Living rationally and authentically means understanding that life centrally involves making leaps of faith, both small and large, and that the value of living is to a large extent the value of experiencing your life, whatever that experience is.
It’s always better to be deep rather than shallow. And I’m deep.
Living rationally and authentically does not mean that you map out your future by thinking carefully about what it would be like if you chose one path versus another path and then choosing on that basis.
If you are female, and conditions are otherwise apt, you are supposed to decide whether you want to become a mother by thinking carefully about whether you really want to have a child of your very own, what it would be like to be a mother, whether this is something you really want and will be happy with, etc. In general, you are supposed to evaluate whether you should have a child largely on the basis of what you think it will be like for you to have a child.
While I do not agree with all of the claims made by experimental philosophers, especially those who seem to think xphi will somehow replace the rest of philosophy, I think xphi projects are interesting and important, I love Josh Knobe’s work, and that these projects contribute something new and worthwhile to the philosophical conversation.
We should listen to both philosophers and scientists, because the philosophical contribution is different from the scientific contribution, and both of them are worthwhile.
Philosophers, especially metaphysicians, explore features of reality and of our mental life that are different from those explored by scientists.
The distinctive contribution that metaphysics makes to our understanding of reality is first that it considers questions about features of reality that the sciences don’t, such as the intrinsic nature of causation or the dynamic character of temporal experience.
Often the features metaphysicians are interested in, like causation, time, and essence, involve features that seem so basic or are so generally embedded in the way we experience the world that it takes special attention and focus to draw them out and develop an account of their nature.
I do think that metaphysical exploration is like scientific exploration, in the sense that philosophers and scientists are both developing models of reality, and furthermore that we all rely to a significant extent on the idea that models which provide elegant, simple and satisfying explanations are more likely to be true.
I argue, based on metaphysical and physical considerations, that we should think of the fundamental parts of the world as a mix of intrinsic natures, rather like a paint-pot filled with a rainbow of colors, loosely mixed to give a richly varied, spatiotemporally inseparable, spread of qualities, and that this mixture is what gives rise to ordinary reality.
I reject what I see as flat-footed accounts of the fundamental structure of the world, where we somehow assume that, because ordinary experience involves middle-sized objects in space and time, that fundamental reality must be essentially like that.
I think, in fact, that the connections between philosophy and cognitive science haven’t gone far enough, metaphysicians should be working closely with cognitive scientists when they try to understand the sources of our experience of parts of the world such as its causal and temporal parts.
I have quite a bit of sympathy for the idea that psychology and cognitive science have much to offer philosophy, and that the reverse is true as well.
There are laws of nature – of course there are – even if they don’t exist in some sort of bizarre Platonic Heaven.
I just realized, sometime early on in college, that I wanted to be a philosopher. I basically decided that I wanted to spend my life thinking as deeply and carefully and reflectively as I could about the nature of reality and our human engagement with it, and that taking a philosophical approach was the best way to go about doing this.