Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science from Bunk by scientist-turned-philosopher, Massimo Pigliucci is an excellent discussion of the challenges faced by the average non-scientist in today's information-rich world. After explaining what distinguishes science from pseudoscience (a major source of "bunk"), his book gives practical advice about trusting experts. (hint: having a PhD doesn't make one an expert!)
Pigliucci also discussed these themes during a talk he gave last month at The Amazing Meeting 8, which was held in Las Vegas, NV. That's where I recorded the interview that I am posting today as Books and Ideas Episode 37. The focus of the interview is the role of philosophy of science in today's complex world.
Episode Transcript (Download PDF)
Episode 37 Show Notes:
- Massimo Pigliucci teaches philosophy at Lehman College (part of the City Universty of New York) and he is the host of the Rationally Speaking podcast
- The demarcation problem (how to tell science from psuedoscience) has been discussed by many philosophers including Karl Popper. I talked about this back in Episode 5 of Books and Ideas.
- Philosophers of science (including Barbara Forrest and Robert Pennock) were key witnesses in the 2005 Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District decision against the teaching of intelligent design in the Dover public schools.
- "Against Philosophy," by Nobel physicist Steven Weinberg: not all scientists appreciate the role that philosophy continues to play in scientific thought.
- Twenty Questions: An Introduction to Philosophy by G. Lee Bowie, Meredith W. Michaels, and Robert C. Solomon: a good introductory text for students.
- A History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell: a much-read classic.
- Making Sense of Evolution: The Conceptual Foundations of Evolutionary Biology by Massimo Pigliucci and Jonathan Kaplan.
- Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science from Bunk by Massimo Pigliucci.
- Several magazines about philosophy are aimed at general readers including: Philosophy Now, The Philosopher, and Think.
- The New York Times has a new philosophy blog called The Stone, which features posts by a wide variety of philosophers including Peter Singer (ethics)and Arthur Danto (aesthetics).
- The next episode of Books and Ideas will be recorded LIVE at 8:30 PM (Eastern Time) Sunday September 5 at Dragon*Con in Atlanta, Georgia. I will be interviewing novelists Skyler White and Christiana Ellis.
- I am also scheduled to interview Dr. Scott Lilenfield co-author of 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology: Shattering Widespread Misconceptions about Human Behavior. This interview will be posted in the Brain Science Podcast feed in late September.
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