About Me

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Australian philosopher, literary critic, legal scholar, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. My latest books are THE TYRANNY OF OPINION: CONFORMITY AND THE FUTURE OF LIBERALISM (2019); AT THE DAWN OF A GREAT TRANSITION: THE QUESTION OF RADICAL ENHANCEMENT (2021); and HOW WE BECAME POST-LIBERAL: THE RISE AND FALL OF TOLERATION (2024).

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

My day

I'm currently reading the judgment in the recently-decided gene patents case, but it's very lengthy. Much of it is important to the particular case - establishing the standing of the parties, giving us a potted genetics lesson to make clear what it's all about, discussing the circumstances in which summary judgment can be given on the papers without a full trial - but not critical to the key issue of how gene patents can be brought under ordinary patent law concepts (and hence whether some or all of these patents are invalid). The passages of Justice Sweet's opinion that deal with the obvious issues of public importance are relatively brief. Still, I'm working through the whole thing to get it all in context. I'll try to sort out in my mind what the most important paras boil down to, and I'll have more to say over the next few days.

This morning, I see that Sam Harris has made some kind of further reply to his critics - or at least to David Hume, or at least to a simplified version of Hume ("the David Hume of the popular imagination"). I need to read this, too, and will doubtless have something to say about it soon.

Meanwhile, after three months of excellent health since moving to Newcastle, I caught a sort of throat bug while in Melbourne in March. I did get a bit of gunge in my upper lungs, but the bug never went down deep into my lungs or became significantly debilitating (unlike the heavy-duty bronchitis that I suffered through much of the second half of last year). Maybe that's because I was so healthy when it hit me. Be that as it may, it was never more than a nuisance - but I just couldn't shake it off, even after getting some Rulide onto it. Well, for the first time since I got it, I had a symptom-free day yesterday ... and likewise so far today. It looks like I just may have shaken the damn thing at last. (Stay tuned. I was saying similar things a couple of weeks ago when I had a couple of good days, but then it clung on and clung on.)

Most importantly, I'll be picking up Jenny from the airport tonight. She's been in Perth for the past week, visiting her sister, Kara, and going to Swancon 2010. Judging from our phone calls and emails over the last few days, it sounds as if she's been having a great but tiring time.

Stop press: My sister rang not long ago. Sounds as if my brother-in-law who is down in Melbourne today will be on Jenny's connecting flight from Melbourne this evening.

More generally, all is well this autumnal Tuesday.


Brian said...



Can I see some proof of unrestricted ownership? Did you buy the universe from it's former owner? Did you steal it? Did it appear ex nihilio in your lap? Seems you've some 'splaining to do. Assertions are the province of the desperate or lost. I'm sure you have a certificate or bill to justify your claim to the whole universe.

P.S. If the moon Pandora does exist orbiting the gas giant planet Prometheus which orbit a star in the binary system Centaurus. Can I visit?

Brian said...

Russell, when you've got time I look forward to you opinion on Sam Harris' latest post. I think he's pretending ought's are is's because they're common place or that nobody argues with them (mostly).