Assessment has become ubiquitous in the present science system. Particularly output measures such as the Impact Factor or h-index are very influential in determining scientific progress at all career stages. Presently, there is a surge in resistance against this assessment regime – resistance that also criticizes many other things going wrong in the present science system. One example for such resistance is the Science in Transition movement that just organized an international meeting at the Dutch Royal Academy of Arts... Read more
Scientists have often commented on political/social problems and some suggested that new technology provides the solution. People calling themselves transhumanists extend this idea radically: By overcoming human nature, using means such as genetic modification or brain implants, we will also overcome our large-scale problems until ultimately turning into a species of post-humans.
Visions for Neurophilosophy – Meeting at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, March 21 & 22 2013
The Chair for Neurophilosophy at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich organizes an international and interdisciplinary meeting on neurophilosophy on March 21 & 22 2013. Colleagues interested in the neurosciences and their implications for other disciplines and society are invited to participate.
Plagiarism: German Minister of Education and Science Annette Schavan Steps Down After Losing Her PhD
It is already the fifth necessary restructuring of the governing cabinet of Germany within the current legislative period. Annette Schavan, minister for education and science, declared to step down from her function today in order to prevent further damage to her office and the government after the philosophical faculty of the University of Düsseldorf declared her doctoral degree to be invalid on Tuesday February 5. These cases lead to a general credibility crisis of German politics.
Scientists will analyze the genome of the young man who recently killed almost thirty people in a mass shooting in the USA. Biology has been used frequently to understand criminality in the course of history, but with little success. It is unlikely that the genetic analysis will contribute to understanding the terrible crime. By contrast, it carries the risk of stigmatizing people with similar biological features and of overlooking psychological and sociological explanations.
Science and the Search for the Soul (3): Pluralistic Causation and How to Avoid the Reductionistic Fallacy
Many sciences use a broad model of causation that allows causal relations to exist on many levels, including social interaction; a reductionist view, by contrast, would even hamper scientific progress instead of supporting it; and agnosticism, after all, is a viable and rational position in a debate if neither side can present convincing arguments.
The world is more than just an assembly of physical particles. Pragmatical arguments force us to give up the idea that, ultimately, everything must be accounted for by physics. This allows a pluralistic and complementary view for all scientific disciplines and helps us to avoid a philosophical stance that takes the world to be much more simple than we observe and experience it. Simplicity can be a virtue, but with regard to the sheer complexity of our world it can... Read more
Are humans nothing but a conglomerate of physical particles behaving in accordance with physical laws? Can we show that the existence of a soul and an afterlife are scientifically impossible? Is agnosticism a viable alternative? My proposal to overcome a deadlocked metaphysical debate.
Some say that what used to be the domain of philosophy is now increasingly investigated by science. Will philosophers lose their job? Perhaps. Is philosophy dead? No. Psychophilosophy explains why common misconceptions about philosophy and science will not help us to solve the issue and how we might instead try to answer the Big Questions.
Can scientific knowledge about the ideal diet help us increase our life-span? One of the options tested by members of the longevity movement is calorie restriction. A new study questions previous evidence for its health-effects in primates. Extreme fasting might not be a good idea for humans, after all.