Contact with reality

In thought experiments descended from Nozick's classic "experience machine," you consider how being plugged into a machine that generates the experience of a certain kind of life (generally, a very pleasant one) compares with some alternative. Such comparisons are meant to tease apart the purely experiential aspect of life from other factors -- in particular,… Continue reading Contact with reality

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?)