Certain philosophies (both Western and Eastern) describe us as prone to forms of attachment that are illusory, and promise to indemnify us against the hazards of life by exposing such illusions. The more we can conceive of what really matters in life as something purely internal to ourselves, the less we will see ourselves as hostage to fortune.
One such hazard is that of transience and temporal life itself, and it is sometimes urged that since the Present is the only genuine Reality, attachments to the Past or the Future are forms of illusion we can and should be free of. This talk raises some questions about the ideal of “living in the present” and escaping the contingencies and loss that are part of temporal life.
Professor Richard Moran is Brian D. Young Professor of Philosophy at Harvard University. He has published papers on metaphor, on imagination and emotional engagement with art, on action and practical knowledge, and speech and testimony.