In a philosophy paper, I saw the following claim defended:

They sometimes seem to think of the relevant projects as though they were books in a library that contains a large but finite number of books ... As previously argued, if we are to suppose that our personal identities make finite the bounds of what activities we can identify with then our identities do put finite bounds on which books are in our personal libraries

Here, 'relevant projects' mean those things that can hold our interest for a long period of time.

My question is whether or not this metaphor of interest is accurate. Do people really have a finite set of things that they can take interest in, and how big is this set? How exactly can interest be developed, and can any person take an interest in anything, or are there additional factors?

I suppose on a more psychological side these questions can be answered by examining what gives us interest. What are the psychological conditions for interest to arise? What combination of genetics, previous experience, context, etc. gives rise to interest?

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Psychology.SE. Please read our site tour to see how we work. I feel this question has a better fit at Philosophy.SE. Can you please edit your question adding more to highlight how this question is related to the sciences of psychology and neuroscience rather than just a philosophical question? $\endgroup$ Jan 2 '20 at 12:55
  • $\begingroup$ @ChrisRogers I edited to maybe ask a more psychological question. Does that help? $\endgroup$
    – user25013
    Jan 4 '20 at 22:13
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to psych.SE. I'm concerned that the question as asked is too broad for this forum - I suspect that entire books have been written on this topic. As well, I notice that the term "interest" does not appear in the quote provided - it seems to be referring to "activities we can identify with", which may or may not be a different matter. Perhaps asking something a little more focused would work better - like "Can environmental factors infinitely expand a person's potential interest areas?" $\endgroup$
    – Arnon Weinberg
    Jan 6 '20 at 17:18
  • $\begingroup$ @ArnonWeinberg Thank you, I asked another question here. $\endgroup$
    – user25013
    Jan 7 '20 at 23:26

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