January 2019

Is Envy Always a Vice?

At first glance, it seems hard to find anything positive in the phenomenon of envy. But upon deeper reflection, we can recognize that while envy is often demoralizing, antisocial, and even planet-destroying, there’s also a good kind of envy—one that motivates us to raise our game.

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#FrancisOnFilm: Brexit

Do makers of films that fictionalize real events have obligations not to misrepresent in the interests of telling a good story, particularly when they aim to make a political point? Is it permissible to fill gaps in a story with fictionalized accounts of events?

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Getting Clear on the Replication Crisis

Ever since the replication crisis broke in 2011, a number of causes have been identified for why a psychological experiment might not replicate. I want to suggest a possible reason why a study might fail to replicate, one that seems to have been mostly overlooked, namely: lack of conceptual clarity about the phenomenon being measured.

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How (Not) to Fall Asleep

Why can falling asleep be so difficult? I’m not looking for a third-personal story of the causal factors that adversely affect sleep. I’m asking a slightly different question: what explains that truly infuriating first-personal experience of trying desperately and yet failing miserably to fall asleep?

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Freud's Philosophical Challenges

Last month, I started a new series of essays on Freud as a philosopher. This month, I want to lay out some of the perplexing philosophical issues that Freud and his intellectual community were confronted with towards the end of the nineteenth century, and how they grappled with them.

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