Skip to main content


Showing posts from October, 2020

Do you agree with Jeremy Corbyn's suspension from the Labour Party?

It's hard to take seriously those who say we should put first and foremost the very real concerns of Jewish people, but then stuff socks into the mouths of anyone who would quite correctly reassure the Jewish community that the scale of antisemitism in Labour has been hugely exaggerated. First of all, just for clarity, Corbyn said the recommendations of the EHRC report should immediately be implemented. Second, surely anyone familiar with the evidence knows that what Corbyn did say - that antisemitism in Labour has been exaggerated by people inside and outside the party - is true. There is a widespread perception of antisemitism being 'rampant', 'rife' on the Left and in Labour, etc. For example... *In 2018, 68 Rabbis signed a letter saying: 'As British rabbis, it is with great regret that we find it necessary to write, yet antisemitism within sections of the Labour party has become so severe and widespread that we must speak out with one Jewish voice.'

Naturalism, Evolution, and True Belief (academic paper)

NATURALISM, EVOLUTION AND TRUE BELIEF Analysis , Volume 72, Issue 1, January 2012, Pages 41–48. Plantinga’s evolutionary argument against naturalism (EAAN) is currently one of the most widely discussed arguments targeting philosophical naturalism (see, for example, Beilby 2002).   Plantinga aims to show that naturalism, in combination with evolutionary theory, is, as he puts it, ‘incoherent or self-defeating’. His argument turns crucially on the claim that, in the absence of any God-like being to guide the process, natural selection is unlikely to favour true belief. This, Plantinga supposes, is because natural selection selects only for adaptive behaviour. It is irrelevant, from the point of view of unguided evolution, whether the beliefs that happen to cause that adaptive behaviour are true.   I argue that, even in its most recent incarnation, the EAAN fails. In particular, Plantinga overlooks the fact that adherents of naturalism may hold, seemingly q

How To Tell Science from Pseudoscience

(prepublication draft, 'How Can We Tell Science From Pseudoscience?' in Kevin McCain and  Kostas Kampourakis What is Scientific Knowledge? An Introduction to Contemporary Epistemology of Science (Routledge 2019 ) Introduction What is pseudoscience? Most of us will intuitively class more or less the same phenomena together under the umbrella of 'pseudoscience'. Paradigm examples include astrology, Young Earth Creationism, Christian Science, feng shui, homeopathy, flat earthism, and Chinese medicine (though there are contested borderline cases: not everyone agrees about the status of Freud's psychoanalytic theories, for example). But while it seems most of us recognise pseudoscience when we see, providing an adequate philosophical definition of pseudoscience is not so easy. The aim of this chapter is to survey some of the suggestions that have been made, and to make a recommendation of my own. Necessary and sufficient conditions Asking 'Wha