Author: Philip Goff

Can You Prove a Miracle?

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I’m currently taking a week off work, having submitted a draft of my book manuscript (‘The Purpose of Existence: Between God and Atheism’). Sometimes when I take time off, I get lost in a rabbit hole or two. On Easter Sunday, I listened to a debate on my favourite Christian vs. Atheist debate podcast on whether you could demonstrate historically that Jesus rose from the dead. I Tweeted brief thoughts about this, and someone tweeted […]

Are There Objective Values?

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A lot of my Twitter debating time recently has been spent defending the claim that there are facts about value that hold independent of our desires. The example I always press is that there is an objective distinction between things that are worth doing (e.g. pursuing pleasure, learning, being creative) and things that are pointless (e.g. counting blades of grass, for its own sake, when you don’t enjoy it or get any further good from […]

A Surprise Point of Agreement With Sean Carroll

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I’ve had some great philosophical interactions with Sean Carroll, of late. I was on Sean’s podcast a while back, and more recently he kindly contributed to a volume of essays responding to my book Galileo’s Error: Foundations for a New Science of Consciousness (I counter-responded to all of the essays, including Sean’s, here). We then debated this for three hours on the Mind Chat podcast I host with Keith Frankish. Finally, Sean wrote this blog […]

Can Calculators Add? Can Brains Add?

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Suppose you had a rubbish that calculator that could only deal with numbers below 100. Assuming that, apart from that limitation, it behaved as calculators normally behave, you’d naturally interpret it as performing the addition function when you type in ‘1+1’ and get the answer ‘2’. But is it? Consider the following mathematical function, which, following the philosopher Saul Kripke, I will call ‘quus’: QUUS: The quus function is just like the plus function when […]

Materialism Remains the Majority View…But Only Just!

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The 2020 PhilPapers Survey of Anglophone academic philosophers’ views has just been published. On the philosophy of mind, physicalism (AKA materialism) remains the view of the majority, but only just, with 51.9% of philosophers professing to accept/lean towards physicalism about the mind. However, a very large minority of 32.1% align with non-physicalism about the mind (15.9% are undecided, accept an alternative to both, or think the question is too unclear to answer*). There was also […]

The Multiverse for Breakfast

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I’m really looking forward to my first in person philosophy talk since the start of Covid, which will take place at the ‘How the Light Gets In‘ festival’ Sunday 19th March. It’s a festival of philosophy and music, which is going to be held in the glorious grounds of Kenwood House on Hampstead Heath in London. I’m going to talk about the science of consciousness, and how the supposedly ‘easy problem’ of establishing neural correlates […]

19 Essays on ‘Galileo’s Error’

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In October, there will be a special issue of the Journal of Consciousness Studies consisting of 19 essays responding to my work (by scientists, philosophers, and theologians) and one essay in which I respond to these essays. My response also discusses what a post-Galilean science of consciousness might look like. Ten of these essays (including the introduction, which gives an overview) are already online, and are linked to in the contents below: Introduction, by Philip […]

The ‘Free Speech Union’ opposes the right of athletes to take the knee. You’d almost think they didn’t really care about free speech.

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As a philosopher, I like to use thought experiments. Suppose a BBC newsreader tweeted that there were more and more black families moving into their area and it was really bringing down the tone of the neighbourhood. I don’t know about you, but I’d be outraged. I’d probably want to express my outrage through social media, and I’d enthusiastically sign a petition to get that newsreader sacked from their job. This seems like a totally […]

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 […]