Picture all the possible worlds laid out in logical space in the style of David Lewis. They all objectively exist just like the actual world—real and concrete entities. There are people in some of them who know about the world they inhabit, as we take ourselves to know about the actual world. Now consider skepticism: […]
Darwin’s theory of evolution includes two generative components: mutation and natural selection. Mutation generates genetic variants and hence phenotypes; natural selection operates on these to produce differential survival. Neither of these generative processes involves intention or intelligence. Thus we have biological novelty without intentional intelligent design. Both processes are blind and driven by non-mental causes. […]
Let me give this more prominence: my demonstration of two new drumming techniques on Youtube. Just go to “Colin McGinn drumming tutorials” on Youtube. My drumming is a bit ropey but you will see the lessons I’m trying to impart.
Memes, Behavioral Contagion, and the Zeitgeist I want to bring these three concepts together to create a meme that will be contagious and contribute to the zeitgeist.First a quick introduction to our principal players: a meme is an idea or action that spreads analogously to the gene; behavioral contagion is the […]
Against the Argument from Design I have a parakeet, Emma, who developed a rather nasty infection about a year ago. Her feet became encrusted with some horrible-looking growth and her beak was discolored and deformed. I took her to the vet who diagnosed a parasite quite common in parakeets (but only in parakeets)—a […]
Doomed I’m getting the distinct impression that we’re doomed. I can feel it in my bones. First, philosophy in America is doomed; indeed, it is now more or less defunct (relative to earlier times). Once the older generation dies off in five to ten years we will be left with a desert of mediocrity […]
Truth-Value Gaps and Meaning Sentences exhibiting truth-value gaps would appear to pose a significant problem for truth-conditional semantics. Such sentences evidently have meaning, yet they are neither true nor false. In this respect they resemble non-indicative sentences such as imperatives. But imperatives can be handled by adopting a parallel concept like obedience […]
Beliefs, Desires, and Actions Consider actions in which the agent uses a piece of technology (in a broad sense) to achieve a desired goal: using a car to get to a certain place, using a cell phone to communicate, taking an umbrella out in the rain, using a hammer to knock in […]
I just did a one hour interview with Cody Sexton, which can be seen on his blog and on youtube. I can’t post the link but it’s easy to find.
Subjectivity and Symbolism Mechanism in physics was a unified theory of the physical world, positing only bodies in space and contact causation. Newton’s mechanics undermined this unity by postulating action at a distance, thus introducing another kind of causation. Electromagnetic theory undermined it further. Things don’t always operate by impact and reaction. In […]