You might say I am ‘engaged’ with my philosophy today. I just went to have lunch in Hall and my fellow mathematicians found that I’d lost the ability to eat: I spilled water down myself, dropped my dessert into my lap, sent my tray careering precariously about. Then on our way out I slammed open the door very hard, and had to use the rail to get down the stairs safely. My friends were worried about me making it to the Philosophy Faculty safely.

Let me stress that this is in no way put on. These were not me consciously expressing my agitation: I just found myself making these simple practical mistakes. The only conscious part is choosing to take the staircase very carefully, when I usually sprint up and down it.

My essay topic is innocuously titled, are moral judgements subjective or objective, but I’m being convinced that there are massive issues across philosophy going on here. This has been brought about by reading a textbook-like book by David McNaughton. Every paragraph is trite and obvious, but what it does is put the different authors in the debate in a framework, which allows you to engage with it—when these authors are hard to read, your mind doesn’t have time to work on relating them to each other sometimes.

So my current overwhelming thought is that Plato was so very, very wrong with his dictum that what philosophy is doing was separating appearance from reality, and the claim that this is the most important thing. Perhaps his metaphysics still works for maths but not much else. It’s Nagel vs. the prevailing naturalism of our time, no, more than that, it’s Hume vs. Kant, it’s the question of whether or not the realisation of just how much we put into experience to make it possible makes the Humean position implausible.

My fellow students are laughing at me which I think is the only appropriate reaction. Good philosophy does not get done in this state. But it remains an expression of its importance.