Explore the big questions in philosophy, history
and science from a rational perspective.
Rational: from Latin ratio "reckoning, calculation, reason" and rationalis "of or belonging to reason"
Thank you for visiting our new web site. We are currently uploading essays, reflections and reviews, so please check back often. The latest essays uploaded are:
The Mind/Brain Identity Theory: A Critical Appraisal
An investigation of the merits of the materialist mind/brain identity theory seen as the core of a scientific research programme.
Psychological Research on Free Will Intuitions: A Critical Review
Leslie Allan surveys key studies in experimental philosophy trying to find out how ordinary folk think about free will and determinism.
Vashti McCollum's Fight for Church–State Separation in Schools
Vashti McCollum was the leading humanist at the forefront of legal battles protecting the separation of church and state in US public schools.
Book Review: The Nun (La Religieuse) by Denis Diderot
Diderot's The Nun is a compelling story highlighting the abuse and persecution of unwanted daughters surrendered to Catholic convents in eighteenth century France.
Book Review: Just Food: Where Locavores Get It Wrong and How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly by James E. McWilliams
Robert Bender reviews McWilliams' book, Just Food, exploding the myths surrounding the economics and environmental sustainability of food production.
Book Review: The Other Side of Israel: My Journey Across the Jewish/Arab Divide by Susan Nathan
The Other Side of Israel explores the tensions between Israel's Jews and the resident Arab population since the 1948 Arab–Israeli War.
Film Review: The Great Global Warming Swindle
Robert Bender reviews Martin Durkin's The Great Global Warming Swindle, unpacking the arguments presented in the film and taking a behind-the-scenes look at its making.
Book Review: What a Plant Knows: A Field Guide to the Senses by Daniel Chamowitz
Robert Bender takes us on a fascinating journey through Chamowitz's work as he explores how plants see, smell, feel, remember and orient themselves.
Book Review: Citizen Labillardière: A Naturalist's Life in Revolution and Exploration (1755-1834) by Edward Duyker
Robert Bender takes us on a journey through Edward Duyker's scholarly research into botanist and explorer Jacques Labillardière's life and discoveries.
Book Review: Lonesome George: The Life and Loves of the World's Most Famous Tortoise by Henry Nicholls
Robert Bender reviews Henry Nicholls' book on Lonesome George, the last surviving giant tortoise on the Galapagos Islands.
Book Review: Blasphemy: A Memoir: Sentenced to Death Over a Cup of Water
This book is a shocking case study of the abuse of blasphemy law in Pakistan to settle personal grievances.
Free Will and Compatibilism
Using ordinary-language analysis, Leslie Allan mounts the case that human free will is possible in a deterministic world.
Is Morality Subjective? – A Reply to Critics
In response to criticisms from radical subjectivists, Leslie Allan defends his thesis that a moral reason for action must be an objective reason.
Towards an Objective Theory of Rationality
Leslie Allan considers the general demands of an objectivist epistemology to develop seven criteria for rational theory choice.
Book Review: Ether Day: The Strange Tale of America's Greatest Medical Discovery and the Haunted Man Who Made It
Robert Bender reviews Julie M. Fenster's account of the discovery of modern anaesthetics and the colourful characters involved.