I always learn something when I interview authors, but in this chat with Todd H. Weir I learned something startling: I’m a monist. What...

I always learn something when I interview authors, but in this chat with Todd H. Weir I learned something startling: I’m a monist. What is more, you may be a monist too and not even know it. Do you believe that there is really only one kind of stuff and that everything we observe–and our powers of observation themselves–are made of that stuff? If so, you’re a monist.

But what kind? As Todd explains, the history of monism is not monistic: since its birth in the nineteenth century, there have been multiple monisms (which, you must admit, is a diverting irony). You can read about many of them in Monism: Science, Philosophy, Religion, and the History of a Worldview (Palgrave, 2012), the edited volume Todd and I discuss in the interview. Despite their differences, all the monisms were radical, for they implied that there was no God and that religion was essentially an evolved superstition. This being so, monism was always controversial. It still is. Stephen J. Gould didn’t like it, but his colleague E.O. Wilson and most of the “New Atheists” do. Listen in and see where you stand.

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