Advice from John Searle – Find the questions you are passionate about

In an interview with John R. Searle, there was this exchange (edited):

 Searle: That’s my main objection to contemporary philosophy: they’ve lost sight of the questions. …

Interviewer: … But what advice would you give to a young philosopher starting out to not lose sight of the questions?

Searle: Well, my advice would be to take questions that genuinely worry you. Take questions that really keep you awake at nights, and work on them with passion. I think what we try to do is bully the graduate students. The graduate students suffer worse than the undergraduates. We bully the graduate students into thinking that they have to accept our conception of what is a legitimate philosophical problem, so very few of them come with their own philosophical problems. They get an inventory of problems that they get from their professors. My bet would be to follow your own passion. That would be my advice. That’s what I did.

Indeed! The idea is to find the questions that matter, at least to you and pursue them doggedly.

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