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How to Think Philosophically about Regret and Failure
July 20, 2021 at 7:30 pm - 10:30 pm BST
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Debut host John Danaher leads a discussion on how philosophy can be applied to our everyday regrets and failures.
We all have failures; we all have regrets. How can we live with them? Is it rational to ‘minimise regret’? Do we over-ascribe failure to our own lives?
This Salon will explore these questions and more, considering in particular how philosophical reasoning and insight can help us to develop a more rational attitude toward regret and failure. We will consider the important conceptual distinction between regret and failure and how we often confuse the two things. We will examine the idea that life is a series of branching possibilities and how as a result of this mental model we often, irrationally, lament the roads not taken.
We will also consider some psychological research on regret and failure and whether we can learn how to live better by studying the regrets that people have on their deathbeds.
[Note: the first three pieces were written by the host and encapsulate some of his thinking on these questions]
- ‘The Wisdom of Regret’
- ‘Failure: A Philosophical Analysis‘
- ‘Possible worlds and Possible Lives‘
- ‘Do deathbed regrets give us a special insight into what really matters in life?‘
- ‘Should you keep a CV of Failures?’
- Johannes Haushofer’s CV of Failures
Optional (longer – academic):
- Regret, Remorse and the Twilight Perspective by Christopher Cowley
- The Ideal Road not Taken: The Self-Discrepancies Involved in People’s Most Enduring Regrets‘ by Davidai and Gilovich
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