Massimo Pigliucci: What is Science?

A wide-ranging interview with a champion of reason

Steven Gambardella
23 min readMay 14, 2024
Massimo Pigliucci (Photo: Amy Quint)

“We need to put far less emphasis on facts in our education system and far more on process.” — Massimo Pigliucci

I had the privilege of speaking to Massimo Pigliucci. Massimo will be known to most of you as a great advocate and populariser of philosophy — particularly the philosophies of Ancient Greece — as well as being a practising Stoic. His explications of Stoic ethics are insightful and richly imagined, yet balanced with a dose of healthy skepticism.

On this occasion, however, I wanted to discuss with Massimo his highly respected work and activism in the philosophy of science and pseudoscience. Massimo worked in evolutionary biology before switching to philosophy, and so is widely informed in both.

Pigliucci has been elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science “for fundamental studies of genotype by environmental interactions and for public defense of evolutionary biology from pseudo-scientific attack.” Throughout this wide-ranging interview, we discuss science, pseudoscince, conspiracy theory, reasoning, and the education system.

It was fascinating to hear Massimo’s views, ideas, and vivid examples to explain just why science isn’t as clear cut as we can assume…