On clinging

I often find myself wanting to refer to a certain dimension of emotional experience, which I'll call "clinging." This post tries to point at it. I also suggest that understanding this dimension can resolve a common confusion about Buddhist philosophy and other types of spiritual/therapeutic advice -- namely, how "non-attachment" or “letting go” can be… Continue reading On clinging

Alienation and meta-ethics (or: is it possible you should maximize helium?)

In a previous post, I tried to gesture at the possibility of a certain kind of wholeheartedness in ethical life. In this post, I want to examine a question about meta-ethics that seems to me important to this wholeheartedness: namely, whether you can be completely alienated from what you should do. By this I mean:… Continue reading Alienation and meta-ethics (or: is it possible you should maximize helium?)

Wholehearted choices and “morality as taxes”

In Peter Singer's classic thought experiment, you can save a drowning child, but only by ruining your clothes. Singer's argument is that (a) you're obligated to save the child, and that (b) many modern humans are in a morally analogous relationship to the world's needy. (Note that on GiveWell's numbers, the clothes in question need… Continue reading Wholehearted choices and “morality as taxes”