Where science meets art. The only necessary and sufficient book store in Melbourne.
Hope our friends enjoy the new look and feel – now optimised for mobile devices for access on the go.
Coordinator: Peter Ellerton
Web guy: Jason Etheridge
- A nice Philosophy of Mind summary
- The power of categorical logic
- What exactly is the scientific method and why do so many people get it wrong?
- Paralympic athletes faster than olympic athletes — what does this tell us about difference?
- Logic: if + then = why? How can we understand the power of logic?
- How do we ensure we are exposed to new ideas? A parody with bite.
- A Life of Meaning (Reason Not Required) – What is the nature of our relationship with reason?
- Can you name this cognitive bias?
- By what measures can we value human life?
- Teaching philosophy improves standardised scores
- Are we in control of our own decisions?
- Neuroscience and education: myths and messages
- Free will is not as free as we think – and that’s ok.
- Where’s the Proof in Pseudoscience?
- Science in the lead?
- Hume, David - A Treatise on Human Nature
- Direct and Indirect Arguments
- I'll be a Monkey's Uncle - or Nephew, in this case. (A novel appeal to association)
- Plato - The Republic
- The Tools of Critical Thinking
- Philosophy of Science
- What Price for a Human Life?
- FAPSA - Federation of Australian Philosophy in Schools Associations
- God and Free Will
- Monty Python - 'We found a witch!' scene from The Holy Grail
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- The Illuminations of Hannah Arendt
- The Pain and Promise of Black Women in Philosophy
- The Philosopher as Bad Dad
- What Religion Gives Us (That Science Can’t)
- Our Broken Trust in Public Space
- What’s So Good About Original Sin?
- This Is Not Just About Junot Díaz
- The Ancient Myth of ‘Good Fences’
- How to Be a Prophet of Doom
- ‘Transparency’ Is the Mother of Fake News
- Type R and Organisational Resilience
- The New Localism: Think Like a System, Act Like an Entrepreneur
- Blockchain platforms can enable good work
- Museum Conservation and 21st Century Education
- Anchors Aweigh: Universities and local industrial strategies
- The Non Sense of Work Life Balance
- The rights of people with a disability are being ignored – what can we do?
- Bringing classical music to a new audience
- The power of creative thinking
- Regulation of AI: Not if but when and how
- Biases Make People Vulnerable to Misinformation Spread by Social Media
- How Facebook Programmed Our Relatives
- Separating Families May Cause Lifelong Health Damage
- Why We Procrastinate and 5 Ways to Stop
- Fat-Carb Combo Is a Potent One–Two Punch
- How Identity, Not Issues, Explains the Partisan Divide
- Could Multiple Personality Disorder Explain Life, the Universe and Everything?
- Numerous Health Problems Burden Young Adults with Autism
- Bloomsday Tribute to James Joyce, Greatest Mind-Scientist Ever
- Living with Neighborhood Violence May Shape Teens' Brains
- Why you should love gross science | Anna Rothschild
- How Netflix changed entertainment -- and where it's headed | Reed Hastings
- How we can bring mental health support to refugees | Essam Daod
- Technology that knows what you're feeling | Poppy Crum
- The surprising science of alpha males | Frans de Waal
- Can home cooking change the world? | Gastón Acurio
- Four billion years of evolution in six minutes | Prosanta Chakrabarty
- How I'm bringing queer pride to my rural village | Katlego Kolanyane-Kesupile
- The incredible potential of flexible, soft robots | Giada Gerboni
- How to get empowered, not overpowered, by AI | Max Tegmark
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Robert Nozick’s dangerous question.
From John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty, Aristotle’s ‘mean’ philosophy to the principle of charity, here are the greatest principles of philosophy By JULIAN BAGGINI, Editor of The Philosopher’s Magazine
1. THE HARM PRINCIPLE
by JOHN STUART MILL, 1806-1873 Whenever legislation is proposed that limits our freedoms, someone will reach for Mill’s On Liberty and point to the passage that says, ‘The sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilised community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not sufficient warrant.’ What could be clearer? Except it isn’t clear: it depends on what you mean by harm. Does hate speech harm minorities? Does sexist language harm women, by making them less credible in the eyes of society? Philosophical principles are like credit agreements: the headlines are convincing, but the small print catches you out.
Here’s a pdf… Ten of the greatest: Philosophical principles
Are all ideas equal? Not in the classroom
By Peter Ellerton, University of Queensland
There is a widespread belief amongst teachers that it is part of their duty of care, even a defining aspect of their professionalism, that all views expressed in the classroom are to be treated equally.
I take it as one of my first duties to challenge this. The right to have a view is indeed equally shared, but this is does not imply the same for the idea itself. If all ideas are equal, then all ideas are worthless.
Data on the performance of Philosophy graduates. Click to enlarge.
More info here. Note that the philosophy students perform outstandingly well in verbal and writing skills and are the best of the non-quatitative areas in quantitative reasoning.
A lovely job from http://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/ please visit the site for interactive presentation.
The truth, the whole truth and … wait, how many truths are there?
Calling something a “scientific truth” is a double-edged sword. On the one hand it carries a kind of epistemic (how we know) credibility, a quality assurance that a truth has been arrived at in an understandable and verifiable way.
On the other, it seems to suggest science provides one of many possible categories of truth, all of which must be equal or, at least, non-comparable. Simply put, if there’s a “scientific truth” there must be other truths out there. Right?
Let me answer this by reference to the fingernail-on-the-chalkboard phrase I’ve heard a little too often:
“But whose truth?” Continue reading
Sam Harris on TED
Listen and learn: the language of science and scepticismPeter Ellerton
Making sure what’s intended is what’s heard can be more difficult than it seems.
Melvin Gaal (mindsharing.eu)
Melvin Gaal (mindsharing.eu)
As scientists, one of our responsibilities should be to promote clarity. A lot of problems are caused by an incorrect or incomplete understanding of terms we regularly, and even lovingly, use.
When I use the word “evidence”, what I think I mean is a function of many things, not least my education in science and philosophy.
It’s also the product of many discussions with people about science, superstition, psychology, pseudoscience and subjectivity.
These discussions have added nuance to my understanding of the nature of evidence. They’ve also alerted me to the fact this nature changes in certain circumstances and through certain worldviews. In other words, what I intend to say is sometimes heard as something else entirely.
This type of miscommunication can be bad enough when dealing with someone who isn’t using the terms in a scientific way, but it’s particularly frustrating when it happens when talking to teachers and communicators of science.
I’d like to take a shot, then, at defining some key terms in the name of clarity. Continue reading
No one likes to change their mind, not even on climate
People put up all kinds of psychological barriers to changing their minds.
Last night’s ABC documentary I Can Change Your Mind About Climate was about two people — conservative former politician Nick Minchin and youth activist Anna Rose — exposing themselves to information that ran counter to their deeply held beliefs. We know from both research and experience that people cling to information that is in line with their beliefs and worldviews, even when they suspect or even know the information to be false. In other words, people will defend their beliefs. To do so they engage in “motivated reasoning”. Continue reading
Another legend from Dilbert.
Are you looking to see why teaching philosophy is important? Another great article from NYTimes The Stone
Almost every article that appears in The Stone provokes some comments from readers challenging the very idea that philosophy has anything relevant to say to non-philosophers. There are, in particular, complaints that philosophy is an irrelevant “ivory-tower” exercise, useless to any except those interested in logic-chopping for its own sake.
The Fallacy of ‘Deepest Offence’
By Peter Ellerton
image via here
Nothing is so central to a liberal society as the right to discuss ideas. Not being able to do this at all is totalitarianism – the banning of discussing, and even thinking about, unsanctioned ideas. So where on the continuum of control can we comfortably sit? Some would say only on the absolute edge of the former. Others may find that too extreme a view. Certainly the further we move away from unfettered public speech the murkier become the waters, with calls of and for censorship beginning after the first paddle stroke.
But this essay is not about that. This essay is about where this boundary lies for and within individuals. It is about exploring that most cherished of hurts, the pain of being offended. Continue reading
Stradivarius Fails Sound Test Versus Newbie Violins
Can you tell the difference between modern violins and antiques crafted by Italian masters? Don’t feel too bad – expert players can’t do it either. In a double-blind test, 21 experienced violinists were unable to tell the difference between rare, old instruments and new ones. The study is in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. [Claudia Fritz et al, Player preferences among new and old violins] Continue reading
Calls to censor details of potential killer flu via ABC News
The suppression of breakthrough research into deadly bird flu strains has been labelled scientific censorship by some, but others say it is a necessary step to prevent a possible biological attack.
From the concept by Chalmers. Could humans exist that are not conscious? The extract below is from his site.
It is philosophical zombies that I’m most interested in here, since I’m a philosopher and they raise very interesting issues. The sort I’m most concerned with are zombies that are physically and behaviorally identical to a conscious human, but lack any conscious experience. As in this case-study of my own zombie twin, for example.
Most people doubt that zombies could exist in the actual world. (In philosophical terms, they are naturally impossible.) But many people think that they are at least logically possible – i.e. that the idea of zombie is internally consistent, and that there is at least a “possible world” where zombies exist. This logical possibility is sometimes used to draw strong conclusions about consciousness (e.g. in my book The Conscious Mind, and elsewhere). Continue reading