My latest publication

Book ReviewMetasciencepp 1-4 First online: 15 June 2016 Drawing the tree of life J. David Archibald: Aristotle’s ladder, Darwin’s tree: The evolution of visual metaphors for biological order. New York: Columbia University Press, 2014, 256 pp, US$65.00/£45.00 HB John S. Wilkins  

Is the brain a computer?

There is an ongoing debate over whether or not our brains are computers lately (against | for). This is an old debate, going back at least to Turing’s famous “Can Machines Think?” paper of 1950. To answer why I think that brains are not computers, contrary to my friend Jeff Shallit (second link above), let Read More…

Secular Calvinism

Australia is one of the most secular of developed nations. At the last census, 22% of people marked “No religion” as their affiliation, and the attendance at religious services weekly dropped to 16%, from a high in 1950 of 44%. So why is it that a sizeable minority (around 30%) of Australians oppose gay marriage, Read More…

Hang on – I’m getting an idea

So, it’s been a while. My brain went into recess while my finances collapsed, I changed jobs and generally got unwell for a while. I aim to start writing again soon. Nothing too deep, just random brainfarts. I’ll also blog for money 😉

Is Physicalism coherent?

In my last post I argued that physicalism cannot be rejected simply because people assert there are nonphysical objects which are beyond specification. Some are, however, specifiable, and one commentator has identified the obvious ones: abstract objects like the rules of chess or numbers. I have dealt with these before in my “Pizza reductionism” post, Read More…

Is physicalism an impoverished metaphysics?

Every so often, we read about some philosopher or other form of public intellectual who makes the claim that a physicalist ontology – a world view in which only things that can be described in terms of physics are said to exist – is impoverished. That is, there are things whereof science cannot know, &c. Read More…

On tribalism

Humans evolved in tribes, our species’ equivalent of the general primate troop structure. This meant that members of the tribe benefited from shared resources, the protection of the group and the inherited knowledge of the tribe. It also meant that we will natively and naively defend our group against others, and demonise the other groups. Read More…