Arina Pismenny is a philosophy Ph.D. student at the City University of New York (CUNY), the Graduate Center. She is writing her dissertation on romantic love, defending the view that love is a syndrome rather than an emotion or any other kind of emotion complex.
What is your favorite thing that you’ve written?
My favorite thing is a piece I worked on together with Jesse Prinz, my dissertation adviser, called “Is Love an Emotion?”, which is coming out in Chris Grau’s and Aaron Smuts’s Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Love.
What time of day are you most productive and creative?
Usually it is the pressing deadline that gets me going.
What excites you about philosophy?
I love philosophy because it can really make one’s life better. It teaches us not to take anything for granted, and, through reflection, to achieve a better understanding of ourselves and the world. Whether it is an issue of what is real, or how consciousness is possible, what is right, or what love means, a philosophical inquiry can expand and enrich our views and deepen our connections with each other.
What’s your personal philosophy?
Practice what you preach.
What do you like to do outside work?
It is very rare that I do much outside of work, but I love seeing my friends, going for a bike ride, going downhill skiing in the winter, and kickboxing throughout the year. I am also an avid operagoer. I am looking forward to listening to Tosca at the Met next weekend.
What are you most proud of in your non-professional life?
Learning to drive stick-shift while on a Euro trip. I thank my road companions for their infinite patience.
What are your goals and aspirations outside work?
It is always too difficult to separate work and life.
If you could have a one-hour conversation with any philosopher from any time, whom would you pick, and what topic would you choose?
I would love to talk to David Hume about sentimentalism and personal identity.
What three items would you take to a desert island other than food and water?
A laptop with internet connection, chocolate, a pet (if that does not fit the category ‘item’ then I’d take a stuffed animal).
What is your least favorite type of fruit, and why?
Strawberries, because they are not raspberries.
Which super power would you like to have?
Slowing down and speeding up time.
What’s your favorite quote?
“Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions” —Hume (T II.3.3 415)
If you were an ice cream, what flavor would you be?
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