Theo Todman's Web Page - Notes Pages
Status: Summary (2017 - September)
(Text as at 09/10/2017 23:25:26)
(For other versions of this Note, see the tables at the end)
Rationale for this Report
- This is a summary report with links to my various on-going projects. Detailed progress is shown on the sub-reports.
- This summary report should highlight whether my focus has become unbalanced or otherwise inappropriate to the achievement of my major goals.
- As these reports are rather a pain to generate, I now produce them quarterly, rather than monthly.
Projects in Progress
- I have ten projects on which I would like to spend my time, which is too many. I had previously divided them into two groups, but currently I split them into three.
- The first two groups always have effort planned, but the final group in general does not, though this time I have assigned a minimal 1-2 hours a week to these five1 projects to keep them ticking over.
- The first group relates to my primary (project) life-goals; the second relates to lesser things I really want to address; the final group2 relates to those I’d like to look into if I get ahead on the other projects.
- Follow the hyperlinks for further details:-
- Research into Personal Identity3. This is the subject that ought to grab most of my attention, as it is the topic of my yet-to-be-completed PhD. I need to achieve something in philosophy, as this is the only one of my endeavours that promises a professional outcome (in the sense of being one of more than merely personal interest).
- Development of Web-tools4. This project is intended to assist with the prosecution of philosophical research. It is fundamentally an enabling project, though one I hope will have general metaphilosophical implications. The other two projects in this group are test cases of the method, as well as worthwhile studies in their own right.
- Studies in the Philosophy of Religion5. On and off, this represents the main preoccupation of my adult life (work and family aside). I intend to follow up in some detail interesting topics from the Philosophy of Religion module from the MA in Philosophy and Religion at Heythrop College, London University that I tasted at the end of 2010.
- Consciousness Studies6. A supporting project for both Personal Identity and Philosophy of Religion.
- Music7: Improve my competence as an oboist, and learn the piano. I have recommenced regular oboe-practice in my new den, and have purchased an electronic piano – also installed therein – so hopefully some progress will be made on piano-playing.
- Languages8: Gain at least a rudimentary understanding of 24 diverse languages – for practical and philosophical purposes.
- Bridge9: I still want to become an expert player but have recognised that this isn’t going to happen without it becoming my main priority and, since I need to respect the fact that I’m getting older and need to progress my philosophical endeavours while I can, I’ve cut its time budget drastically.
- Mathematics10: Revive / improve my mathematical competence with a view to the use of mathematics as a tool in my various other projects. Also – now that I’ll be 64 this quarter – useful for keeping various bits of my brain functioning11.
- Chess12: Improve my standard of play so I can perform acceptably in the Essex, London, Middlesex … leagues (whenever I’m ready).
- HiQ13: Enjoy and contribute to the intellectual society of ISPE and Mensa (mostly in abeyance, though I’ve re-revived my membership of ISPE).
- These projects are (approximately, in their respective groups) in order of decreasing priority, yet in practise the amount of effort expended on them has failed to respect this. My intention was always to restrict the effort on Bridge, and focus on Personal Identity. Historically, this resolve has seldom come to anything, and while I now believe that for me Bridge is sufficiently enjoyable and relaxing to be self-justifying, I’ve decided to axe it almost completely for the next few years.
- Unfortunately, time isn’t available at the moment – given my other commitments – to spend as much time on Philosophy of Religion as I would like. However, some immediate focus is required, so I have assigned 3 hours a week.
- I have re-joined ISPE, but can spare little scheduled time for taking part. I intend to read the latest issue of "ISPE - Telicom". Due to administrative confusion, I needlessly took their latest entrance test, but didn’t hear how I did. I have chased them up.
- I have ignored the various infrastructural elements of my life in these reports – in particular family life, household management, general reading, culture, current affairs and such like. We are expecting our first grandchild at the end of January 2018.
- This report and the sub-reports obtained by following the links immediately above show the current status. The report headings show the period the reports are for. Earlier reports can be found by following the links in the “Table of Previous Versions of this Note” further down this report, or in the sub-reports.
Planning and Actuals
- Overall, I again worked hard and overall “actual versus plan” was 101% QTD, 101% YTD – where the year is the 2016/17 academic year commencing in October 2016.
- The balance of the various projects against plan was distorted by my retreat from active Bridge-playing towards the end of July. This allowed me to spend a lot more time than planned on Thesis-related work (though far too much was spent on “background” reading, such as Aeon).
- The tables of actual versus plan are on separate pages, accessible from the following links:-
- For detailed breakdowns of time spent this year, by month and by study location, follow this link14.
- For a report by sub-project of time expended since my records began, follow this link15.
- For tables of Actual versus Plan, together with the high-level plan for the next quarter, see this page16.
- The planned effort for my Thesis is slightly less than it ought to be, but may be approximately what I can achieve. What I am working towards is to allocate to my Thesis the amount of time that I’d need to spend if I were pursuing my research part-time at Birkbeck – which would be something like 5 hours / day, 5 days a week – and then fit other projects around it.
- However, I recognise that – temporarily at least – I will need to spend a lot of time on Web-tools, both on my own behalf, in education and on the behalf of others, especially Bridge, though this is now just maintenance work.
- I have maintained the weekly total planned at 54 hours, which is rather tough to maintain since Bridge was a leisure activity while my other projects aren’t.
- I’ve decided to try to play the oboe properly, and improve my general musicianship so have increased my Music allowance at 7 hours / week.
- I’ve allowed an hour a week for five “priority 3” projects, with an extra hour for Bridge.
- So, the weekly plan (54 hours) for the next quarter is as below:-
- Priority 1: 40 hours
- Personal Identity: 22 hours.
- Web Tools: 15 hours.
- Philosophy of Religion: 3 hours.
- Priority 2: 8 hours
- Consciousness Studies: 1 hour
- Music: 7 hours.
- Priority 3: 6 hours
- Bridge: 2 hours.
- Chess: 1 hour.
- HiQ: 1 hour.
- Languages: 1 hour.
- Mathematics: 1 hour.
- Follow this link for a categorised list of recently17 purchased books. As the categorisation has got out of hand, follow this link for an alternative list of recent acquisitions18
Detailed Interim Activities
- As these reports are now quarterly, at best, I’m including a link to a brief uncommented list19 of what I’ve been working on since the last report (ie. this one). It is generated automatically from my time-recording system.
- Its main utility (to me, at any rate) is as a quick jumping-off point for the various writings in progress or recently completed.
- The list will, in general, be updated every few days.
Plans for the Near Future20
- Personal Identity21
- Continue with my Thesis22; in particular fill out those sections that I can write something on without further research.
- Complete a full review and update of the Notes I’ve created on Personal Identity, focusing on those with least content.
- Revise the Note describing my Current Beliefs23 on the topic of Personal Identity.
- Chapter 224 (What Are We?). Focussing on:-
- Human Beings: "Johnston (Mark) - 'Human Beings' Revisited: My Body is Not an Animal".
- "Dainton (Barry) - Self: Philosophy In Transit",
- "O'Hear (Anthony), Ed. - Mind, Self and Person".
- Chapter 625 (Animalism). Focussing on:-
- "Olson (Eric) - The Human Animal - Personal Identity Without Psychology", my core text,
- "Merricks (Trenton) - Objects and Persons",
- "Bailey (Andrew M.) - The Elimination Argument",
- "Olson (Eric) - On Parfit's View That We Are Not Human Beings",
- "Olson (Eric) - The Metaphysical Implications of Conjoined Twining",
- "Olson (Eric) - The Role of the Brainstem in Personal Identity",
- "Shoemaker (Sydney) - Persons, Animals, and Identity",
- "Snowdon (Paul) - Persons, Animals, Ourselves",
- Review the work of Elselijn Kingma.
- Chapter 726 (The Constitution View):-
- Start a serious review of "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Persons and Bodies: A Constitution View", my other core text.
- Read and review "Corcoran (Kevin) - Rethinking Human Nature: A Christian Materialist Alternative to the Soul".
- Write a Note on "Loose (Jonathan) - Constitution and the Falling Elevator".
- Chapter 1027 (Thought Experiments):-
- Investigate Transhumanism28.
- In particular,
→ Briefly review "O'Connell (Mark) - To be a Machine",
→ Read "Bostrom (Nick) - Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies",
→ Review "Rowson (Jonathan) - Deep Thinking?",
→ Detailed review of "Graziano (Michael) - Endless fun".
- Chapter 1129 (Resurrection):-
- Start a thorough review of "Martin (L. Michael) & Augustine (Keith) - The Myth of an Afterlife: The Case against Life After Death",
- Start a review of "Luper (Steven), Ed. - The Cambridge Companion to Life and Death", especially
→ "Olson (Eric) - The Nature of People",
- Start a review of "Bradley (Ben), Feldman (Fred) & Johansson (Jens) - The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Death", especially
→ "Zimmerman (Dean) - Personal Identity and the Survival of Death",
- Read and review "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Death and the Afterlife",
- "Corcoran (Kevin) - Dualism, Materialism and the Problem of Post Mortem Survival".
- As background tasks:-
- Convert old PDF-précis, Etc30. to Notes,
- Complete cataloguing the books downloaded from Springer,
- Continue with "Marshall (Richard) - Philosophy at 3:AM: Questions and Answers with 25 Top Philosophers",
- Complete "Erber (Joan T.) & Szuchman (Lenore T.) - Great Myths of Aging",
- Complete "Lebens (Samuel) & Goldschmidt (Tyron) - The Promise of a New Past", and send to Sophie
- Continue reading and reviewing papers issued by Aeon,
- Keep up with the Journals via JSTOR31.
- Philosophy of Religion32.
- Philosophy of Religion: Read "Antony (Louise M.) - Philosophers without Gods: Meditations on Atheism and the Secular Life".
- Read appropriate items from Aeon.
- Attend the OBT Conference at St. John’s on Jesus in the Old Testament.
- Re-read and write notes on "Papineau (David) - Introducing Consciousness",
- Re-read and review notes on "Crane (Tim) - Elements of Mind - An Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind",
- Read appropriate papers from Aeon.
- Keep in touch with the Bridge scene, if possible.
- Probably attend the ECBA Committee meeting on 1st November.
- Bridge Study37:-
- Read "Reading - Bridge - Magazines",
- Read a bunch of books and papers recently acquired on the topic of counting the hand, namely:-
- "Bourke (Tim) & Smith (Marc), Bird (David) - Countdown to Winning Bridge"
- "Lawrence (Mike) - How to read your opponents' cards: The bridge expert's way to locate missing high cards"
- "Baston (Jim) - Memory Systems at Bridge"
- "Doroshow (Bill) - The One That Got Away"
- "Frick (Robert) - The Subtle Joy of Counting (at Bridge)"
- "Kniest (Tom) - Count, count, count (at Bridge)"
- "Schamehorn (Danny) - Danny’s Musings and the Joy of Counting in Bridge"
- "Schutzman (Howard) - Counting Distribution (at Bridge)"
- "Walker (Karen) - Developing Counting Skills (at Bridge)"
- Study various lecture-handouts from Marc Chawner:-
- "Chawner (Marc) - Competitive Bidding",
- "Chawner (Marc) - Slam Bidding",
- "Chawner (Marc) - The Case for the Defence",
- "Chawner (Marc) - Pairs Tactics",
- "Chawner (Marc) - Teams Tactics", and
- "Chawner (Marc) - Your Lead Partner".
- Study "Kelsey (Hugh) & Glauert (Michael) - Bridge Odds for Practical Players".
- Study "Mollo (Victor) - Case for the Defence".
- Read (or complete) a few books recommended by Dave:-
- "Lawrence (Mike) - The Complete Book on Overcalls at Contract Bridge".,
- "Kelsey (Hugh) - Deceptive Plays in Bridge", and
- "Lawrence (Mike) - How to Play Card Combinations".
- Play the occasional training game against my Monte Carlo Mephisto.
- Get to grips with Chessmaster – Grandmaster Edition.
- Undertake a quick third run through of "Martin (Andrew) - The Basics of Winning Chess", and write brief notes.
- Complete a first run-through of "Aagaard (Jacob) - Basic Positional Ideas".
- Continue reading "Hearst (Eliot) & Knott (John) - Blindfold Chess: History, Psychology, Techniques, Champions, World Records and Important Games", and try to learn how to play blindfold39 chess.
- Start a serious study of "van der Sterren (Paul) - FCO - Fundamental Chess Openings".
- Read new copies of, and review old copies of, "Chess - Chess Magazine"; work through the “How Good Is Your Chess” articles.
- Italian: for trip to Otranto in May/June 2018.
→ "Wilkes (Angela) & Shackell (John) - Italian for Beginners",
→ "Freeth (Mariolina) & Checketts (Giuliana) - Contatti 1: A First Course in Italian",
→ "BBC - Italianissimo: Beginners Teacher's Edition", and
→ "Lonely Planet - Italian (Lonely Planet Fast Talk)".
→ "Lonely Planet - Lonely Planet Thai Phrasebook & Dictionary",
→ "Becker (Benjawan Poomsan) - Thai for Beginners", and
→ "thailanguagewiki - Thai Language Wiki".
- Attend the 6 sessions of The Enigma Ensemble. Working towards …
- Concert at Abbeyfield retirement home (date to be arranged).
- Run through the Enigma Ensemble portfolio, practicing the active pieces.
- Practice the oboe for 30 minutes every day – focussing on the above and …
- Occasionally try longer sessions to build up stamina further.
- Work through, and perfect, Grades 1-6 of "Trinity Guildhall - Trinity Guildhall Scales & Arpeggios for Oboe (Grades 1–8)".
- Perfect all the 12 items in "Van Beringen (Robert) - Festive Baroque - Oboe Solo".
- Work through "Langey (Otto) - The Oboe: Practical Tutor for the Oboe and Cor Anglais".
- Read "Caplan (Stephen) - Oboe: The Breathing Book".
- Piano: Try to develop some competence as an aid to theory, so:-
- Complete working through "Rhodes (James) - How to Play the Piano", and
- Try to play by ear, using for inspiration:-
→ "Cannel (Ward) & Marx (Fred) - How to Play the Piano Despite Years of Lessons: What Music Is and How to Make It at Home".
- Theory: Prepare for Grade 5 Theory, so:-
- Study "Taylor (Eric) - The AB Guide to Music Theory - Part 1", and
- Run through:-
→ "Taylor (Eric) - Music Theory in Practice: Grade 1",
→ "Taylor (Eric) - Music Theory in Practice: Grade 2",
→ "Taylor (Eric) - Music Theory in Practice: Grade 3",
→ "Taylor (Eric) - Music Theory in Practice: Grade 4", and
→ "Taylor (Eric) - Music Theory in Practice: Grade 5".
- Run through "ABRSM - Aural Training In Practice: Book 1 - Grades 1-3"
- Get a grip on the process of ear-training by reading:-
→ "Wikipedia - Absolute Pitch, Relatice Pitch & Ear Training" and
→ "Deutsch (Diana) - Absolute Pitch", and related material42.
- Read papers from Aeon as they arise.
- Take a look at "Brilliant - brilliant.org".
- Browse "Gowers (Timothy), Barrow-Green (June) & Leader (Imre), Eds. - The Princeton Companion to Mathematics",
- Study44 "Hamilton (Lawrence) - Modern Data Analysis: A First Course in Applied Statistics", and
- Complete reading "Shapiro (Stewart) - Thinking about Mathematics - The Philosophy of Mathematics".
In-Page FootnotesFootnote 1:
- The contents of this “no or little effort planned” sub-group changes from time to time.
- As noted above, since the contents of the groups changes over time, this justification for their segregation isn’t entirely accurate.
- Mind you, the mathematical bits didn’t function very well in my youth, so what hope is there now?
- And, in any case, bridge can fulfil that function.
- As my purchasing has now dropped to a relative trickle, I’ve extended the selection range to cover the last 6 months.
- Some of these are random purchases from charity shops, or presents. Others are selectively purchased in support of my various projects.
- Poverty and lack of space is severely curtailing my purchasing power.
Footnote 20: In the light of the segregation of my projects into three tiers, items for tertiary projects are only to be addressed if everything of higher priority is in shape.
- Or at least those recently added to my database, in the case of electronic items that sometimes arrive too fast to be catalogued immediately.
Footnote 34: Maybe without the final project.
Footnote 37: There may not be time or enthusiasm for much of this!
Footnote 42: Ie. The following:- Footnote 44:
- This is supposed to improve your sighted play.
- Additionally, it’ll make reading chess magazines easier as – presumably – you’d no longer need a board in order to play through the games.
- As noted above, a decent knowledge of statistics is essential to many of my projects, so I ought to get back into it. This is a gentle introduction.
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