Knowledge


Latest Popular


Beauty and aesthetics Bioethics Comparative philosophy Cosmopolitanism Death Ethics History of ideas Knowledge Logic and probability Meaning and the good life Metaphysics Philosophy of language Philosophy of mind Philosophy of religion Philosophy of science Political philosophy Thinkers and theories Values and beliefs Virtues and vices

‘Expecting to create an AGI without first understanding how it works is like expecting skyscrapers to fly if we build them tall enough.’ Illustration by Sam Green

Essay/
Computing and artificial intelligence
Creative blocks

The very laws of physics imply that artificial intelligence must be possible. What’s holding us up?

David Deutsch

Photo by Jim Young/Reuters

Essay/
Knowledge
Escape the echo chamber

First you don’t hear other views. Then you can’t trust them. Your personal information network entraps you just like a cult

C Thi Nguyen

Detail from the visualization of the model juvenile rat cortical column, as created by the Blue Brain Project in Lausanne, Switzerland. Photo courtesy EPFL/Blue Brain Project

Essay/
Consciousness and altered states
The mental block

Consciousness is the greatest mystery in science. Don’t believe the hype: the Hard Problem is here to stay

Michael Hanlon

Photo by Carlo Allegri/Reuters

Essay/
Knowledge
Bad thinkers

Why do some people believe conspiracy theories? It’s not just who or what they know. It’s a matter of intellectual character

Quassim Cassam

Wassily Kandinsky Composition VIII. July 1923. Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York. © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2012

Essay/
Philosophy of science
Who knows what

For decades the sciences and the humanities have fought for knowledge supremacy. Both sides are wrong-headed

Massimo Pigliucci

What the…? Photo courtesy Let There Be Neon-NYC

Essay/
Logic and probability
Philosophy tool kit

Thinking like a philosopher need not be a strange and arcane art, if you get started with these tricks of the trade

Alan Hájek

Photo by nobiann/flickr/Getty

Essay/
Computing and artificial intelligence
It’s complicated

Human ingenuity has created a world that the mind cannot master. Have we finally reached our limits?

Samuel Arbesman

Mysterious meanings; a Taoist priest stands in an entrance to the 700-year-old Dongyue Temple in central Beijing November 5, 2012. Photo by David Gray/Reuters

Essay/
Consciousness and altered states
The uncertainty machine

Forget prophecy and wisdom. Using the I Ching is a weirdly useful way to open your mind to life’s unexpected twists

Will Buckingham

Photo by Getty

Essay/
Physics
Going nowhere fast

After the success of the Standard Model, experiments have stopped answering to grand theories. Is particle physics in crisis?

Ben Allanach

Illustration by Tim McDonagh/Handsome Frank

Essay/
Knowledge
How to choose?

When your reasons are worse than useless, sometimes the most rational choice is a random stab in the dark

Michael Schulson

Photo by Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty

Essay/
Teaching and learning
The examined life

Students are working harder than ever to pass tests but schools allow no time for true learning in the Socratic tradition

John Taylor

Unreliable evidence. Photo by Xavier Zimbardo/Getty

Essay/
Knowledge
Knowledge is crude

Far from being a touchstone of the truth, knowledge is a stone-age concept that harms our dealings with the modern world

David Papineau

Photo bt Emin Ozmen/Magnum Photos

Essay/
Knowledge
Nihilism

The risk of nihilism is that it alienates us from anything good or true. Yet believing in nothing has positive potential

Nolen Gertz

Charlton Heston as Moses in The Ten Commandments. Photo by J R Eyerman/Time Life Pictures/Getty

Essay/
Knowledge
A drop in the sea

What are the odds that Jesus rose or Moses parted the waves? Even with the best witnesses, vanishingly small

Lawrence Shapiro

A sense of wonder: toy packaging from the 1950s. Photo by Getty

Essay/
Stories and literature
Seeing and believing

UFO sightings are down. Ghosts are in decline. Are we more discerning now, or just afraid to trust anything?

Stuart Walton

From Le Petit Journal, 18 February 1912. Photo by Getty

Essay/
Ethics
The trolley problem problem

Are thoughts experiments experiments at all? Or something else? And do they help us think clearly about ethics or not?

James Wilson

Photo by Winfield Parks/National Geographic

Essay/
Dance and theatre
The music in you

You might not be a virtuoso, but you have remarkable music abilities. You just don’t know about them yet

Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis