Math is obviously good for many things: we use it for everything from building bridges to designing lasers to predicting the motions of planets to explaining why snowflakes have that odd six-pointed shape. But why is it good for so many things?
Is metaphysics just a bunch of nonsense? Is it okay to believe something you could never prove? Could logic be a solution to the world’s problems? This week on Philosophy Talk, we’re thinking about the Vienna Circle, a group of Austrian philosophers from the 1920s who debated these questions.
Social psychology has shown that people tend to generalize on incidents of good behavior for their in-group, but generalize on bad behavior for members of out-groups. This tendency leads to a form of racism I call "naïve" because the racist person has no idea that their minds are operating this way.
How do we change the minds of climate deniers? Could learning about the science of global warming ever persuade a skeptic? Or are humans just too irrational to be persuaded by facts and evidence? These are some of the questions we’re asking in this week’s show.
Crony beliefs are beliefs you have partly because you want to believe them. But is it really possible to form beliefs because you want to have them? Does that explain why so many people seem to believe things that serve their self-interest? Or is there another explanation for that?