Does Science Have All the Answers?

Modern science has provided answers to questions once thought impertinent for human beings to investigate. Among them, ‘What causes earthquakes and natural disasters?’, ‘Where does human life begin?’, and ‘Do we have free will?’. But when does the triumph of science become triumphalism? What are the limits of scientific inquiry, and does it leave any […]

Ian Morris: Foragers, Farmers, and Fossil Fuels – How Human Values Evolve

The majority of people in the world today think democracy and gender equality are good and that violence and wealth inequality are bad. But until the nineteenth century the opposite views prevailed. Drawing on archaeology, anthropology, biology and history, Ian Morris presents a compelling new argument about the evolution of human values that has far-reaching […]

Royal Institute of Philosophy Annual Debate

James Ladyman and Raymond Tallis address the motion, ‘Human Nature is Better Understood Through Science Than Through Philosophical And Artistic Reflection’. Evolutionary biology, psychology and brain science have all made astonishing progress over recent decades.  Sociology, economics and cognitive science have become increasingly sophisticated and detailed.  Do these developments mean that we are coming closer […]

If you can spray phlogiston, is it real?

In the first of three guest-curated talks by Michela Massimi, Hasok Chang discusses how we should understand cases from the history of science in which scientists were confident that they were directly manipulating entities which modern science considers nonexistent. The chemistry of “phlogiston” from the 18th century provides an excellent example.