Elijah Millgram on the Philosophical Life | Conversations with Tyler
Elijah Millgram, a professor of philosophy at the University of Utah, discusses the philosophical life, focusing on the theories of rationality and the impact of philosophers’ ideas on their own lives.
He explores the relevance of philosophers like John Stuart Mill and Friedrich Nietzsche in the modern world, and the importance of personal experience in decision-making.
Debunking the Simulation Hypothesis
The simulation hypothesis, suggesting that we might be living in a simulated reality, is countered by the argument that a simulation would have a recognizable style, akin to a work of art.
The absence of such a style in our universe suggests that we are not living in a simulation.
Evolution of Philosophical Views
Philosophical views evolve through conversations, even when two philosophers disagree.
This evolution doesn’t necessarily lead to agreement, but rather to a mutation of views to accommodate the objections raised by the other.
Questioning Truth-Seeking in Philosophy
If philosophers are truly truth seekers, the evolution of philosophical views should be a random walk.
However, the evolution of views is not random, but rather moves bit by bit towards a new position.
This raises the question of whether philosophers are more interested in being interesting than in seeking the truth.
Cyclical Nature of Philosophy
Philosophical positions evolve in a predictable way before collapsing and being reinvented.
Philosophers are forced into certain patterns of ideas that do not produce convergence, but which they are helpless against.
Relevance of Nietzsche’s Work
Nietzsche’s work remains relevant today as it offers insights that we have yet to fully understand and appreciate.
His work is context-specific and we have yet to catch up to some of the moves Nietzsche made in his philosophy.
You learn what’s important and what matters from experience and if you don’t pay attention to your own experience, you’ll go off marching in some direction that you in the end are going to find probably really disappointing. – Elijah Millgram
Nietzsche’s Writing Style
Nietzsche’s later writings are choppy due to his illness, which limited his working time to 20 minutes.
Despite this, his writings are philosophically interesting and offer valuable insights.
I’m in the very peculiar position of being in a job where I’m paid to have opinions and so I feel that I can’t have opinions unless I’ve worked for them and I can back them up and that means that unless I’ve done my homework, I don’t have an opinion. – Elijah Millgram
Importance of Nietzsche’s Work
Nietzsche’s work is still important because it offers insights that we have yet to fully understand and appreciate.
His work challenges traditional philosophical views on values and provides a unique perspective on religion.
Ideas and Their Life Impacts
The relationship between the ideas of famous theorists and their impacts on their lives can provide insights into how to organize and interpret our own lives.
This is evident in the lives of philosophers like John Stuart Mill and Friedrich Nietzsche.