Michael Strevens and J.D. Trout

Michael Strevens and J.D. Trout on explanation and understanding in science (and beyond).

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In science and in ordinary life, we want to explain and understand features of the world around us. How can we tell a good explanation from a bad one? What’s the connection between explanation and […]

Matthew Haber and Joel Velasco

Joel Velasco and Matthew Haber on biological systematics.

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Biological systematics is about the classification of life given the diverse evolutionary history, morphology, and genetic features of living things. In this episode, Haber and Velasco discuss a range of philosophical issues raised by biological systematics, with a focus on […]

Lawrence Krauss and Roy Sorensen

Lawrence Krauss (left) and Roy Sorensen (right) on origins and nothingness.

How did our universe get to be the way it is? Has our universe always existed, or did it arise from nothing? Is it even possible for something to come from nothing? Lawrence Krauss has argued that physicists have discovered some of the […]

Paul Humphreys and John Symons

Paul Humphreys (left) and John Symons (right) on emergence.

A property is said to be emergent if it arises from but is not reducible to some fundamental property (or set of properties). There is a wide range of properties that might conceivably be emergent; consciousness is the textbook example, which might explain why philosophers […]

Roy Sorensen & Michael Weisberg

Roy Sorensen (left) and Michael Weisberg (right) on idealization and scientific realism.

Idealization is the intentional introduction of distortion into scientific theories. If science aims at the truth, as scientific realists believe, then why are scientific theories routinely idealized? To answer that question, Weisberg take a pluralistic approach. He distinguishes three kinds of idealization […]

John Dupré and Alex Rosenberg

John Dupré (left) and Alex Rosenberg (right) on physicalist anti-reductionism.

According to physicalism, there is no non-physical stuff. According to reductionism, all facts can be captured by some purely physical description of the world. Nowadays, physicalist anti-reductionism is orthodox among philosophers. In this debate, Dupré defends that orthodoxy, while Rosenberg defends a considerably less […]

Craig Callender and Sean Carroll

Craig Callender (left) and Sean Carroll (right) on the arrow of time and the multiverse.

According to the Past Hypothesis, the early universe was a low-entropy state, and entropy has been increasing ever since. Carroll thinks that the truth of the Past Hypothesis cries out for explanation; Callender thinks that its truth should be […]