Saturday, March 15, 2008

Pitt/CMU Graduate Conference, with observations from the road

After a couple weeks on the road (with only shorter stops at home), I'm now back behind my desk, pen posed and books opened. I want to say thanks to everyone at UPitt (both departments) and CMU for organising a wonderful event, and especially to Mike Tamir, Balázs Gyenis, and Or (Xor) Neeman for housing me, and to my fellow blogger Shawn for excellent comments. Incidentally, Shawn has a report from the conference and his comments online.

In fact, I further expanded my blogosphere network by also meeting fellow blogger and speaker
Errol Lord. Errol gave a very insightful talk on rationality, mainly from the perspective of immunity from (rational) criticism. You can check out the full paper here. Unfortunately, in contrast to my luck with Shawn, I had the impression that Errol's respondent wasn't quite appreciating the force of the paper. Granted, the two of them had different perspectives (the respondent more interested in agenthood), but the comments certainly didn't do justice to the originality of Errol's contribution.

Overall, I was very impressed with the Pittsburgh philosophers, both students and faculty. Even the city itself, with its industrial charm and hilly, snowy skyline, felt like home to me. It is certainly better than its reputation.

(Thanks to Edward for mentioning the C&H comic strip.)

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