A Theory of Everything Can there be a theory of everything? A typical theory is a theory of some things and not others, even when it is very general. The theory of evolution is a theory of living things; it is not a theory of non-living things. Some things evolve and some do […]
Author Archive for: colinmcginn
About Colin McGinn
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Entries by Colin McGinn
Here’s a question I’d like to see discussed: Can there be a theory of everything? I don’t just mean it in the physicist’s sense, where it concerns unifying quantum theory and relativity. I mean a single theory of the physical world, the biological world, the psychological world, and whatever other worlds you might think exist […]
I went to see the film The Martian yesterday. I think it is the best film I’ve seen as a film about science. It actually is about science: the hero is a botanist who saves himself not with guns but with botanical knowledge, and he escapes Mars by means of a piece of mathematical reasoning […]
I see my book Inborn Knowledge: The Mystery Within is now advertised on Amazon, as well as the MIT Press website, publication date December 18. I first wrote about the topic as a postgraduate in psychology in 1972 as my MA thesis, but have published nothing on it up till now. It seems to have taken […]
Dawkins likes to think of the genes as getting together to build a survival machine, i.e. the animal body, which acts as their vehicle and protection. A good metaphor for this would be the way humans get together to build a fortified city to enable them to ward off attacks and generally survive against the […]
I have an idea for a better way to present papers, which I intend to follow myself. Instead of the usual one hour paper followed by a one hour discussion, present two short papers each of which is followed by a shorter discussion period. Thus in the first hour present paper 1 for half an […]
I’ve been reading a lot of Dawkins lately. Here’s an idea for a new paper: “Arms Races Between Extended Selfish Cooperative Memes”. Memes get together in the battle of ideas using extensions of the mind to do so. You just have to put the theoretical pieces together. I invite someone else to write the paper.
I watched an excellent documentary on The Jam the other day, with the incomparable Paul Weller in fine mod form. It reminded me of the state of England in the early 1980’s, especially as captured in their song “A Bomb in Wardour Street”. This is the world I tried to depict in my novel Bad […]