Theo Todman's Web Page
For Text Colour-conventions (at end of page): Click HereStatus Reports - Status: Birkbeck (Spring 2008)
Research Students: End of Term report (student version)Note last updated: 21/04/2018 20:05:17
Name of Student: Theo Todman (part-time)
Name of Supervisor: Jen Hornsby
Term: Spring 2008
- In what subject area were you scheduled to work? Thesis – Personal Identity.
- How many tutorials have you attended this term? Four. 4th & 18th February and 3rd and 17th March 2008.
- If you have attended less than the prescribed number (once every three weeks for a part-time student), what are the reasons for this? Not applicable.
- What work did you aim to complete during the term? My intention was to complete a draft chapter of my Thesis (Chapter 2 – “What are We1?”). I had produced a very detailed but (in retrospect) ridiculously optimistic plan for the achievement of this goal, but couldn’t stick to it. I did, however, complete a proportion of the preliminary work, which was reviewed in the supervisions.
- How many pre-submissions/chapters etc. are actually in hand as a result of the term’s supervisory work? The above Chapter is now in suspense, and I have moved on to Chapter 6, on Constitution. I intend to make some progress on this in the Summer term.
- Where the work scheduled isn't complete, please indicate how much more remains for you to do. The work I have done on either Chapter is mainly investigative – detailed analysis of research papers with my own comments. I have yet to find my own voice. There is a lot to do, mainly because I’ve only found about half the time I need to do in order to address the course properly.
- What general comments do you have to make on the overall development of your work? I have found it difficult to adapt to part-time research, and no longer think I can continue in this vein. I intend to cease the course at the end of this year, and re-apply for full-time study in a couple of years’ time after I have retired from paid employment.
- Do you have any particular comments that you would like to make to the Graduate Standing Committee concerning your supervision this term? The reasons for the above decision are as follows:-
- I have found it more difficult continually to pick up and put down research than I had done in the past with short topics.
- Additionally, research is more in the category of “work” than undergraduate study, which I would classify as “fun”. Consequently, in the interests of psychological balance, I’ve been tempted into numerous other pursuits that have taken time away from my research.
- Hence research has proved more difficult for me to pursue wholeheartedly as a part time student than was the BA.
- The social side is also deficient for busy part-time research students (given that most research students are full time), and I have found a lack of opportunity to participate.
- Consequently I have less sympathy for the concerns and research projects of the other research students than I would have had I the time to engage with them. This makes the weekly Research Seminars less satisfying than might otherwise be the case.
- Also, research seminars are frequently held during the day (eg. Dorothy Edgington’s on Vagueness), when I cannot attend.
- Finally, my part-time paid employment (which was intended to leave room for philosophical research) has resulted in a full-time job squashed into 3 days, so that I’m frequently exhausted on my days’ off. Consequently, I pursue my research with less vigour than I otherwise might, especially when it is going badly.
- I produce a detailed Monthly Status Report for my own record at Link (http://www.theotodman.com/Notes/Notes_5/Notes_518.htm).
- My Spring Term Plan is at Link (http://www.theotodman.com/TermPlan08Spring.htm).
- My Thesis Chapter Breakdown is at Link (http://www.theotodman.com/Notes/Notes_7/Notes_733.htm), and
- My Research Proposal is at Link (http://www.theotodman.com/Notes/Notes_0/Notes_1.htm).
Footnote 1: (What are We?)
Plug Note1Note last updated: 01/12/2019 15:43:12
- This Note cannot answer this question. Rather, it’ll try to consider the sort of desiderata necessary for formulating and answering the question, and for deciding between the various candidate answers.
- For the present, I just mention that I need to distinguish, as candidates for what we are, (human-)
→ beings and
- Additionally, I need to treat of
and maybe contrast terms like “Wikipedia: Mensch (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mensch)” with “person”.
- We: the use of the plural is significant. However, the determination of “we” as “the sort of entity likely to be reading this paper” isn’t quite right, even though Dennett and others use similar expressions. Refer to the first parts of "Brandom (Robert) - Toward a Normative Pragmatics" in "Brandom (Robert) - Making It Explicit: Reasoning, Representing & Discursive Commitment" for inspiration on “We”.
- Intelligibility: this is a reciprocal relationship. We find others (of “our” sort) intelligible, and it is important that they find us intelligible in return. Does this thereby make R = “finds intelligible” an equivalence relation, dividing the world into equivalence classes of mutually intelligible individuals, or does R come in degrees and fall prey to Sorites paradoxes?
- For my Thesis Chapter on this topic, follow this link.
- For a page of Links to this Note, Click here.
- The reading lists below are somewhat bloated; but, in general, only a small portion of the works cited needs to be addressed in the context of this question. No doubt the best place to start is
→ "Olson (Eric) - What Are We?" (the Paper), followed by
→ "Olson (Eric) - What are We? A Study of Personal Ontology" (the Book).
- Works on this topic that I’ve actually read11, include12 the following:-
- "Baillie (James) - What Am I?", Baillie
- "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Big-Tent Metaphysics", Baker
- "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Persons in the Material World", Baker
- "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Precis of 'Persons & Bodies: A Constitution View'", Baker
- "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Response to Eric Olson", Baker
- "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Review of 'What Are We? A Study in Personal Ontology' by Eric T. Olson", Baker
- "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - What Am I?", Baker
- "Belshaw (Christopher) - Review of Paul Snowdon's 'Persons, Animals, Ourselves'", Belshaw
- "Blatti (Stephan) - Animalism (SEP)", Blatti
- "Blatti (Stephan) - We Are Animals", Blatti
- "Brandom (Robert) - Toward a Normative Pragmatics", Brandom
- "Claxton (Guy) - Intelligence in the Flesh - Limbering Up: An Introduction", Claxton
- "DeGrazia (David) - Are we essentially persons? Olson, Baker, and a reply", DeGrazia
- "Johnston (Mark) - Human Beings", Johnston
- "Liao (S. Matthew) - The Organism View Defended", Liao
- "Lockwood (Michael) - When Does a Life Begin?", Lockwood
- "Nozick (Robert) - The Identity of the Self: Introduction", Nozick
- "Olson (Eric) - What Are We?", Olson
- "Parfit (Derek) - Nagel's Brain", Parfit
- "Shoemaker (David) - Personal Identity, Rational Anticipation, and Self-Concern", Shoemaker
- "Smith (Barry C.), Broks (Paul), Kennedy (A.L.) & Evans (Jules) - What Does It Mean to Be Me?", Smith, etc.
- A reading list (where not covered elsewhere) might start with:-
- "Bailey (Andrew M.) - The Elimination Argument", Bailey
- "Bailey (Andrew M.) - You Needn’t be Simple", Bailey
- "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Animalism vs. Constitutionalism", Baker
- "Blackburn (Simon) - Has Kant Refuted Parfit?", Blackburn
- "Broks (Paul) - Into the Silent Land: Travels in Neuropsychology", Broks
- "Bynum (Terrell Ward) - Two Philosophers of the Information Age", Bynum
- "Chitty (Andrew) - First Person Plural Ontology and Praxis", Chitty
- "Corcoran (Kevin) - Rethinking Human Nature: A Christian Materialist Alternative to the Soul", Corcoran
- "Dennett (Daniel) - Natural Freedom", Dennett
- "Hershenov (David) - Animals, Persons and Bioethics", Hershenov
- "McMahan (Jeff) - Identity", McMahan
- "Noe (Alva) - Out of Our Heads: Why You Are Not Your Brain, and Other Lessons from the Biology of Consciousness", Noe
- "Olson (Eric) - What are We? A Study of Personal Ontology", Olson13
- "Parfit (Derek) - We Are Not Human Beings", Parfit
- "Richards (Janet Radcliffe) - Internicene Strife", Richards
- "Snowdon (Paul) - [P & not-A] Cases: An Introduction", Snowdon
- "Snowdon (Paul) - The Self and Personal Identity", Snowdon
- "Taylor (Charles) - Responsibility For Self", Taylor
- "Wilson (Robert) - Persons, Social Agency, and Constitution", Wilson
- This is mostly a place-holder.
- A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
- I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
- As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
- The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.
- Frequently I’ll have made copious marginal annotations, and sometimes have written up a review-note.
- In the former case, I intend to transfer the annotations into electronic form as soon as I can find the time.
- In the latter case, I will have remarked on the fact against the citation, and will integrate the comments into this Note in due course.
- My intention is to incorporate into these Notes comments on material I’ve already read rather than engage with unread material at this stage.
- I may have read others in between updates of this Note – in which case they will be marked as such in the “References and Reading List” below.
- Papers or Books partially read have a rough %age based on the time spent versus the time expected.
- There are hosts of papers by Olson that touch on this topic, but this book, and the paper of the same name, are enough in this context.
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Timestamp: 01/12/2019 15:58:40. Comments to email@example.com.