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Status Reports - Status: Personal Identity (2017 - September)

Rationale for this Project


Summary of Progress during July - September 2017
  1. I spent 340 hours in 3Q17 on my Thesis or Thesis-related work (828 hours YTD, where for “YTD” – Year to Date – I mean the (academic) year that commenced in October 2016). That’s 185% of the planned effort (113% YTD). Overall, 48% of my Project effort in the Quarter was directed towards this project (making 31% YTD) – as against 26% planned (27% YTD).
  2. I’d slightly reduced my planned effort, but in fact doubled the time I’d spent on this project in the previous quarter. This was enabled because of the amount of time liberated as a result of my abandonment of Bridge. About time too, I might add. Maybe unfortunately, this free time and more besides was spent on the item below.
  3. As last quarter, a considerable amount of time was spent on papers issued under the aegis of Aeon, including sorting out the filing system and the summary Note. These are very interesting, and of wide scope. Not many of them are strictly germane to my research interests, but – as in the last two quarters – I continued to read – and where possible remark on – the one or two of interest that appear daily. I have found this very satisfying and it has raised a lot of issues across a broad range of topics, many relevant to my research.
  4. A lead from the above was the work of Elselijn Kingma on the metaphysics of pregnancy, and the possible implications for animalism.
  5. I completely re-wrote the Note describing my Current Beliefs on the topic of Personal Identity. I found this a very useful exercise, and it is also useful in determining which other Notes require urgent progression. I sent this to Pete for review, and have received some interesting feedback. Sophie Botros has agreed to review it as well, when I’ve licked it into shape.
  6. Sophie got me to update her website to announce her new book, published towards the end of September, "Botros (Sophie) - Truth, Time and History: A Philosophical Enquiry". She invited me to a Salon run by Oliver Black at his house in Spittalfields and at which she gave a talk on the topic. She gave me a copy of the book which is of some relevance to my research. I’ve been added to the list of regular invitees to the Salon.
  7. Somehow, I got to look into the controversy raised by "Smith (Quentin) - Marcus, Kripke, and the Origin of The New Theory of Reference", probably via "Holt (Jim) - Whose Idea Is It Anyway? A Philosophers' Feud", though how I came across this paper is forgotten. I did some digging into Ruth Barcan Marcus and got hold of all her papers as far as they are available on-line (mostly in JSTOR), as well as the papers related to the controversy. I’d like to review my write-up on "Kripke (Saul) - Naming and Necessity" and complete its conversion to Notes, as this is related to my research, but there’s no time at the moment.
  8. I completed reading "Kasparov (Garry), Greengard (Mig) - Deep Thinking: Where Machine Intelligence Ends and Human Creativity Begins", and a review – "Rowson (Jonathan) - Deep Thinking?", which I ought to re-read so that I can discuss it intelligently with Chris who alerted me to it.
  9. Came across "Lebens (Samuel) & Goldschmidt (Tyron) - The Promise of a New Past", and studied most of it. I’d like to discuss it with Sophie (and maybe with Michael J. Alter) once I’ve completed it.
  10. Read most of "Loose (Jonathan) - Constitution and the Falling Elevator", which relates a couple of my Thesis topics.
  11. I updated quite a number of my Notes. In particular, those on Time, Computers, Dualism and Fetuses and researched their reading-lists.
  12. Progress between reports can be obtained from the relevant section of my Summary Task List.
  13. More detail follows:-

Thesis (Total Hours = 171.5)
  1. Thesis - Reading / Writing (Total Hours = 140.5)
  2. Thesis - Discussions (Total Hours = 3.25)
  3. Thesis - Lectures (Total Hours = 6)
  4. Thesis - Research Repositioning (Total Hours = 14.75)
  5. Thesis - Seminars (Attendance)
    • Sophie's Salon - Sophie's Talk + Discussion (2.5 hours)
  6. Thesis - Seminars (Reading)
    • Sophie's Salon - Journey + Planning (2.25 hours)
  7. Thesis - Seminars (Writing)
    • Sophie's Salon - Follow-up (2.25 hours)

Thesis Background (Total Hours = 168.25)
  1. Thesis Background - Reading / Writing (Total Hours = 148)
  2. Thesis Background - Books Admin (Total Hours = 17.25)
  3. Thesis Background - Status


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 12:
  • Hopefully, I may complete, or get stuck, earlier.
  • By “12 months”, 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 Bridge 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 13:
  • 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 23:
  • Try to keep up to date, but only read those that are strictly relevant – park 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: 09/10/2017 23:25:26



Text Colour Conventions

  1. Black: Printable Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2017
  2. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2017


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Timestamp: 02/11/2017 14:19:03. Comments to theo@theotodman.com.