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Status Reports - Status: Personal Identity (2018 - March)

Rationale for this Project


Summary of Progress during January – March 2018
  1. I spent 330 hours in 1Q18 on my Thesis or Thesis-related work (638 hours YTD, where for “YTD” – Year to Date – I mean the (academic) year that commenced in October 2017). That’s 103% of the planned effort (105% YTD). Overall, 53% of my Project effort in the Quarter was directed towards this project (making 48% YTD) – as against 43% planned (42% YTD).
  2. My planned effort is now 25 hours / week: approximately what I’d expect to put in to a part-time PhD. And, for once, I managed to exceed it, and that mostly on relevant items!
  3. Relatively little time was spent on Aeon reading irrelevant to my research. Indeed, I’ve not had time to read Aeon regularly.
  4. The main focus of the quarter was that I updated almost all my Notes on Personal Identity. As noted last time, I’ve decided to change my approach in the short term. Rather than spending ages researching the reading lists, I’ll just list those books / papers on the relevant topic that I’ve actually read, and supply brief text. As a second pass I’ll use what I’ve read to update that text. I approximated to this plan – updating all my Notes to reflect the new format – but didn’t quite have time to add all the items read, though I did research some of the reading lists for those I did add the items read.
  5. Read "Barua (Ankur) - Revisiting the Rationality of Reincarnation-Talk", which needs a file-note.
  6. Started reading
    → "Harari (Yuval Noah) - Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind", recommended by Naomi.
    → "Midgley (Mary) - Biotechnology and Monstrosity: Why We Should Pay Attention to the 'Yuk Factor'".
    → "Price (Huw), Cave (Stephen), Iida (Fumiya), Etc. - Preparing for the future: artificial intelligence and us: Part 1".
    → "Price (Huw), Cave (Stephen), Iida (Fumiya), Etc. - Preparing for the future: artificial intelligence and us: Part 2".
    → "Rodger (Daniel), Blackshaw (Bruce P.) & Wilcox (Clinton) - Why arguments against infanticide remain convincing".
  7. Carried out further work on "Olson (Eric) - Personal Identity - Oxford Bibliographies Online"; enough for now.
  8. Finished reading "O'Neill (Cathy) - Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy", required reading for all new King’s Cambridge entrants.
  9. Finished reading "Kazez (Jean) - The Philosophical Parent: Asking the Hard Questions About Having and Raising Children", which requires a file-note.
  10. Read "Edmonds (David) & Eidinow (John) - Wittgenstein's Poker".
  11. Catalogued a few more of the books downloaded from Springer at the end of 2015.
  12. The detailed list below reflects the Notes updated together with associated papers where I could be bothered to record time against these separately.
  13. Progress between reports can be obtained from the relevant section of my Summary Task List. More detail follows:-
Thesis (Total Hours = 257.75)
  1. Thesis - Reading / Writing (Total Hours = 248.5)
  2. Thesis - Discussions
  3. Thesis - Research Repositioning (Total Hours = 8)

Thesis Background (Total Hours = 62)
  1. Thesis Background - Reading / Writing (Total Hours = 36.5)
  2. Thesis Background - Books Admin (Total Hours = 19.75)
  3. Thesis Background - Status

Thesis (Aeon) (Total Hours = 10.75)

Plans for the Near Future – Top Priority Tasks
Summary of Progress to Date

This was hived off to a separate Note back in 2010, and hasn’t changed much since.


In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 6:
  • Hopefully, I may complete, or get stuck, earlier.
  • By “current academic year”, I mean the period ending on my 65th birthday – ie. 13/11/2018. This is not to slip!
  • On the plus side, I’m already much further advanced than would be expected of someone commencing a PhD.
  • On the minus side, I want to go into much greater depth, and have other projects on the go – most notably Music, Philosophy of Religion and my Web-tools project.
  • The reason for deferring to my 65th birthday is that this is when I get my State Pension. This may not be much, but it’ll make a significant contribution towards the fees and expenses, which I can’t currently afford.
Footnote 7:
  • This used to say “complete a thesis …”, which is obviously impossible, given that my idea of a thesis is way in excess of what is required.
Footnote 10:
  • This is obviously far too long, and keeps getting items “carried forward” tacked on to it.
  • Maybe I’ll prune it next time.
Footnote 20:
  • Try to keep up to date, but only read those that are strictly relevant – ignore the rest!
  • At present I have a relatively small reading-backlog, and a much larger reviewing-backlog.
  • Try to add a brief comment for each paper – maybe at the expense of reading the full text!


Note last updated: 21/04/2018 20:05:17



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Timestamp: 21/04/2018 20:07:33. Comments to theo@theotodman.com.