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Apeirophobia: Eternity is scary af

Note: This post was originally published on Monday, August 29th, 2022 at my other, now defunct, blog Bonne Raison. It has since been substantially revised and updated with an afterword. The Scream by Edvard Munch (undated) A phobia is defined as: a fear, horror, strong dislike, or aversion; especially an extreme or irrational fear aroused by a particular object or circumstance (1) Arachnophobia (fear of spiders) and claustrophobia (fear of small spaces) are two, perhaps familiar, examples. However, in my experience, fewer people know about apeirophobia (fear of eternity). My aim with this blogpost is to change that. So I will now proceed to take apeirophobia out of a hitherto state of confusion and attempt to bring about some clarity on the topic. First, to give you a taste of how this fear manifests itself, consider the situation that the main character in the movie Groundhog Day finds himself. Phil Connors (played by Bill Murray) somehow gets stuck in a seemingly endless cycle of hav

Epistemic Trespassing: Stay in your lane mf

In this blogpost, I focus on the problem of epistemic trespassing . This happens when experts step outside their field of expertise and pass judgment on questions in fields where they lack expertise. Philosopher Joshua DiPaolo recently argued that epistemic trespassing is wrong insofar as it constitutes an abuse of expert authority that neglects novice vulnerabilities (1). I agree with DiPaolo and think that it's something more people should know about, especially at a time when a lot of knowledge is specialized and we--novices--often depend on experts for answers. So, below, I share a tragic example of epistemic trespassing that illustrates its harmful potential and very briefly consider possible solutions. Consider the following: A mother’s two infant children die suddenly and without any explanation. She’s charged with their murder and in court two possible explanations are considered: (i) that the infants died due to the rare sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) or (ii) that s

What should philosophers aim at?

In a recent tweet, Keith Frankish suggested that philosophers shouldn’t aim at being right. Instead, he thinks that they should aim at being usefully wrong. Keith's tweet; used with permission This struck me as somewhat puzzling and got me thinking about what philosophers should aim at. As anyone who values knowledge will understand, sometimes being right really matters. For example, knowledge in advance of a potentially dangerous storm can sometimes save your life. Similarly, in philosophical areas like epistemology and ethics, being right about some issue or problem is also important and possibly for others, other than the inquiring philosopher, too. When being right is actually important For starters, the threat of External World Skepticism (EWS) poses a significant challenge to whatever you think you know about the world outside your own mind. You may believe that you have real friends. But if EWS is true, then you cannot know that the people you take to be your friends really