happ ĮPhilosophy, oh, she got no bailiwick.
Hi, my name is Randy Mayes. I look a lot like this 1899 self-portrait by Giovanni Giacometti. I'm a Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Sacramento State University. You can contact me the following ways:
Google Talk or Skype: grandolphmayes
I see philosophy as the study of conceptual problems and am mostly interested in problems that arise in the scientific study of human rationality and behavior. I am particularly interested in the nature of explanation and how humans deal with uncertainty. Some of my recent publications are on the concept of explanation, the concept of privacy, and the concept of cruelty.
This is a selection of some things I've written fairly recently.
Regression Toward the Mean
Status Quo Bias
Roll Call Questions
(a selection of some favorites)
A perfect stranger sits down next to you on a park bench on a hot summer day, opens a cooler, and offers you 1000 dollars to drink a cold bottle of Evian water.
A perfect stranger hands you a gun and offers you 1000 dollars to put it to your head and pull the trigger. You may check to see whether it is loaded.
A perfect stranger offers you a million dollars cash in exchange for your soul. You must sign a document transferring ownership.
Would you agree to 24 hours of incredibly painful torture in exchange for 10,000 dollars if you were assured that it would do no physical damage and that you would remember it (falsely) as an amazing sexual experience?
What do you mean _____?
Would you participate in a scientific experiment about the efficacy of prayer in which you are required to pray earnestly everyday for a month that someone you don't know will die? You will be paid 1000 dollars.
I'd give _____years of my life for 1 million dollars.
Would you spit on a perfect stranger for 500 dollars? Assume s/he could not retaliate. Alternatively, assume that it is an old lady.
Just because I'm _____ doesn't mean I'm _____.
What is the least amount of
money that you would accept to break an inconsequential promise to a close
Would you rather believe a beautiful lie or know the terrible truth?
I always lie about _____.
Somewhere over the rainbow is my _____.
The meanest thing I ever did as a kid is _____.
I felt really stupid the time I _____.
Should you respect the wishes of dead people?
If I were a condiment I'd be _____.
If I were a tool I'd be _______.
I can't shake the feeling
Would you mow your teacher's lawn to improve your grade from a D to an A?
Would you play Russian Roulette for a billion dollars? (Assume it involves drinking one of six cups filled with a tasty beverage, one of which contains a poison that will kill you instantly and painlessly.)
A bad dream in one sentence or less.
Last time I really messed things up was when _____.
Good childhood experience in a sentence.
I'm not a _____.
I'd like to have a snack
It's bad manners to ______.
My least favorite body part
I was never so mad as when _____.
There ought to be a law against _____.
It's really awkward when _____.
If I could be invisible for a day, I would _____.
Is it wrong or merely rude to take something out of a person's shopping cart before s/he has paid for it?
What name would you give yourself after your sex change operation?
I wish I didn't care so much about ___.
Would you rather be fabulously rich and loved by no one or dirt poor and loved my many?
Would you rather have a spouse who is warm, faithful, loving, and butt ugly, or one who is faithful, cold, indifferent and incredibly beautiful?
Is it ok to spy on people in intimate situations as long as they never find out?
What's the funniest way you ever got hurt?
What people sometimes don't get about me is ______.
If I were a man (woman) I would be attracted to _______.
I take a peculiar pleasure in ________.
I tend to exaggerate my ______ .
When I get old I hope I don't ______.
You can't ____ a _____.
I'll give you evidence of irrationality: ________.
It kind of took me by surprise when ______.
Tried and true or something new?
Would you trade all the days you are likely to be sick during your life for a life shorter by that many days?
If happiness and intelligence were negatively correlated, what proportions would you choose?
The Wizdom of Johannes Pheeper
*Retracted 1/19/09 when compelling evidence to the contrary was provided by Christina Bellon.