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Essays and Articles of Philosophical Interest

3 min readJan 17, 2023

These are articles that have caught my attention and I have continued to refer to over the years. They’re not published in specialist journals but are mainly from popular media, with the exception of a few that have been reformatted and republished via Google Drive. It might be updated from time to time.

Philosophy of Maths and Universals

What interests me about philosophy of maths and universals, is the sense in which these real but not material. Due to the decline of realism concerning universals (‘realism’ in the traditional not the modern sense) and the dominance of empiricism in modern philosophy, their reality is routinely disputed, relativised or denied.

  • The Cultural Impact of Empiricism, Jacques Maritain — This essay summarises the indispensable role that universals occupy in the functioning of reason, and argues that it is the ability to grasp universals, rejected by empiricism, that constitutes the properly rational abilities of human beings. It’s dated in some sections, but the salient points remain important in my view.
  • The Mathematical World, Jim Franklin — Aeon Magazine, a brief account and defense of Aristotelian philosophy of maths.
  • What is Maths? Dan Falk, Smithsonian Magazine — contemporary essay on debate between Platonism and empiricism in philosophy of maths. I’m with the Platonists!
  • The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences, Eugene Wigner — Seminal essay on the uncanny ability of mathematical reasoning to predict physical outcomes. The word ‘miracle’ occurs a dozen times.
  • The Indispensability Argument in the Philosophy of MathematicsHighlights the contemporary empiricist criticism of Platonism in philosophy of maths with reference to Putnam and Quine, especially useful for its comically condescending descriptions of philosophical rationalism

Philosophy of Physics

Philosophy and Evolution

Nowadays it’s normal to believe that ‘evolution made us so’, pretty well in exactly the same way our forbears would have said that ‘God made us so’. But the implications are completely different. These essays explore the way in which evolutionary theory has crept into our accounts of mind, life and culture.

  • Anything but Human, Richard Polt, NY Times — Pithy essay on the inadequacies of evolutionary and computer science to illuminate ethics.
  • It Ain’t Necessarily So, Antony Gottlieb, New Yorker — How much do evolutionary stories reveal about the mind?
  • The Core of Mind and Cosmos, Thomas Nagel, NY Times — synopsis of his controversial 2012 book.
  • The God Genome, Leon Wieseltier, NY Times — review of Daniel Dennett’s ‘Breaking the Spell’.
  • The Illusionist, David Bentley Hart, The New Atlantis — another critique of Dennett.

Philosophy of Science

Science, Philosophy and Religion




Technical writer and consultant. Reading philosophy, comparative religion, history and science.