Newcastle, NSW, AustraliaÔÇöThis month, The Conversation, an independent source of news from the academic and research community, launched the real-world multi-author Philosophy blog ÔÇ£CogitoÔÇØ. This past week, Secular Policy Institute Fellow Russell Blackford joined a diverse team of Australian philosophers with respected public profiles who will generate provocative articles on a wide range of pertinent issues. Blackford is a Conjoint Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Newcastle and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Evolution & Technology who specializes in Legal, Political, and Moral Philosophy. He also frequently contributes to Free Inquiry, New Philosopher, and The Philosophers’ Magazine with careful scrutiny of social institutions, i.e. religion, that claim the authority to tell us how to live our lives.

ÔÇ£I defend philosophical atheism, secular government, political liberalism,ÔÇØ Blackford writes in his first ÔÇ£CogitoÔÇØ entry, ÔÇ£and a form of moral scepticism that understands morality as a pragmatically useful form of social technology.ÔÇØ

More literally, an expanding global technology has indeed been useful in socializing the type of philosophical dialogue once reserved for the collegiate sector. The Conversation began as a free resource in Australia in March 2011 and in the UK in May 2013 with a mission to encourage open access to valuable informational resources (under Creative Commons licensing). The Conversation US launched its nonprofit Boston University newsroom as a pilot project in October 2014 with the help of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, providing worldwide access to independent, high-quality, explanatory journalism.

ÔÇ£Our team of professional editors work with university and research institute experts to unlock their knowledge for use by the wider public,ÔÇØ promises the US company, ÔÇ£[and our team is] able to share content across sites and around the world.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£CogitoÔÇØ will further the companyÔÇÖs aim of promoting a better understanding of complex current affairs and of allowing for an authenticated public discourse, rebuilding trust in journalism and underpinning a functioning democracy. This aim is shared by Blackford and his team at the Secular Policy Institute, which serves as a proponent of scientific and rational principles in government. At SPI, Russell is included among more than 30 of the worldÔÇÖs most highly-regarded authors and academics, including Taslima Nasrin, Gregory Benford, Elizabeth Loftus, and John McWhorter.

ÔÇ£Ears are opening to science and reason on a massive scale,ÔÇØ shared Edwina Rogers, SPI CEO and 20-year public policy expert. ÔÇ£The wider reach of academic influence through the Internet and even through social media outlets has a lot to do with thisÔÇöso we can be thankful for thinkers like Russell and projects like ÔÇÿCogitoÔÇÖ. Every little bit helps real news to get noticed by the decision-makers, and this is where the discussion really needs to happen.ÔÇØ

SPI can be found at On the site are Fellow bios and secular resources, such as newsletters, as well as funding and volunteer opportunities.

You can read Russell BlackfordÔÇÖs introduction on the ÔÇ£CogitoÔÇØ blog, and find out more about him and his work, at

CONTACT: Madeline Schussel, SPI Policy Director, at, or Edwina Rogers at (202) 430-1888.