Introductory Stuff: Michael Bishop

I’m Mike Bishop. I teach philosophy at Florida State University. And I thank the editors for inviting me to cause trouble here at The Brains Blog by writing about The Good Life: Unifying the Philosophy & Psychology of Well-Being (Oxford University Press, 2015).

TGL tells a story: Once upon a time, Philosophy and Psychology were inseparable. But in the 19th century, they went their own ways, sadder, lonelier, but confident they’d be fine on their own.

Fast forward to today: Still on their own, Philosophy and Psychology study happiness and well-being (mostly) independently. Philosophy builds intuitive theories untethered to the world, while Psychology discovers facts but lacks a theoretical framework to make sense of them. You can guess how the story ends. They reunite, each giving the other what it lacks. Psychology tethers Philosophy to the world, and Philosophy provides a theoretical framework that helps make sense of Psychology’s facts.

The tricky part is spelling out the details of this predictable and formulaic ending in a plausible way. Here’s the thing, though. I’ve already told that story in TGL. And I have other stories to tell.

So my plan this week is to cut a different narrative path through much of the terrain covered in TGL. Few of you, I expect, will find my story plausible. More of you, I hope, will find it provocative and entertaining.

Photo credit: Steve Downes.