Interviews

Q: The notion that certain mental structures are inborn and not derivable from our environments is one that goes back to the ancient Greeks, particularly Plato who first raised this question in his works Meno and Phaedo. Much later, 17th-century rationalists like René Descartes and Gottfried Leibniz further developed this area of inquiry. In fact, you have referred to your…

Q: Penguin’s Lives series paired “celebrated writers with famous individuals who have shaped our thinking.” Why were you paired with Charles Dickens? A: They sent me information about the proposed series, and I suggested Dickens as an influential author. Q: As a devoted and enthusiastic reader of Dickens’ fiction and an acclaimed novelist yourself, what particularly attracts you to Dickens’…

Q: You’ve devoted an entire career to exploring the ideas of philosopher David Hume. What initially sparked your interest? A: Although I was a philosophy major as an undergraduate, my exposure to Hume during those years was minimal. Even in a course that included many philosophers from the modern period, British empiricism received little time or attention. When I began reading…

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