How do Baggini, Churchland and Flanagan Think?

Baggini, Churchland, Flanagan in dialogue around the topic of Julian’s latest book  “How to Think Like a Philosopher” – or as he preferred it “How NOT to think like a philosopher” >>> rough notes:

All positive about Dennett, McIntyre, Wittgenstein, Descartes, Hume, etc. More than wondering in vacuo – adjacent sciences matter.

Glad to hear it’s Chalmers who’s nuts according to Churchland, I think they’re both nuts. Sure, thought experiments are useful exercises to clarify thinking but they’re not intuitively privileged pipelines to the truth. (Same with metaphors and understanding.)

Hard problem 2500 years old before Chalmers gave it a memetically catchy name ensnaring a whole generation of contemporary young philosophers in what will turn out to be a mere “itch” along the way. (Debunked idea already IMHO)

Sciences have neighbouring sciences and philosophy is no different. The boundaries, extensions and overlaps need to be understood. (Open systems, complex adaptive systems.)

I actually think in her criticisms of neuro-philosophers Pat is out of touch with 21st C reality in this field – criticising outdated caricatures, strawmen. Pity.

Apart from open-mindedness, avoiding misleading hunches / confirmation-biases, not personalising ad-hominem positions (see Churchland / Chalmers), valuing empiricism in general, but questioning meaning of (seemingly objective / empirical) facts, no dumb questions etc- unarguable really – nothing too mind-blowing.

Thinking 101 – philosophical or otherwise.


Pat Churchland – “Touching a Nerve (The Self as Brain).”
Owen Flanagan – “The Geography of Morals”

Both added to book list.


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