Praesidium

Monday, April 24, 2006

Monday

Yesterday was officially the first day of term, but in practice it's today since there are no lectures on Sundays. Typically, after waking early for most of the last few weeks, today when my alarm went at 8:20 I was really comfortable in bed and could happily have stayed a good while longer. (And my morning routine was then delayed by a 'revision question' I'd had emailed from a girl I taught in Michaelmas. I had to look it up, but at least it concerned what I'm teaching this Friday, so probably useful for me too)

The morning started with two lectures by Professor Robinson, an American academic who comes over every year to lecture on whatever interests him. He's a very entertaining lecturer too - one of those old guys with some quite eccentric opinions and plenty of anecdotes. Past topics have included genetics, responsibility and psychology: this year sees a repeat of some lectures on Hume and Reid, plus some lectures on Philosophy of Law, which he said were inspired by something I said last year about Finnis. I was pleased he remembered me, and suggested we should do coffee sometime over the term.

In the afternoon, I'd normally go to Nuffield for my supervisor's seminar. This week there was none, because Julia couldn't find anyone to present (though she had suggested she'd do it herself, she obviously had second thoughts - leaving me doubting whether I should have volunteered)

Instead I went to a seminar on W. D. Ross’ classic on intuitionist deontology The Right and the Good, co-run by my college philosophy tutor Krister, Roger Crisp and Philip Stratton-Lake (quite an expert, over from Reading for the seminar). I’d been looking forward to this class, and even bought a copy of the book in advance, but sadly won’t be able to attend since it’s time-tabled to clash with the Nuffield seminar. It looks like what I’ll be missing will be very interesting, and from the first week I feel there’s a lot to be said for Ross.

That was followed by the weekly Moral Philosophy Seminar, with this week’s speaker Adam Morton from Alberta. He was talking about ‘High and Low Stakes Morality’, but didn’t seem to have a clear idea of what high and low stakes meant. I asked if it was to do with the numbers of people or severity of what was at stake, and he fudged with ‘both’ before drawing a rather misguided graph (that should really have been indifference curves between the two). Still, there were a number of interesting ideas in his piece, and some interesting conversation I had with him and Shlomit in the Merton College bar afterwards.

So, one day down, and almost six hours of lectures/classes. This looks a very busy term! I bumped into Ayelet in Tesco on the way home - you could tell it's the start of term from the massive queues. When I got home, it was just time for a couple of hours' of TV, then bed.

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