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Self & identity

This tag is associated with 86 posts

The implications of longevity

Crime hard-liners were always fond of the simplistic slogan “Life means life”. What we’re now learning is that when the meaning of “life” changes, the meaning of life changes, too.

Daniel Dennett’s hard problem

Whether you buy Dennett’s account or not, it illustrates just how much you can offer by way of a theory of consciousness without addressing the Hard Problem. … If he is to win over his critics, Dennett’s own hard problem is his need to do more to show why others should give up theirs.

How to win the argument

“I say to people in Québec: your kids are going to change you more than all these immigrants. I’m a grandfather now and I see what has happened over these two generations and it’s huge. We dropped the central religious identity of Québec in this time, nobody forced us from outside.”

The Myth of Self-Authorship

One thing many of us appear to believe today is that a quick Google search will answer any question. As I discovered when trying to find out what we believe today, you don’t even need to do the search. Just type in the first few words and see how the algorithms complete it for you. So it was that the phrase “believe in” was completed by – as I suspected – “yourself”.

On Derek Parfit

TODAY – BBC RADIO 4. Talking about Derek Parfit, who died on New Year’s Day. Listen again for a limited time at 02:43:00.

When Derek Parfit published, it mattered

For Derek Parfit, getting it right was more important than getting it out, to the frustration of publishers and editors but to the long-term benefit of readers and scholars. When he published, it mattered, and so as a philosopher, he is one of the few of his generation who unquestionably mattered.

Who are we? Identity politics dissected

Video of discussion at this years’s Battle of Ideas featuring me, Ivan Hewett, Sunder Katwala, Michele Moody-Adams and Brendan O’Neill, chaired by Claire Fox.

Signing Off

At its worst, a pseudonym is a desperate necessity, the only means of writing as yourself. At its best, it is a freely chosen way of writing as another or extending oneself. The world-views that determine which form of pseudonym prevails are fundamentally opposed in values.

It’s the circle of life – starting September

Summer has ended, and with it the time of year when we most typically relax and try to enjoy ourselves. The shortening of the days seems to be a message to start getting serious again. So perhaps it’s no coincidence this is the traditional time to start a course of learning, formal or informal.

How to love a less free will

THE PHILOSOPHER’S ZONE – ABC RADIO. Discussing free will with Joe Gelonesi. Recorded at the Sydney Writers Festival.