Life Is Hard: Kieran Setiya On How Philosophy Can Help Us Find Our Way.


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It is by squeezing your life into a single tube that you set yourself up for definitive failure. Projects fail, and people fail in them. But we have come to speak as if a person can BE a failure – as though failure were an identity, not an event – Kieran Setiya

Kieran Setiya is a Professor of Philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is known for his work in ethics, epistemology, and the philosophy of mind. Setiya is a co-editor of Philosophers’ Imprint, and he is also the author of several books, including Practical Knowledge, Reasons without Rationalism, and Knowing Right From Wrong.

Kieren’s newest book, Life is Hard, How Philosophy Can Help Us Find Our Way, is the topic of this podcast. In this episode, Keiran challenges the idea that happiness should be life’s primary pursuit. Instead, he argues that we should try to live well, and living well means how one lives in relationship to difficulty – not without difficulty.

Keiren has a great phrase, “the digressive amplitude of being alive.” Life IS oscillation; it’s up-down, backward-forward, and expecting anything different is a setup to suffering, adding to whatever hard thing you are experiencing. 

We cover these topics and more…

  • On thinking philosophically
  • On consolation
  • Relating to pain
  • Failure and your credit report
  • The Experience Machine
  • Autotelic vs exotelic experience
  • The metaverse
  • On the profundity of the movie Groundhog Day





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