Does this blog post rest on a mistake?

I received a journal alert today for the latest issue of Phil Studies, and saw that one of the articles in the issue is titled “Does empirical moral psychology rest on a mistake?” The author thinks so, and I don’t really work on the topic. So, being a collegial philosopher working diligently on his plot of philosophical space, and recognizing the need for specialized division of labor in philosophy if any decent work is to get done on a given question, I figured the most reasonable thing to do on this matter was to trust that the author is probably right.

After thinking about this for a bit, I realized that there might be scores of topics that I care about to some degree, which have also been shown to rest on a mistake – in which case, I’m wasting needless emotional energy on these matters, which probably makes me a less efficient philosopher overall. So to rid myself of this anxiety, I did a Philosophers’ Index search on “rests on a mistake?” to find out where this energy was being expended, and have, since this morning, purged myself of any interest in these topics. Here, then, for your benefit, is a list of fields and topics we can all safely stop working on.

  • Metaethics
  • Kelsen’s notion of legal normativity
  • The defense of free speech
  • Naturalism
  • Higher-order music ontologies
  • Theories of consciousness
  • Origins of life research
  • Non-cognitivism
  • Modern moral philosophy
  • Twin earth[1]
  • The Husserl/Heidegger feud
  • Philosophy of action
  • Epistemology
  • Moral subjectivism
  • Business ethics
  • The idea of niskama karma
  • The traditional treatment of enthymemes
  • Ontology (twice!)
  • The free will debate
  • An inferential role semantics (which one?)
  • Environmental ethics
  • The Grisez-Finnis-Boyle moral philosophy
  • Moral education
  • Analytic aesthetics
  • Action theory
  • Foundationalism (did you catch the irony in this one?)
  • American philosophy (should we stop, then? Or just expatriate?)
  • Liberalism
  • The Gettier problem
  • Applied ethics
  • The philosophy of induction
  • Cognitive psychology
  • The logic of preference
  • Moral philosophy (also twice! Guess the second article ought not to have been written)
  • Recent moral philosophy
  • The principle of substitutivity
  • The analysis of religious language
  • James’ ethics of belief
  • Negation
  • Modal logic
  • Traditional aesthetics
  • The neo-intuitionist theory of obligation
  • Christology

Man, I feel like a Turing machine.

[1] Note: not ‘the twin earth thought experiment’, but twin earth. So either XYZ was a really bad idea, or we’re in some trouble.

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