•  15
    Desirability without Desire: Life Extension, Boredom and Spiritual Experience
    Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 90 167-191. 2021.
    In response to Bernard Williams’ suspicion that we would inevitably become bored with immortal life, John Martin Fischer has argued that we could continue to enjoy repeatable pleasures such as fine wine, beautiful music, and spiritual experiences. In more recent work on near-death experiences, Fischer has also explored the non-religious meaning of spiritual experiences in more depth. I join this deeper exploration of spiritual experience, and I also join Williams’ critics who question his view t…Read more
  •  52
    Can Life Be Meaningful without Free Will?
    Philosophia 47 (4): 1069-1086. 2019.
    If we lack deep free agency, like that supposed by metaphysical libertarianism, should we view life as meaningless, pointless, or not worth living? Here I present a new argument in support of meaning-compatibilism, or the view that life can indeed be meaningful without our having deep free agency. I show that this argument secures meaning-compatibilism more effectively than an argument provided by Derk Pereboom. In the process, we learn that Susan Wolf’s hybrid theory of meaning in life is not e…Read more
  •  24
    Liberating Spirit from Santayana’s Spectatorial Spirituality
    Overheard in Seville 36 (36): 99-114. 2018.
    Santayana's spectatorial view of spirituality asserts that the desire to live is unspiritual, but this produces too narrow a view of the spiritual life, sup-pressing the heart of spirituality, while distorting his understanding of atti-tudes relevant to spirituality such as charity and piety. In my critique, I tar-get Santayana’s theoretical distinction between psyche and spirit, indicating why it should be abandoned in favor of a view that identifies spirit with at least some part of psyche. Th…Read more
  •  40
    The option of being ‘spiritual but not religious’ deserves much more philosophical attention. That is the aim here, taking the work of Robert Solomon as a starting point, with focus on the particular issues around viewing life as gift. This requires analysis of ‘existential gratitude’ to show that there can be gratitude for things without gratitude to someone for providing things, and also closer attention to the role that metaphor plays in cognition. I consider two main concerns with gift and g…Read more