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Science

This tag is associated with 42 posts

The triage of truth

If we are sincerely interested in the truth we can use expert opinion more objectively without either giving up our rational autonomy or giving in to our preconceptions. I’ve developed a simple three-step heuristic I’ve dubbed ‘The Triage of Truth’ which can give us a way of deciding whom to listen to about how the world is…

The inescapability of the ethical

Social epidemiology never generates straightforward policy prescriptions. Even if we know something makes us live longer, we still have to ask if it is right to promote it. It might be that many features of more traditional societies, including religiosity and tight social relations, are good for health. But it does not follow that we can or should try to turn back the clock. That is a philosophical and political question, not one for epidemiology.

The Edge of Reason

“Julian Baggini has written a masterpiece, and what a timely masterpiece it is. The toxic gloating of ‘gut feelings’, hateful politics and heart-over-head attacks on good sense urgently need an antidote. Baggini has risen to the occasion. In this compelling book, he is fair-minded, incisive and bold; he never ducks the hard questions, but faces […]

The possibility that life is a simulation

Some people just find the whole idea too fanciful to even think about. But many other find it terrifying, exciting or both. Why would such an apparently outlandish idea have this effect?

Ethical concerns over ‘playing God’

There is nothing new in “playing God”, it’s just that we’re getting better at it.

The Thing Itself – review

This book really walks the literary high wire, and Roberts not only keeps his balance, he makes the spectacle compelling. I can’t think of another such ostentatiously clever novel that is so dramatically successful, as rigorous psychologically as it is logically. Like Kant’s thing in itself, Roberts’s eponymous novel does not fit into any standard categories.

Information as inaction

To be truly empowered we need both to better understand the information we are given, and to realise that the biggest abuses of information concern how it is used, not how it is gathered.

Oliver Sacks – an appreciation

Oliver Sacks had the expertise of a neuroscientist, the mind of a philosopher and the voice of a poet. Excelling in all three domains, he was one of those rare writers and thinkers who was able to to make us see ourselves differently.

The Meaning of Science by Tim Lewens

Too many guides for novices are pedestrian trudges through the key names and topics in a subject. Like the best introductions, this is more manifesto than textbook, making a convincing case for its subject by explaining why it is both important and interesting. There is no better, clearer case for why both science and philosophy matter and why neither can replace the other.

Should we stress about stress?

Emotional suffering is real and that there should be no shame in seeking the help of others to diminish it. Whether it has an agreed name and a scientific definition is secondary.

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  • Perfectionism has a push and a pull: some are more drawn to the ideal, others more unable to abide the imperfect.