Author: Philip Goff

The Lottery Fallacy, Fine-Tuning, and the Multiverse

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Our best current science suggests that our universe is fine-tuned for life. That is to say, certain numbers in basic physics – e.g. the strength of gravity, the mass of electrons, etc. – are, against improbable odds, exactly as they need to be for life to be possible. Many scientists and philosophers think this is evidence for a multiverse, but I disagree. What we have evidence for us that our universe is fine-tuned and postulating […]

Does Quantum Mechanics allow for Free Will?

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Do the laws of physics rule out free will? Neuroscientist Kevin Mitchell has a recently argued (paper and blog post): If the laws of physics are deterministic, then free will is ruled out If the laws of physics are indeterministic, then this makes room for the reality of free will. It’s a really interesting paper but I have some disagreements, which I would like to outline here. A quick preliminary remark: there is a huge […]

Is it the Job of Science or Philosophy to Account for Consciousness?

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The success of natural science over the last five hundred years has been truly mind-blowing. It doesn’t follow, however, that science is well-suited to answering all questions. Sam Harris has suggested that science can answer the questions of ethics as well as our questions about the nature of reality. But like many, it seems to me that there are many ethical questions which are just not suited to being answered scientifically. There’s no experiment that […]

What ‘The Rise of the Murdoch Dynasty’ leaves out

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The BBC’s recent documentary of ‘The Rise of the Murdoch Dynasty’ is worth watching. However, two important details from the history it conveys were missed out: During 2011, Murdoch was attempting to buy all of BskyB (as reported in the documentary). The then culture secretary Jeremy Hunt was put in charge of assessing ‘on a quasi judicial basis’ whether Murdoch’s plan was compatible with media plurality. In 2012, the Leveson enquiry revealed a lengthy record […]

Special Issue of ‘Journal of Consciousness Studies’ on ‘Galileo’s Error’

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I’m delighted to announce that there will be a special issue of the Journal of Consciousness Studies on my book Galileo’s Error: Foundations for a New Science of Consciousness, which will be edited by Alex Moran (Oxford University) and myself. The issue will feature short papers (4-6,000 words) on the themes of the book, contributed by leading physicists, neuroscientists, theologians and philosophers, as well as a response piece by me commenting on each of the […]

Response to Bernardo Kastrup

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I have just published a piece in the Institute of Art and Ideas, raising some objections to Bernardo’s Kastrup’s analytic idealism. One aspect of the disagreement between Bernardo and I is whether the following conditional is true: if physicalism is true, conscious states are epiphenomenal (i.e. have no causal effect on the physical world). Bernardo thinks it’s true; I think it’s false. I gave my reasons for thinking this in the IAI piece, but I […]

In depth interview for ‘L’Indiscreto’

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I was recently interviewed by Francesco D’Isa for the Italian magazine L’Indiscreto. Here’s the Italian version; below is the English translation: Why do we feel something? Where does our experience come from? What’s the purpose of consciousness? Could we function without it? These are very difficult questions and not surprisingly consciousness is known as a ‘hard problem’. Well, there’s a theory called Panpsychism that offers an elegant, rational and slightly weird answer: everything is conscious. […]

Some questions on consciousness and panpsychism

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The March edition of Investigación y Ciencia, the Spanish edition of Scientific American, published a translation of my Scientific American article ‘Galileo’s Big Mistake‘. In June it published my answers to a couple of questions from readers. Below is the English translation of the questions and my replies. First Letter: In “Galileo’s Big Mistake,” Philip Goff argues that, in order to scientifically confront the problem of consciousness, one should overcome Galileo’s scientific viewpoint based on limiting the […]

Response to Pigliucci & Kaufman

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Happy Easter! I hope people are managing to enjoy some leisure and pleasure in these unique circumstances of lockdown. One thing I did was to watch this video of Daniel Kaufman and Massimo Pigliucci raising some objections to the (very different) views of Keith Frankish and I. I enjoyed this and I’m very grateful to Daniel and Massimo for thinking about my work. I’d like share a couple of quick responses. My first issue is […]

Ash Wednesday for a Non-Believer

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People are mystified by how I can be religious without believing. One thing I find incredibly affecting is the Ash Wednesday service: periods of silence, and then having ashes put on your head and being told ‘Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return’. I had a vivid experience this time of realising that, after recent personal success, I’ve started to be a bit reliant on that personal success for my sense […]