Monday, April 26, 2010

Bloggingheads and hedonism

I was on Bloggingheads recently with Jesse Bering, a psychologist. They've got the whole thing divided up into nice bite-sized pieces on the Bloggingheads site. Or you can watch it below.

A lot of the first part of the video deals with this paper I'm writing that defends universal hedonism. After doing the diavlog (that's what they call them), I suddenly realized that it would get people wanting to download the paper, and now I've spent a couple days frantically revising it. So if you're wondering how the heck the arguments I offer little pieces of in the video can possibly work, here's the paper! I'm probably going to do a couple more little revisions soon, but the big stuff is in there.

This is my first time doing this sort of thing on video, and I'm still learning how to do it. One thing I'll keep in mind in the future is to keep my eyes on the camera rather than in my lap when I'm talking. Another issue is that I'm good at talking about my research with philosophers, and I've gotten reasonably good at talking with ordinary people, but I don't really know how to pitch things to psychologists. Especially when I'm talking to a psychologist on video in front of an educated lay audience.

Jesse is writing a book on religion from an evolutionary psychology point of view. The biologists I've known in academia have been fairly skeptical of the whole thing and it's rubbed off on me, so we had a bit of a methodological dispute about how much you can get out of evolutionary psychology. That's a lot of the end part of the video.

Big thanks to David Killoren, who's a Wisconsin philosophy grad student and Bloggingheads associate editor, for setting this up.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Color analogies in metaethics

I'm trying to put together a list of people who have analogized morality to color in defense of one metaethical view or another. The best example I know about is John McDowell in "Values and Secondary Qualities." Geoffrey Sayre-McCord briefly uses the analogy in a defense of nonreductive realism in "Moral Theory And Explanatory Impotence." And in old times, there's Hume, who wrote, "Vice and virtue, therefore, may be compar'd to sounds, colours, heat and cold, which according to modern philosophy, are not qualities in objects, but perceptions in the mind."

Does anybody else spring to mind?