Saturday, December 29, 2007

The coming term

I haven't yet brought myself to writing a substantive post, but I figure I can talk about the coming term. I'm going to be TAing for intro to philosophy of science, which I am looking forward to. In addition to that I will be taking a class on Quine and Carnap with Tom Ricketts. This will be good because it will flesh out my background in Carnap and I will see another perspective on Quine, having taken a seminar on his work with Follesdal. I will also be taking a class on the epistemology of perception with McDowell. This could be cool. I don't have a lot to say about this. Perception is all the rage around Pitt this year it seems. Finally, I'm going to do an independent study on algebraic logic using Dunn's algebraic logic book. I am really excited about this. It will, hopefully, help motivate me to write some more posts about logic and get those model theory posts off the backburner. I'm hoping to link this to some things about substructural logic and proof theory, since Restall's proof theory book makes the connection between the two. Somehow this term I've gotten interested in relevance logic, and this will, maybe, connect up to this directed study. In addition to this, I need to start doing work for the grant that I got to study Wandering Significance. Thinking and blogging are mutually reinforcing, so I will probably write some posts on it.

Once I finish up a short paper on Aristotle's logic, I can declare victory over this semester. The first term teaching was rewarding but somewhat rough. Teaching three discussion sections a week takes much more time than I expected. It certainly ate into my time doing my own work. A few ideas I had didn't receive the sort of time I had hoped to put into them.
At the start of the term all the new TAs had to go to several seminars on various aspects of teaching. One thing that we didn't have that, in retrospect, would have been nice to have was a seminar on how to teach and do your own work. I will finish this post with a suggestion I got from someone on how to teach and do your own work: shirk responsibility. Wise words.


Greg said...

I envy your taking the Quine and Carnap class -- I wish I could be there.

Shameless self-promotion/ -aggrandizing: if you're looking for a term paper topic, you could try working on Carnap and Quine's academic year together; Carnap's notes are available in the Archive for Scientific Philosophy there in the Burgh. I wrote my dissertation on these notes, and Paolo Mancosu at Berkeley has also been working on them too. I have a book coming out on this material. If you want to see my translation and transcription of the notes, send me an email. (I can't post them publicly on my website, because of legal issues with the Archive.) Tom Ricketts may have an older version in his office, if that's easier.

Anyway, I think the material is a potential gold mine, and Paolo and I have only begun to scratch the surface... but I'm biased.

Shawn said...

Thanks! I like the idea of having a possible paper topic before I head into the class. I was also thinking about thinking about the relation between Quine's taste for classical logic and his views on meaning, particularly as encapsulated in Follesdal's MMM (Man Made Meaning) thesis. It seems like there could be some tension there. I don't know much about Carnap, so I could become smitten with the relation between his ideas and Quine's once I figure out what his ideas were.