Fischer’s Theorem and the Mind’s Big Bang

May 10, 2018 Agrippa 0

Bobby Fischer described the evolution of his capability to play the game of chess by saying , after years of singular devotion, that “by the age of eleven, I just got good.” There’s something quite profound at work here, with import beyond the game of chess. Let me explain. Ian […]

The Flower and the Butterfly

January 17, 2018 Agrippa 0

Symbiotic relationships pose chicken and egg problems, which abound. One that has always intrigued is the question; what came first, the flower or the butterfly? Recent research more firmly establishes that the answer to that question very much is the butterfly. A paper published in Science Advances provides a fascinating […]

On the Humanities and Naturalistic Inquiry

January 11, 2018 Agrippa 0

I cannot think of many who had the same depth of insight and breadth of interest as David Hume, and his accounting of history and its relation to the sciences remains apposite. Consider his well known, and still controversial, declaration of the study of history in An Inquiry Mankind are […]

Why Only US? On The Very Idea of a Social Construction

October 27, 2017 Agrippa 0

Albert Einstein never won the Nobel Prize for physics on account of relativity, even though it became a well accepted part of our understanding of nature and acquired empirical support well within his lifetime. It was considered too different, too weird for so august a prize although oddly quantum mechanics, […]

The Space Launch System and the Copernican Principle

September 11, 2017 Agrippa 0

There has been a trifecta of very recent news regarding the Space Launch System, which I almost missed given the frenetic activity associated with North Korea’s strategic nuclear programmes. NASA reports that a full scale model of the core of the Space Launch System, key to a future manned Mars […]

Logic and the Mechanisation of Reason

June 18, 2017 Agrippa 0

Michael Shenefelt and Heidi White, If A Then B: How the World Discovered Logic, (New York: Columbia University Press, 2014). This is a truly unique book. It is a history of logic, but it is not a normal history. Not too many existential quantifiers here nor barbers requiring a shave. […]

Algebra and A General Theory of Logic

June 12, 2017 Agrippa 0

Michael Friedman’s Reconsidering Logical Positivism, which I have read before but recently got in the mail, is a very good and important book which argues, persuasively, that the dominant interpretation of logical positivism within the Anglo sphere is wrong. It’s not just the empiricists who have got logical positivism wrong, […]

Thought Experiments and Epistemological Naturalism

May 7, 2017 Agrippa 0

We tend to forget that thought experiments have a rich history, and moreover that they played a critical role in the scientific revolution. In my opinion, a critical reason why their role in the scientific revolution has not been emphasised is because of the dominance of empiricism in Anglo-American philosophy […]

The Rationalist Manifesto of Colin McGinn

March 13, 2017 Agrippa 0

Colin McGinn, Inborn Knowledge: The Mystery Within, (Cambridge MA, MIT Press, 2015) Colin McGinn writes a nifty little book on rationalism, which I found to be a pleasurable and insightful read. McGinn mounts a strong case for rationalism, and being a rationalist I confess not to needing of conversion. The […]

Thomas Nagel on the Naturalism of Daniel Dennett

March 5, 2017 Agrippa 0

Thomas Nagel, without question one of my favourite philosophers and writers, has a nifty review of Daniel Dennet’s latest work in The New York Review of Books. Nagel has written quite a few articles lately in the London and New York Reviews, which is splendid for too much Nagel is […]