loft extension). This week has of course started with the wettest of Cambridge days. Option (1): sit at home, fretting and listening out for more leaks through the … Continue reading → The post Sorolla at the National Gallery appeared first on Logic [More]

Why Humans Are The Most Irrational Animals

It is easy to make fun of the Aristotelian idea that humans are rational animals. In fact, a bit too easy. Just look at the politicians we elect. Not so rational. Or look at all the well-demonstrated biases of decision-making, from confirmation bias to availability bias. Thinking of humans as deeply irrational has an illustrious history, from Francis Bacon through Nietzsche to Oscar Wilde, who, as so often, came up with the bon mot that sums it all up: "Man is a rational animal who always loses his temper when he is called upon to act in accordance with the dictates of reason."My aim is to argue that humans are, in fact, not more rational, but less rational than other animals. Aristotle talked about rationality as the distinguishing feature of humans compared to other animals. I think we can use irrationality as a distinguishing feature. It’s not just that humans are irrational animals; humans are more irrational than any other animals.This is not a completely new line either, [More]

Sensory Substitution and Augmentation

2019.06.09 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Fiona Macpherson (ed.), Sensory Substitution and Augmentation, Oxford University Press, 2018, 306pp., $85.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780197266441. Reviewed by Mirko Farina, King's College, London The term 'sensory substitution' refers to the use of a sensory modality to supply environmental information normally gathered by another sense (Auvray and Myin 2009; Auvray and Farina, 2017). Sensory substitution devices (SSDs) thus provide through one sensory modality (the substituting modality) access to features of the world that are generally experienced through another sensory modality (the substituted modality). Since the early '60s, scientists have striven to create sensory substitution and augmentation devices capable of compensating for, replacing, enhancing or creating a sense by exploiting another sense. This research has produced some fascinating experimental results, which have furthered our understanding of the human brain and of the neural mechanisms behind visual restoration. [More]