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The Scientific Attitude was reviewed in Publishers Weekly
Post-Truth was named a "Top Ten" Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2018
Post-Truth was named a Best Book of 2018 on the PBS News Hour
Post-Truth was named a CNN book-of-the-week
Post-Truth was named one of "six books to help you understand the world" by The Week

The Scientific Attitude
Now Available!

As part of—or perhaps the culmination of—an on-going campaign of fact and truth denial in this "post-truth" era, science is currently under attack. On topics such as vaccines and climate change, the forces of ideology, cognitive bias, media confusion, and willful ignorance have conspired to spread disinformation and legitimize doubt about even the most well-settled empirical questions. This contrasts sharply with the attitude taken by scientists, which is based on respect for evidence and the flexibility of mind to change one's beliefs based on new evidence. Why then—when they set out to defend science—are scientists and philosophers of science so often at a loss to explain what is special about science?

In my latest book, The Scientific Attitude, I set out to develop a new understanding of what is distinctive about science and show how this can be used to fight back against the sorts of criticisms made by science deniers and pseudoscientists, who do not understand that the heart of scientific thought is based on its critical values, and community spirit of criticism, such that skepticism and doubt are a strength rather than a weakness of scientific theory.

I'm trained as a philosopher—and still keep my hand in scholarship and teaching—but these days my goal is to write philosophy that engages a much larger audience, about the sorts of question that concern us all. In previous books, I have considered questions such as: Is it possible to explain human behavior in the same way that we explain nature? Are we currently living in the new dark ages? What does it mean to "respect truth" in an era when so many are attacking it? Have we entered a post-truth era? And, in my latest work, what precisely is it that is special about science?

In some sense, this way of doing philosophy is a return to its birthright, when Socrates and his followers considered anything and everything to be a suitable topic for philosophical discussion, in hopes that the pursuit of wisdom might lead not just to more knowledge but also a better life. I'm fascinated with the idea of how philosophical questions can be meaningful to all of us.

Feel free to sign up for my mailing list or email me with your own ideas about how philosophy can be made more accessible and relevant to the quality of human life. I'd love to hear from you.

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