Category Archives: Uncategorized

Awesome Science Terrible for Humans

Philosophers of science (and scientists, and science journalists, teachers, etc.) like vivid examples of sciencey things happening that illustrate various scientific or philosophical concepts. Examples that make you gasp or chuckle or compulsively send the link to everyone in your … Continue reading

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Explanations, Natural Laws and Latin Masses

This isn’t going to make the cut for an academic paper, but I like it and couldn’t resist sharing: In many explanations, especially in chemistry, natural laws play a role akin to the role played by the resurrection of Jesus … Continue reading

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Size Matters: Nanoethics

Nanoethics is a thing. A new thing, and a small (heh) thing, but a thing nonetheless. So sometimes when I tell people I work on philosophical issues in nanoscience, they assume I mean nanoethics. I don’t. But what I do … Continue reading

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Architecture, Nanoscience and Epistemology

Writing a dissertation abstract is a bizarre exercise. I feel like I am writing a news feature story about my own research. Luckily, I like writing feature stories, and I like my research. But sometimes I get carried away in … Continue reading

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“Tuning” in your science

I wish I knew how to code LaTeX tables into WordPress interfaces.   Tuning is the use of theories and models to produce a desired effect, such as a substance with specified properties or a bridge that will bear a … Continue reading

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Philosophy of science as a tool for change

Welcome to the Wednesday link-dump, brought to you by the question that kept coming up over and over this past week in Pittsburgh and New York: How can philosophy make a difference? On Saturday, some of the editors at The American … Continue reading

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On Love, Fermi Problems, and Scientific Reasoning

This week, This American Life ran a Valentine’s Day show. It opened with a story about some Harvard physicists who set out to calculate the odds of finding a girlfriend in the Boston area. I have heard this story before, … Continue reading

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`Surface’ Tension

After an extended vacation from writing on the internet for public consumption, and from writing period (back surgery’s a bitch, friends), I thought it would be nice to put some things I’ve been thinking out for you all to read. … Continue reading

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On ‘On Being the Right Size’

A colleague recently pointed me an article by J.B.S. Haldane, of population genetics fame, entitled “On Being the Right Size.” It’s a good read and quick, and in it Haldane talks about evolution as a “struggle to increase surface in … Continue reading

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Even “Carbon Nanotube Physicists” Need Philosophers

Astrophysicist and NPR blogger Adam Frank recently summarized a contentious debate in the philosophy of physics and foundational physics communities as follows: Carbon-nanotube physicists are so deep within the traditional modes of empirical (i.e., data-driven) scientific investigation that they can happily … Continue reading

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