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Comprehensive index of philosophy and science essays, personal reflections, book and journal article reviews published by our authors


Philosophy Reviews

Essay Review: Two Concepts of Rules by John Rawls
Leslie Allan walks through Rawls's seminal essay, highlighting his key defences of utilitarianism and reflecting on his legacy.

Book Review: The Life You Can Save by Peter Singer
In this review, Leslie Allan explores Peter Singer's challenging case for giving up our luxuries to help impoverished people in faraway countries.

Book Review: Blasphemy: A Memoir: Sentenced to Death Over a Cup of Water by Asia Bibi and Anne-Isabelle Tollet
This book is a shocking case study of the abuse of blasphemy law in Pakistan to settle personal grievances.

Book Review: Degrees of Liberation: A Short History of Women in the University of Melbourne by Farley Kelly
This review is a concise summary of Farley Kelly's account of women's struggle for liberation against systemic discrimination throughout the history of the University of Melbourne.

Book Review: Women at Cambridge: A Men's University, Though of a Mixed Type by Rita McWilliams-Tullberg
Robert Bender reviews Rita McWilliams-Tullberg book documenting the compelling story of women's long fight in the University of Cambridge for equal rights to a university education.

Book Review: Ether Day: The Strange Tale of America's Greatest Medical Discovery and the Haunted Man Who Made It by Julie M. Fenster
Robert Bender reviews Julie M. Fenster's account of the discovery of modern anaesthetics and the colourful characters involved.

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.

Book Review: Religion Is for Fools by Bill Medley
One by one, Robert Bender critically examines Bill Medley's defences against the compelling critiques of belief in his Christian God.

Philosophy Reflections

Doing Good without God
Read one atheist's story about how she practices effective altruism through Kiva microfinance.

Is Free Will Compatible with Determinism?
Exploring whether human beings can possess genuine free will in a deterministic world and the implications for moral responsibility.

Working Towards Alleviating Extreme Poverty
Heather McLaughlin shares four straightforward and effective strategies for doing good better.

Moral Norms and Normativity
Some preliminary thoughts on the logic and semantics of moral and non-moral normative prescriptions.

Philosophy Essays


Imre Lakatos: A Critical Appraisal
Leslie Allan critically examines Imre Lakatos' Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes and his test of theories of rationality.

Towards an Objective Theory of Rationality
Leslie Allan considers the general demands of an objectivist epistemology to develop seven criteria for rational theory choice.

Descartes's Method of Doubt
Leslie Allan examines whether Descartes's program of skeptical enquiry was successful in laying a firm foundation for our manifold beliefs.


Free Will and Compatibilism
Using ordinary-language analysis, Leslie Allan mounts the case that human free will is possible in a deterministic world.

Can We Be Free-Willing Robots? – Atheist Society Public Lecture
Leslie Allan addresses the Atheist Society on the question of whether advances in physics and neuroscience dispel the notion that human beings possess free will.

Frankfurt Cases and 'Could Have Done Otherwise'
Does Frankfurt's counterexample succeed in showing that for a person to act freely, they need not have been able to act other than they did?

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.

The Existence of Mind-Independent Physical Objects
The author challenges both forms of idealism that deny the existence of mind-independent physical objects; eliminative idealism and phenomenalist idealism.

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.

Cognitive Science and the Philosophy of Mind
Recent advances in cognitive science are shedding new light on the nature of free will and human reasoning.

The Problem of Evil
Does the extent of evil, pain and suffering in our world count against the reasonableness of belief in an all-powerful, all-knowing and morally perfect deity?

Plantinga's Ontological Argument
A critical examination of Alvin Plantinga's modal version of the ontological argument for the existence of God.

Plantinga's Free Will Defence: Critical Note
Leslie Allan critically examines Alvin Plantinga's Free Will Defense against the logical Problem of Evil.

The Soul-Making Theodicy: A Response to Dore
The author argues that theist philosopher, Clement Dore, has failed to rebut the criticisms against his view that God permits suffering in order to develop moral characters.


Meta-ethics: An Introduction
In this introduction to meta-ethics, the author outlines the key questions in the field and surveys the major meta-ethical theories, summarizing their strengths and problems.

A Taxonomy of Meta-ethical Theories
The author presents a comprehensive taxonomy of meta-ethical theories that classifies views along three dimensions: linguistic analysis, metaphysical commitments and degree of normative tolerance.

Is Morality Subjective?
Does the absence of a religious or other non-natural metaphysical basis for morality undermine the claimed objectivity of ethics?

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.

Is Morality a Matter of Taste? – HSV Public Lecture
In his address to the Humanist Society of Victoria, Leslie Allan invites participants to consider what objectivity in ethics means and its significance for moral discourse.

Can Morality Be Objective without God? – Discussing Religion Respectfully Address
In this philosophical address, Leslie Allan challenges attendees to consider how objective moral valuations reflect impartial judgment and not divine commands.

Why I Am a Humanist – Critical Thinkers Forum Public Lecture
Leslie Allan shares how his early experiences shape his humanist outlook and how the three core principles underlying humanism illuminate the good life.

A Defence of Emotivism
Leslie Allan answers key philosophical objections to Charles Stevenson's sophisticated emotivist analysis of moral language.

The Principle of Double Effect
Leslie Allan reviews how successful the Principle of Double Effect is in mitigating the philosophical problems faced by an absolutist ethic.

Contraception and Abortion: A Utilitarian View
The author develops a nuanced approach to the problem of abortion that avoids the pitfalls of both conservative and liberal perspectives.

Animal Rights and the Wrongness of Killing
This essay explores the ethical principles and moral reasoning underpinning traditional views on killing and offers a new utilitarian approach.

Toward Democratic Eco-socialism as the Next World System
Hans A. Baer outlines the transitional steps required for shifting human societies or countries toward democratic eco-socialism.

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.

Henrietta Dugdale – Freethinker and Suffragist
The story of Henrietta Dugdale, a leading light of the women's liberation movement in pre-Federation Australia.


Science Reviews

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.

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.

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.

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.

Science Reflections

What Is Cosmology?
Is cosmology a true scientific discipline based on experimental data or just philosophical speculation?

Science Essays


Cosmological Theories in History
A summary of the major theories and critical turning points in the history of cosmology, from Copernicus to Einstein to Linde.

The Anthropic Principle and Cosmic Inflation
Leslie Allan applies the Anthropic Principle, inflation theory and the idea of the multiverse to the teleological argument that our universe is fine tuned for life.


Evolutionary Psychology: A Review
An overview of Evolutionary Psychology; its key theoretical underpinnings, research methods, experimental successes and major challenges.


The Gospel of Mark as Theological Allegory
Jonathan Rutherford explores how the meaning of the Gospel of Mark is best understood as a theological allegory.

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