McDowell is visiting IU this week.
Some numbers for the week:
Number of receptions: Two.
Number of dinners the department's paying for that I'm signed up to attend: Two.
Number of catered lunches for grad students: One.
Number of parties: One.
Number of the above that McDowell will be at: Six (assuming he attends his own receptions).
Hooray for free food~
Also there's a two-part seminar for the department, a public lecture, and open office hours. I'm hoping that somewhere in there I can get McDowell to explain what's going on with "Avoiding the Myth of the Given" (the bit where he limits which conceptual capacities are involved in the content of experience).
I need to figure out what else I want to ask him about in the next day or so. "Davidson in Context" and the indeterminacy of translation both come to mind. I also hear he presented a paper on the B-Deduction at the Haugeland (RIP) conference this spring; I should try to get a copy of that.
I also want to know why "The Content of Perceptual Experience" hasn't been collected yet. It's from April 1994, The Philosophical Quarterly (Vol 44, No. 175), and he told us to read it in preparation for his visit. So far as I could find, it's the only piece of his that wasn't collected in any of the four volumes of his papers (apart from short replies). If he hadn't told us to read it, I probably wouldn't have known it existed. (It's about Dennett and animal cognition; nothing world-shaking, but a solid statement of McDowell's rejection of the (more than causal) relevance of sub-personal states to personal-level explanations.)
There are some other things that've come up in the McDowell reading groups that I want to hear McDowell respond to, but I figure other people can worry about remembering those. Nobody else is going to bug him about "Avoiding". (It was news to most people here that McDowell had revised his views in the past decade.)
Meta-note: The blog is not dead; I was just busy with moving & work & such all summer, and since I've gotten to IU I've been busy with school things. Also, random articles and such I've wanted to link have ended up getting linked on facebook instead of here, which has cut down on the amount of random incentives to post I've had. (Feel free to friend me if you read this.)
One thing I meant to note when it happened, but didn't: Barry Stroud spoke here a few weeks ago, and I was surprised to find myself agreeing with almost everything he said. It seems his view of perception is now pretty close to McDowell's, with a strong disjunctivist aspect to it. The only place he explicitly disagreed with McDowell was in whether there was any reason to call his view "idealism" (which I tried to smooth over in the Q&A*), and the only place I noticed him missing something McDowell noticed is that Stroud didn't seem to distinguish between experiences and beliefs formed on the basis of experience. (Which made his views an interesting hybrid of McDowell and the still-not-quite-right parts of Davidson.) I need to get a copy of the paper he delivered, to make sure I heard him right; it felt strange to agree with Stroud so strongly.
*Stroud was referring to the part at the end of "Conceptual Capacities in Perception" where McDowell says the label "idealism" is "a good fit" for the view he defends (p.143 in "Having the World in View"). Stroud took himself to be defending the same view as McDowell, but was troubled by the fact that McDowell thought that this view was an "idealism". I suggested that all McDowell meant to be doing by saying his views are "idealism in an obvious sense" was indicating solidarity with Hegel, since it's clear that McDowell wants to defend "common-sense realism" (also on p.143), and Hegel is an example of a self-avowed "idealist" who also wasn't an idealist in the sense that seemed to worry Stroud. (He's also the only person I can think of who could say "the world itself is structured by the form of judgement" and not mean anything worrisome about it, which is another thing McDowell says. Kant can almost say this and get away with it, but McDowell is clear in holding that transcendental idealism spoils the story. I should ask McDowell if he thinks the TLP says it, since proposition 1 of that book is nonsense.) Stroud's reply was "Well, when I asked McDowell about this, he told me 'Idealism is not a theory'". And then everyone in the auditorium had a good laugh about that.
04 October 2010
McDowell is visiting IU this week.