Robert Nozick

I finished my doctoral dissertation when I was very young, at about the age of twenty-three. I thought I wanted to direct my philosophical work to questions that I really cared to answer. This is going to sound strange because one assumes that one will work on things that one cares to answer, but there are a lot of intellectually intriguing questions in philosophy: puzzles, paradoxes, little things that one can think about, especially in the Anglo-American analytic tradition, which were there for their own sake. I had a little imaginary experiment I haven’t thought about since then: if I were working on certain topics for two years, and if I were in an automobile accident that caused me to be in a coma, and then, when I came out of the coma, was told that somebody had solved this problem, but that it had been done in such a difficult way that I would have to spend a year of my life trying to understand the solution, would I still be interested in it?

Robert Nozick, in Giovanna Borradori (ed.), The American Philosopher: Conversations with Quine, Davidson, Putnam, Nozick, Danto, Rorty, Cavell, MacIntyre and Kuhn, Chicago, 1994, p. 77