Shameless Self-promotion

I’ll preface my words of glory with the caveat that says that ‘I am sure that some of you will find this interesting.’

My day job is that of a Philosopher. I teach (and quite well if student evaluations and ovations are a measure of success) and I research.

And today my research has finally produced fruit.

Some of you will know that my field is Epistemology, and that I have an interest in weird phenomenon. I’m not a Believer in that I am fairly sure that life is chemical and that ghosts are simply misunderstood instances of natural laws oprating in conjunction with particular facts. Still, as an epistemologist I can’t deny that perhaps, just possibly, some of the features of the world as we claim to know it (through the practice of the Natural Sciences) are, in fact, misunderstood.

It’s a pity then that more people aren’t epistemologists.

Last year there was a slight verbal scuffle between Drs. Michael Shermer and Freeman Dyson on the matter of evidence for the existence of the paranormal. I read both tracts and found myself siding with Dyson, who thinks there is reason to think that paranormal phenomenon might be a justified belief, rather than Shermer, one of America’s most prominent Skeptics.

So I wrote a paper on the material, filling out the vague argument I thought Dyson was suggesting, for presentation at a conference.

A version of this paper has now been accepted for publication in ‘The Skeptic,’ edited by Dr. Shermer.

This makes me happy. Happy because finally my interest in weirdness has produced not one but three reasons to think that we should entertain beliefs about paranormal phenomenon, happy because I’ve managed to write a paper on Epistemology that is scientist-friendly (according to Shermer) and happy because the paper is, whilst not overly critical of Skeptics (who I do think should become Epistemologists and also be a little more aware of the History of Science) does point out that garden-variety Skepticism, that which proclaims the Cult of Science, isn’t such a happy place to be after all.

I’m mostly happy, however, because this paper shows that Philosophy is, as it always has been, useful to Science (whose proponents often ridicule their parent discipline).

Whilst I may make enemies tomorrow today I make a friend of the world.


About Matthew Dentith

Author of "The Philosophy of Conspiracy Theories" (Palgrave Macmillan), Matthew Dentith wrote his PhD on epistemic issues surrounding belief in conspiracy theories. He is a frequent media commentator on the weird and the wonderful, both locally and internationally. On occasion he can be caught dreaming about wax lions but, mostly, it is rumoured he works for elements of the New World Order.