Author: Philip Goff

Are Roses Really Red?

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Photo by Milly Sime on Unsplash I’m grateful to Edward Feser for commenting on my work. We share a common starting point, namely our conviction that the qualities we encounter in experience cannot be fully accounted for in the purely quantitative terms of physical science, and hence that our conventional scientific worldview misses something out. But we disagree on how to rectify this error. I agree with Galileo (ironic, given the title of my book) […]

More on Fine-Tuning & the Multiverse

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I’ve thought of a simpler way of making the argument from my last post. Suppose Jack is the defendant, and the lawyer for the prosecution shares with the jury that Jack carries a knife around with him. In fact, as the lawyer for the prosecution well knows, Jack carries a butter knife around with him, but the lawyer chooses not to share this detail. Obviously the jury are going to be misled. It’s not that […]

Why the Multiverse Can’t Explain Fine-Tuning

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A startling discovery of recent decades is that the laws of physics are fine-tuned for the possibility of life. That is to say, for life to be possible, certain numbers in physics had to fall in a certain narrow range. Some scientists and philosophers try to explain this by postulating an enormous number of universes, exemplifying a huge range of different numbers in their physics, making it statistically likely that at least one will have […]

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 […]