Thoughts, Actions, Values

Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics famously begins with the following sentence (as translated by W.D. Ross): Every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and pursuit, is thought to aim at some good; and for this reason the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim. We can see here a point ofContinue reading “Thoughts, Actions, Values”

It’s Values All the Way Down

One often hears the claim that science must be value-neutral, especially in social sciences like economics, psychology, and sociology. This claim is one instance of fact-value dualism: the doctrine that facts are facts, values are values, and never the twain shall meet. Another instance of this dualism is the assertion (traceable to British empiricist DavidContinue reading “It’s Values All the Way Down”

Social Affordances and Self-Conceptions

As I mentioned a few months ago in my post “Idealism and Identity“, personal identity is, paradoxically, often a social construct. Here I’d like to dig more deeply into why that’s the case, but without straying too far into theoretical matters because I like to provide practical insights in my blog posts. For many yearsContinue reading “Social Affordances and Self-Conceptions”

The Meanings of Meaning

If you tell people that you’re interested in philosophy, inevitably someone will ask you about the meaning of life. Although the question might predate The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, ancient philosophers in the Greek, Indian, and Chinese traditions didn’t raise it. Personally I adhere to the aphorism that it’s best not to puzzle over theContinue reading “The Meanings of Meaning”

How Much Is Enough?

As mentioned in my post Delphic Wisdom and Modern Science, on the walls of the ancient Greek temple at Delphi could be found the inscription μηδὲν ἄγαν, meaning “nothing too much”. Yet how can one know how much is enough? Naturally it’s hard to say precisely – after all, if it were easy, life wouldn’tContinue reading “How Much Is Enough?”

Delphic Wisdom and Modern Science

Carved into the walls of the ancient Greek temple at Delphi were two proverbs: γνῶθι σεαυτόν (“know thyself”) and μηδὲν ἄγαν (“nothing too much”). Plato mentions them in his dialogue Protagoras, set around 434 BCE, but most likely they were common among the Greeks as far back as 600 BCE or even earlier. Although theyContinue reading “Delphic Wisdom and Modern Science”