2016/11/29 If you don't have anything to live for, then just do philosophy


This entry reminded me of a podcast called "philosophy bites." In its episodes, a philosopher is invited and talks about her topic with hosts, who are also philosophers.

In one of them, there appreared a philosopher, whose name is Kieran Setiya. He talked about midlife crises. It is a crisis which haunts middle-aged people, espicially when they have done all there is that they have been wanting to do or realized that you can never accomplish them, and have nothing to live for. He suggested that doing philosphy can serve as a cure. It is because doing philosophy is "atelic."

What does it mean to be "atelic?" An action is atelic if it lacks a clear end. It is a term used in grammar. In the episode, going for walk is presented as an example of atelic acitivity. I am not sure if the example is convincing, but I am sure that doing philosophy is a convinsing example. It never ends, or it wants never to end.

Mid-life crises occur because people are overly goal-oriented. Attainments of the goal ultimately leave one without any more goals to pursue, and the realization of the impossibility to attain a goal leaves one helpless. So, the root of the crises is being project-oriented. Then, as doing philosophy lacks any goals, it can serve as an antidote against the crisis.

Let's return to the entry I cited above. The author seems distressed by the worldly demand that he should have something to live for, that he should have a certain goal to pursue. But he has none. Then it appears that he jumps to the conclusion that there is nothing to be done in his life. This is a large jump. Just because there is no goal to strive for doesn't mean that there is nothing for you to do in your life. You can do activities without any goals. And philosophy is one of them. Of course, there are many other atelic acitivities than doing philosophy. But, as I am a philosopher, and I love being one, I want to recommend that you do it. So, if you don't have any goals to live for, then, just do philosophy.