How do we decide whether to undergo a transformative experience when we don’t know how that experience will change us? This is the central question explored by Yale philosopher and cognitive scientist L.A. Paul.
Paul uses the prospect of becoming a vampire to illustrate the conundrum: let's say Dracula offers you the chance to become a vampire. You might be confident you'll love it, but you also know you'll become a different person with different preferences. Whose preferences do you prioritize: yours now, or yours after becoming a vampire? Similarly, whose preferences do we prioritize when deciding how to engage with technology and social media: ours now, or ours after becoming users — to the point of potentially becoming attention-seeking vampires?
Today with L.A. Paul, we're raising the stakes of the social media conversation — from technology that steers our time and attention, to technology that fundamentally transforms who we are and what we want. Tune in as Paul, Tristan Harris, and Aza Raskin explore the complexity of transformative experiences, and how to approach their ethical design.
L.A. Paul is the Millstone Family Professor of Philosophy and Professor of Cognitive Science at Yale University. Her research explores questions about topics including the nature of the self, decision-making, and essence. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Humanities Center, and is the author of three books, including “Transformative Experience” and “Causation: A User’s Guide.” Paul’s work on transformative experience has been covered in media venues such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and NPR.
L.A. Paul’s 2014 book on decision-making in circumstances where assessment is difficult or impossible.
James P. Carse’s book on games with an object of winning, leading to the game’s end, versus games that continue.
Daniel Schmachtenberger’s talk with Jordan Greenhall and Forrest Landry, where they elaborate the notion of omni-consideration — decisions made to minimize externalities, and enhance alignment between the well-being of the agents and the commons.