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Status: Personal Identity (Summary of Progress to Date)
(Text as at 21/04/2018 20:05:17)
This report initially covered progress prior to and during academic year 2007/8 at Birkbeck. “Year 1” is 2007/8, and was obviously intended to be followed by years 2-4. However, the lack of progress explains why this is not yet the case. It has now been updated with “Intermission Year 1”. I hope there will be no more than 2 further “Intermission Years”.
Intermission Year 1:
Year 1, Term 3:
- Supervision: 16th June1 2008.
- Reviewed2 "Fine (Kit) - A Counter-Example To Locke's Thesis", discussed at the above supervision.
Year 1, Term 2:
- Detailed term plan (not adhered to).
- Supervisions: 4th February3 and 18th February4 2008, 3rd March5 and 17th March6 2008.
- Wrote reviews of papers prerequisite to my draft chapter7 on “What are We8?”
- Commenced reviewing
- Completed listening to "Kagan (Shelly) - Death: Course introduction".
- Somewhat irregular attendance at Birkbeck Research Seminars.
Year 1, Term 1:
- Supervisions: 28th September20, 22nd October21, 12th November22 and 19th November23 2007.
- Essay24 on "Dennett (Daniel) - Conditions of Personhood" produced and reviewed25.
- Chapter-outline26 for my thesis drafted, reviewed27 and revised.
- Web-technology28 paper drafted and reviewed29.
- Regular attendance at Birkbeck Research Seminars. Some correspondence with fellow students.
- Reading lists researched & papers / books obtained. I seem to have accumulated over 3,000 papers on the subject. Note that while a lot of these are held electronically, I’ve not made my copies available on the web (for copyright reasons).
- I have my collection of 1,400 philosophy books and 11,000 philosophy papers catalogued and the catalogue available on-line. Clearly I will not live long enough to look at more than a small fraction of these.
- Reading commenced. This is a bit of an understatement. My database informs me that I’ve read 407 papers or book-chapters on the subject. Unfortunately, any notes on these exist only as copious marginal annotations.
- Web-based Research infrastructure enabled. I cannot stress enough how important this is. My theory is that we have many conflicting intuitions about Personal Identity (and any other philosophical topic) and our positions in one area affect those elsewhere. So, being able to get one’s hands on all these assumptions and arguments at the click of a mouse is a huge advantage. This is now the way philosophy ought to be done. We don’t discuss philosophical questions any more in the agora, so we don’t write dialogues. We don’t need to communicate by letter, so there’s no need for papers. Of course, there are issues of volume and quality control. I expect to write a paper-generator in due course. But before all this, I’ll need the material to link to. That’s where the real philosophy starts.
- Abstracts for many papers obtained and incorporated into the database.
- Research proposal produced and used as a prototype for the metaphilosophical model I’ve developed.
- Application to Birkbeck made and successful.
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Summary of Notes Referenced by This Note
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- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2023