Philosophy in the real world.


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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The Legacy of Plato and Aristotle

Philosophy deals with the biggest and most complex issues facing humanity and philosophical insights underpin all human endeavors. Because the questions considered by philosophy are so large and complicated, philosophy itself is a long conversation about those issues among many people across many years. To compare past perspectives with our […]

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The Philosophy of Hannah Arendt

Hannah Arendt is very well known in continental philosophical circles. She remains unfairly unknown outside of continental philosophy circles. Arendt is best known for her book Eichmann in Jerusalem, A Report on the Banality of Evil. That book was her report of the trial of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann, […]

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