Neil Tyson And The Value Of Philosophy

Reprinted from Scientia Salon. You can read the original here.It seems like my friend Neil deGrasse...

What Does It Mean For Something To Be Metaphysically Necessary?

I mentioned before, this semester I’m teaching a graduate level seminar on David Hume, and having...

David Hume And The Missing Shade Of Blue

This semester I’m teaching a graduate level course on “Hume Then and Now,” which aims at...

Is Theologian Alving Plantinga For Real? Alas, It Appears So

I keep hearing that Notre Dame philosopher and theologian Alvin Plantinga is a really smart guy...

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Massimo PigliucciRSS Feed of this column.

Massimo Pigliucci is Professor of Philosophy at the City University of New York.

His research focuses on the structure of evolutionary theory, the relationship between science and philosophy

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Recently I attended a talk by Ronnie de Sousa, a philosopher at The University of Toronto, by the somewhat unusual, almost oxymoronic, title of “Love and Reason” (as opposed to, say, Love or Reason). It turned out to be a fascinating tour de force ranging from the Countess of Champagne and her 1176 verdict on the nature of love, to cognitive scientist’s Helen Fisher studies of the chemical underpinning of different aspects of love. Here I will limit myself to a few aspects of de Sousa’s talk (who graciously provided me with his original slides), but Ronnie is finishing a paper on the subject, so stay tuned for much more if what follows happen to sufficiently stimulate your curiosity.
You’ve probably heard of the uproar that has recently been caused by a bill introduced by Texas Representative Lamar Smith, the chair of the US House of Representatives’ Science Committee.
Readers of this blog know very well by now that, despite (or is it because of?) being both a scientist and a philosopher, I have often defended the idea that science and philosophy are distinct disciplines, and I am critical in particular of those who I think display a scientistic (i.e., intellectually imperialistic) attitude in wanting to expand the scope of science to pretty much everything that is worth knowing, usually at the expense of humanistic disciplines, philosophy in particular.
As readers of this blog know, I am not sympathetic to extreme reductionism, and reject both it and determinism in favor of a robust concept of emergence.
However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you if you do not act on upon them? (Buddha)

It is folly for a man to pray to the gods for that which he has the power to obtain by himself. (Epicurus)

Adapt yourself to the things among which your lot has been cast and love sincerely the fellow creatures with whom destiny has ordained that you shall live. (Marcus Aurelius)
There is currently a Twitter survey going on to establish a list of favorite philosophers of all time, organized by Oxford University Press.

I don’t know the results yet, but my entries would have to be David Hume (1st prize), Aristotle (2nd) and Bertrand Russell (3rd).