Friday, January 27, 2023

Quantum mechanics and the laws of thought

It isn’t news that much pop philosophy nonsense is peddled in the name of quantum mechanics.  Perhaps the best-known example is the claim that quantum mechanics refutes one or more of the traditional “laws of thought.”  The arguments are fallacious, but stubbornly persistent. 

The laws of thought are three:

1. The law of non-contradiction (LNC), which states that the statements p and not-p cannot both be true.  In symbolic notation: ~ (p • ~p)

2. The law of identity, which says that everything is identical with itself.  In symbolic notation, a = a

3. The law of excluded middle (LEM), which states that either p or not-p is true.  In symbolic notation: p V ~p

Friday, January 20, 2023

Cartwright on theory and experiment in science

Nancy Cartwright’s A Philosopher Looks at Science is a new treatment of some of the longstanding themes of her work.  It is written in her characteristically agreeable style and full of insights.  The book is devoted to criticizing three widespread but erroneous assumptions about science: that science is essentially just theory plus experiment; that in some sense everything science tells us is reducible to physics; and that science reveals that everything that happens, including human action, is determined by the laws of physics.  In this post I’ll discuss what she says about the first of these claims, which is the subject of the first and longest chapter in the book.  I may devote a later post to the other claims.

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Benedict XVI, Cardinal Pell, and criticism of Pope Francis

In the wake of the deaths of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Cardinal George Pell, it has emerged that each of them raised serious criticisms of aspects of Pope Francis’s teaching and governance of the Church.  How might the pope respond to these criticisms?  As I have explained elsewhere, the Church explicitly teaches that even popes can under certain circumstances respectfully be criticized by the faithful.  Moreover, Pope Francis himself has explicitly said on several occasions that he welcomes criticism.  It seems clear that the criticisms raised by Benedict and Pell are precisely the kind that the pope should take the most seriously, given the teaching of the Church and his own views about the value of criticism.

Saturday, January 7, 2023

More about All One in Christ

The latest on my book All One in Christ: A Catholic Critique of Racism and Critical Race Theory: I was interviewed about the book by Carl Olson on the Ignatius Press Podcast.  I was interviewed by Cy Kellett on Catholic Answers Focus.  I was interviewed by Ken Huck on the Meet the Author radio program.  Reviewing the book at Catholic World Report, Gregory Sullivan writes: “Among its many virtues, All One in Christ is a work of genuine argumentation.  Meticulous and temperate in stating the case he is critiquing, Feser dismantles CRT with his characteristic rigor.”  The Spectator included the book on its list of the best books of 2022.  The book is available in German translation, and was reviewed favorably by Sebastian Ostritsch in Die Tagespost.  Other reviews of and interviews about All One in Christ can be found hereherehere, and here.

Monday, January 2, 2023

Sunday, January 1, 2023

The wages of gin

My review of Jane Peyton’s The Philosophy of Gin appears in the Christmas 2022 issue of The Lamp magazine.