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Australian philosopher, literary critic, and professional writer. Author of FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND THE SECULAR STATE and HUMANITY ENHANCED.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Back in town

After a long day on the road yesterday, Jenny and I are back in town. There's a fair bit of catching up to do here, but when I get a moment to scratch myself I'll post some photographs from the AAP conference and from Amanda Pitcairn's birthday festivities. I see that David Chalmers has a batch of photos from the conference on his site, including one with me looking quite Satanic ... with glowing red eyes.

I've kept up with Monash business by email, but there's a couple of referee reports that are desperately crying out to be written, so that's my task for the weekend. I also see that James Hughes has drafted an article about the IEET that I need to comment on. Next week, I start teaching again, though it's a light load this semester - just two tutorials a week (covering a first-year subject that involves, of all combinations, metaphysics and philosophy of sex) plus running one honours-level series of seminars on transhumanism. That's just as well, since I need to wrap up the Ph.D thesis as quickly as I can, and there's a fair bit of work to do to transform my current raw draft into something worth submitting for assessment (and trying to get published by a good academic press). I also have a scatter of speaking engagements through August - covering topics as diverse as religious vilification, the so-called "New Atheism", and designer babies - so it looks like being an interesting second half of 2007.

7 comments:

stuart peace said...

Philosophy of sex? I don't remembered being offered that when I was a first year. PHL department's attempt at creating interest in first year arts students?

Blake Stacey said...

"Metaphysics and philosophy of sex" does sound rather like a course invented to bolster enrollment in a flagging department, but perhaps my cynicism circuit is tuned a little too sensitively. Important topics should be taught about, right?

Your photo does look a little Luciferian, I must say, or perhaps more specifically like the evil characters in The Witches (1990). Daniel Nolan, a few photos above yours, looks like a rather youthful Evil Overlord.

Good luck wrapping up your thesis and transmogrifying your current book draft. Meanwhile, I shall try to figure out what to do with this odd wiki-appendage I seem to have grown.

Russell Blackford said...

Stuart, you studied PHL1080 at the Caulfield campus, which was metaphysics and logic (a nicely integrated combination). The equivalent subject at Clayton has a number of options from which you can choose two. I think we have just three options this year - the two I mentioned plus Karen Green's philsophy of sex option which looks very interesting (questions like: should we ban pornography? conversely, should prostitution be legal, where it isn't already? should we provide for gay marriage? should we allow polygamy?). My two tutes are for groups of students who have chosen metaphysics and philosophy of sex.

I think that it's intended to go the same way at Caulfield, i.e. with more options available, as we "grow" philosophy on that campuses and try to integrate our offering across the campuses and teaching modes.

I hope this makes things sound a bit less arbitrary. :)

Russell Blackford said...

Eek, what a lot of typos in my reply to Stuart! *hangs head in shame*

Russell Blackford said...

Blake's law: I like that. It must be nice having a "law" named after you.

And yes, come to think of it, Daniel Nolan does look a bit muahahahahaha-ish in that photo you mentioned.

stuart peace said...

My comment wasn't to be taken that seriously, it was pretty much off-hand, I never really considered the PHL department would create a subject just to boost enrollment. And even if they did, I don't really see what would be so wrong about it.

Also, I can't help to be jelous: they get to study sex, I had to study maths(logic)!

Russell Blackford said...

No worries, Stuart. I didn't mean to sound solemn, myself, just to explain what it's all about. We really need emoticons, don't we? :)

I'm going to try to get to all of Karen's lectures (I don't think I need to get to the metaphysics lectures, having lectured on the same material in the past). It should be interesting.