Free Will Paradox?

There might be a paradox—or tension?—having to do with how we assess what counts as a negation of free will. Namely, we don’t generally consider that which is physically impossible to count as evidence against free will’s existence; yet to rule out free will… Continue Reading

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Consciousness Explained in Three Billion Pages

Cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman has recently been getting popular attention for a theory that holds consciousness as fundamental—that is, “…not as something derivative or emergent from a prior physical world”, which he supports with a novel account of the relationship between objects and perception… Continue Reading

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Four Dimensions of X-ism (and ‘Seminal’ Is Sexist)

A long first draft on a difficult topic. Feedback is welcome! I. A Critical Distinction It’s a common occurrence for someone to be publicly called out for racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, or some other mode of X-ism (as I’ll collectively call… Continue Reading

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Sine-Wave Speech

Ever notice that when a familiar song is playing in another room, you can clearly hear the words, but if unfamiliar, you can’t make out the words? I’ve experienced something similar with self-recording musicians—especially voice-shy ones—who think they’ve set their vocal loud in a mix,… Continue Reading

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Do Groups Believe?

1. Introduction We often refer to the beliefs of groups. We might say we think it’s a lovely day out, or that Americans believe democracy to be the best form of government. To what sorts of phenomena do we refer… Continue Reading

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Rachel Dolezal: Race, Gender, Sex, and Social Group Membership

And now for the intriguing case of Rachel Dolezal, the Spokane, Washington NAACP leader who was born white but identifies and represents herself as black. This was working well for her — she’s been passing as black for years, apparently — until a few days… Continue Reading

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Pulse: You Are a Series of Non-Repeating Events

I often find myself wondering with fascination about the role experience plays in shaping our conception of the world. Recently, I was inspired to think about repetition in this context. That is, we have a deep sense that there are repeating events. But… Continue Reading

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In Favor of Compositional Nihilism: A Response to the Organicism of van Inwagen

In his impressive book, Material Beings, Peter van Inwagen argues in favor of an organicist theory of composition, in which the only things that count as composites are living organisms. This is to say, then, that mugs, tables, automobiles, stones,… Continue Reading

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