Manage episode 329799118 series 57115
Today we welcome John Kaag, the Chair and Professor of philosophy at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. He received his Masters in Philosophy from Pennsylvania State University and his Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Oregon. His writing has been published in The Paris Review, The New York Times, and Harper’s Magazine. He is the author of Hiking with Nietzsche, American Philosophy: A Love Story, and his most recent book is Sick Souls, Healthy Minds: How William James Can Save Your Life.
In this episode, my conversation with John Kaag revolves around the existential question we’ve all had: is life worth living? John expounds on William James’ answer of “maybe”. He shares about his near-death experience and how vulnerable moments in his life have led him to a more nuanced understanding of philosophy. We also touch on the topics of metaphysics, determinism, suffering, religion, and transcendence.
03:53 Existential anxiety, fear, freedom
08:50 Is life worth living?
11:14 Seizing control over existence
14:23 Metaphysical chance is real
17:36 The unseen order and human blindness
25:43 “Living unnecessarily near our surface”
30:18 Pragmatism, zest, authenticity
33:26 Resignation or hope in the face of mortality
38:10 Dissolution of the self
42:26 Spiritual narcissism
44:24 Companions in misery
49:28 Melancholy among philosophers
52:13 Life is for living
53:41 The loving cup