I’ve just returned from a thoroughly engaging evening discussing skeptical and rational thought (it started with an examination of Osteopathy). I had injected my mature-age-graduate self into the more undergraduate-leaning student club beautifully entitled “The ANU League of Godlessness” (clearly I could not resist gravitating to such a club). The discussion that followed, over drinks, with one or two members wound its way to a discussion about logical thought more generally and how arguments can be constructed (and abused). Wonderful stuff!
What I loved was just how fascinating the world of philosophy and the brain can be. The intersections of logic and psychology and how we live as humans is intriguing, and we did get on to things like gambling and how that works not just in principle, but in operation.
After such discussions, I always come away enlivened, but also just a little concerned. Why are these things so fascinating to me, why do I like not just talking and thinking about them, but also reading about them and delving deeper.
Why, in other words, am I engaged in geological research, a quite different field? Why do I not seek out popular science in geology (not that there is much) and tend to go for other realms of science and philosophy? Why aren’t I in philosophy, or biology, or physics (leaving aside my questionable skill in mathematics)?
So I have questions for the scientists of you: Have you ever questioned your motivations and desires in your own field? Have you ever been depressed about your research and sought greener pastures over the fence? How many of you have done something about that and actually changed?
Perhaps its just this goddamned paper I’m trying to write.