Thanks to Tyler Cowen for pointing to Philosopher Derek Parfit’s Photography. I’ve never read Parfit, since my intuition and spiritual bent has always led me away from any kind of utilitarian or consequentialist moral philosophy. My commitment to the belief systems of my ancestors is based on my embrace of cultural truth in decision making. I’m living within an ecology of mind as Bateson so fundamentally put it. I choose not to live in a meaningless world, searching for my own personal morality as if I were God. I’m part of a vibrant, adaptive culture. So much of this technical moral philosophy fails to move me.
Like many of us drawn to photography, Parfit believed that most of the world looks better in reproduction than it does in life. Probably the lives of philosophers look better through their philosophy than their reality. There’s a ritualistic nature to Parfit’s photographs that seems to echo the obsessive approach to fundamental problems common to philosophy and creative endeavor.