It seems that many philosophical positions are very depressing and scary. For example, a world without God, a world without freedom, or a world where everything can be explained away by science, even a world where everything that makes us human can be reduced to neuroscience. Not all philosophers endorse these views I know but how can some philosophers be happy people and live fulfilling lives with some of the positions in philosophy? I enjoy philosophy but some of the possibilities scare me or worry me too much for me to think about.

Whether one finds view, philosophical or otherwise, is depressing or scary is likely a function of one’s prior beliefs. If you already belief that God is the source of all things, has endowed us with freedom, and is the ultimate moral authority, then challenges to the existence of God may indeed be scary and depressing. But many atheists believe that there couldn’t be a being of the sort that provides the positive explanations of the existence of the universe, human freedom, and morality. But it doesn’t follow that such individuals can’t embrace non-theistic answers to such questions. Atheists can and do theorize about the origin of the universe, the nature of human agency, and the specialness of humanity. One who believes that the mind can be understood by neuroscience doesn’t think that the mind is “explained away” by neuroscience. Rather it can be explained by neuroscience, and the possibility of such explanations for such a person may be exciting and uplifting. Such an individual may delight in the natural complexity of the human brain, and its awesome abilities. Further, such an individual may also hold that we can account for human freedom within that same naturalistic framework, and may be thrilled by the challenge of explaining freedom and other positive features of humanity within the natural world.

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