About Nicolas McGinnis

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So far Nicolas McGinnis has created 19 blog entries.

Fraud in science, and the more widespread impact of the incentives that beget it (Nicholas McGinnis)

The Guardian recently ran an article about fraud in the sciences, noting the institutional pressures placed on researchers that play a part in motivating misconduct: "A recent paper in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that since 1973, nearly a thousand biomedical papers have been retracted because someone cheated the system. [...]

2016-07-19T15:46:07-04:00November 6th, 2012|Science and Society|

The Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism & Theistic Explanation (and the SEP)

Mohan Matthen has a nice, punchy write up on Plantinga's 'Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism' (EAAN) over at NewAPPS. The EAAN has been influential in some anti-Darwinian circles (Nagel's recent flirtation with teleology in science being one prominent example). I think Mathen is entirely right to suggest that the EAAN relies on an "extraordinarily narrow view [...]

2014-03-18T16:33:57-04:00October 13th, 2012|Philosophy of Science|

New England Journal of Medicine’s History of Surgery

Fascinating article from the NEJM entitled "Two Hundred Years of Surgery" which highlights, inter alia, the importance of anesthesia in the development of modern surgical techniques: Surgeons soon found, however, that anesthesia allowed them to perform more complex, invasive, and precise maneuvers than they had dared to attempt before. Within a decade, for instance, the first successful hysterectomy [...]

2014-03-18T16:55:36-04:00June 14th, 2012|Philosophy of Science|

When Experience Machines Are Obligatory

Nozick’s classic discussion of ‘experience machines’ in Anarchy, State and Utopia attempted to show that, contrary to the ‘hedonistic’ thesis, experiencing pleasure is not all that matters to us. The ‘experience machine’, of course, is a kind of simulated reality wherein the subject would be able to choose pleasurable experiences that would be indistinguishable from [...]

Uncovering Hidden Causes and Hidden Assumptions in Public Policy Debates – Amy Wuest

Nancy Cartwright began the second installment of her Rotman Lecture (‘Wiser use of Social Science’) with a discussion of the tragic death of 17 month old Peter Connelly, a case of child neglect and abuse that led to a widespread media controversy and to a public inquiry into Britain’s child services and social services programmes. [...]

2016-04-27T23:18:40-04:00May 7th, 2012|Science and Society|

Pirahã and Progress – Nic McGinnis

The Chronicle of Higher Education recently published an account of a divisive controversy in linguistics concerning the features of an obscure Amazonian language, Pirahã. Allegedly absent in Pirahã is 'recursion'—the embedding of sentences within sentences—a feature that is (supposedly) central to human language according to the dominant Chomskyan account. The Chronicle article is unfortunately focused [...]

2014-03-18T17:06:35-04:00April 3rd, 2012|Philosophy of Language|

Argument in Limbo (or, a note on the importance of feminism) – Nicholas McGinnis

It is not usually within the aegis of a philosophy blog to comment on controversies within popular media; but in certain particularly illustrative cases, exceptions can be made. Here we are once again concerned with public policy, expertise, and argument: Sandra Fluke’s. It might seem late to comment on an story that is already ‘old’ [...]

2016-01-29T12:14:28-04:00March 29th, 2012|Philosophy of Ethics|

"Science controversies past and present," in Physics Today

Steve Sherwood, of the Climate Change Research Center at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, provides a thoughtful, if schematic, discussion of historical scientific controversy, linking past polemics to present strife on climate change. Both Copernican heliocentrism and Einstein's theory of relativity met with opposition from critics that was as much moral-political [...]

2016-01-29T12:14:56-04:00March 13th, 2012|Philosophy of Science, Science and Society|