We’re all part philosopher, even if we don’t realise it. This is not to say that we spend our days flopped in an armchair reflecting on the nature and meaning of existence. But we do spend our days making judgments that are essentially philosophical in character – judgements about what’s morally right and wrong, what’s fair or unjust, whether she deserves credit or he deserves blame.
Behind these judgments lie a wealth of intuitive ways of analysing and making sense of the world. These shape how we think about everything from free will, moral responsibility, and the nature of conscious experience to the meaning of life, the significance of death, and what makes for a good life. Yet these intuitions are typically opaque to introspection, meaning that we’re frequently unaware of why we believe the things we do, and why we make the judgments we make.
The aim of this blog is to bring together new work emerging from cognitive science, social psychology and experimental philosophy that touches on how we make sense of each other and the world we live in. In short, the goal is to better acquaint readers with their inner philosopher, and in doing so shed light on the roots of perennial debates in philosophy about morality, ethics, free will, consciousness and the meaning of life. My hope is that meeting the ‘philosopher in the mirror’ will provide not only a deeper understanding of our own attitudes and beliefs — as well as those of other people — but a perspective from where we can question these attitudes and beliefs. Any feedback on this exploratory journey will be most welcome. In the meantime, enjoy the ride.