Author: Philip Goff

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 […]

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 […]