Reductionism does not have quite the same hold in philosophy of science that it once did, having been subjected to powerful attack not only from Cartwright, but from (I discuss the anti-reductionist literature in detail in .) Still, the idea that whatever is real is somehow ultimately nothing more than what can in principle be described in the language of a completed physics exerts a powerful hold on many. Cartwright cites as adherents of this view, and is another prominent advocate. As Cartwright notes, in contemporary writing about science, the lure of reductionism is especially evident in discussions of the purported implications of neuroscience for topics like free will., , and many others.
Thursday, October 12, 2023
Tuesday, October 10, 2023
A little learning is a dangerous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring.
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again.
Think of the person who has read one book on a subject and suddenly thinks he knows everything. Or the beginning student of philosophy whose superficial encounter with skeptical arguments leads him to deny that we can know anything. A deeper inquiry, if only it were pursued, would in each case yield a more balanced judgement.
Monday, October 2, 2023
That Mike will be remembered for his work in science fiction goes without saying. But it is worth emphasizing too that he was an irreplaceable presence in the blogosphere, who showed the potential of the medium for work of substance and lasting value. I doubt he ever posted anything that didn’t reward his readers’ attention, with writing that wore lightly Mike’s learning not only in the sciences but also in philosophy, theology, and history. He was for many years a regular and welcome contributor to the comments section of this blog, raising the tone simply by virtue of his presence. One of the things I most admired about him was the calm and patient manner with which he would respond to even the most obnoxious and ignorant interlocutors. He never had to say that he knew what he was talking about, while his opponent didn’t. He simply showed it by typing up a few sentences.