Philosophy in the real world.

The Nothingness of Jean-Paul Sartre

Bigot, misogynist, and antisocial cynic, Jean-Paul Sartre is an unlikely hero. Yet, Sartre is a hero to some, and not just to bigot, misogynists, and antisocial cynics. He was brave in speaking openly about what few have the courage to even contemplate. For what he contributed to philosophy, he deserves […]

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Hume’s Critique of Science

 David Hume was a Scottish philosopher in the mid 1700s. His philosophy was a culmination of British empiricism. This was a tradition that began with Francis Bacon and continued through Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and then was critiqued rather effectively by George Berkeley. Berkeley had said that it is […]

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The Epistemologies of Hobbes and Locke

 Epistemology is the philosophical study of what knowledge is and how we can come to have knowledge. It is a field of philosophy as old as philosophy itself, and epistemology underpins everything in philosophy, and not just philosophy, but everything that human beings do. Thomas Hobbes and John Locke […]

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Science: It’s Tricky

I received a letter (yes, some people still send paper letters!) that contained a lovely quote from Max Planck. A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die. Perhaps Planck was being metaphorical about “dying,” […]

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How Wrong Beliefs Can Still Be Useful

One of my favorite historical stories is that of miasma theory. It is also known as the theory that bad air causes disease.  The scientific word “miasma” comes from ancient Greek and means “pollution.” More common usage adopted the medieval Italian word “malaria,” meaning “bad air.” As you probably have […]

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