About Rationally Speaking

Rationally Speaking is a blog maintained by Prof. Massimo Pigliucci, a philosopher at the City University of New York. The blog reflects the Enlightenment figure Marquis de Condorcet's idea of what a public intellectual (yes, we know, that's such a bad word) ought to be: someone who devotes himself to "the tracking down of prejudices in the hiding places where priests, the schools, the government, and all long-established institutions had gathered and protected them." You're welcome. Please notice that the contents of this blog can be reprinted under the standard Creative Commons license.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Greg's Picks

by Greg Linster

* John Horgan hopes to change Sam Harris’ mind about free will.

* Laurie Santos does fascinating work in the realm of monkey economics.

* New studies confirm that red meat is bad for you and chocolate is good for you. Not so fast says Gary Taubes.

* Back in April 2000, Wired published a thought provoking piece by Bill Joy called “Why the Future Doesn’t Need Us.”

* In this entertaining TED talk, Joshua Foer talks about Feats of Memory Anyone Can Do.


  1. I think that if everyone would read Sean Carroll's excellent post on free will, the matter would be pretty much settled. We all agree that there's no "fundamental" free will in nature, or any libertarian free will that subverts the laws of physics; but we also all agree that there's a description of reality (cue Hawking's model-dependent realism) in which our identities as rational agents capable of volition is both valid and useful.

    Anyway, Sean Carroll:

    1. To the whole issue, as currently framed by BOTH sides, I borrow from Doug Hofstadter and say MU: http://socraticgadfly.blogspot.com/2012/01/mu-to-free-will.html

  2. Re Horgan: I am not sure that explaining that the output of our brains is influenced by sensory input is as strong an argument against determinism as he thinks it is.

  3. "We all agree that there's no "fundamental" free will in nature"

    I don't.


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