A lot of people have asked me to file a report on how my week of virtual teaching went. I ended up holding 17 classes/talks/meetings, on four continents. Contrary to what I expected, only about half of these were classes—the rest were invitations to give papers and to meet informally with smaller groups. The whole thing was exhausting, but also tremendously fun and rewarding.
It’s hard to single out any highlights from the week, since it was all great, but just to give you a sense, here are a few that stand out:
- Most heartwarming: teaching the Republic to honors students at Houston Baptist University. So young and enthusiastic and full of ideas. I wanted to grab them through my screen and pull them up to Boulder to hang out with me for the week.
- Most surprising: giving a talk to a classroom full of scholars at Guangzhou University, most of them not wearing masks. At the end, they optimistically assured me that America would soon beat COVID!
- Most challenging: making a presentation to Eleonore Stump’s dissertation group at Saint Louis University. It’s like arguing a case at the U.S. Supreme Court. You’re lucky if you get two sentences into your brief before they start firing questions at you.
- Best show: 7am Thursday at the Universidad Nacional del Litoral. As it happens, the talk was recorded, and you can watch it here.
The Maimonides Centre for Advanced Studies (Hamburg) is advertising junior and senior fellowships for 2021-2022. The topic for next year is language and scepticism. The application deadline is December 10, 2020. Details here.
SUNY Stony Brook has started an MA in the History of Philosophies, East and West. This is a joint MA between Philosophy and Asian Studies, across the whole history of philosophy. Thanks to Rosabel Ansari for the pointer.
A year-long series of seven lectures on the theme The Christian West And Islamic East is starting up this next Tuesday, October 20, 2020, featuring Billy Dunaway on “The Epistemology of Theological Predication.” The series is sponsored by Dunaway and Jon McGinnis’ Templeton project, and by Richard Taylor’s Aquinas and “The Arabs” group. Lecture time is 9am in St. Louis.
Three days of talks on Theories of Paradox in the Middle Ages begins next week. The fun starts Wednesday, October 21, 2020, at 1:45pm in St. Andrews. Organized by Stephen Read.
There’s an interview of Scott Williams (UNC Asheville) on the podcast The Reluctant Theologian, concerning Scott’s new edited volume, Disability in Medieval Christian Philosophy and Theology (Routledge, 2020).
I don’t know about how things are in your corners of the world, but around here morale is pretty low and, as the semester grinds on, it seems to be getting lower.
Since I’m on sabbatical this year, I’ve been happily saved at least from the burden of online teaching, but alas that just gives me more time to tune into other kinds of unhappiness around the globe. So I’ve come up with a plan both to distract myself from the news for a week and, at the same time, to contribute a little bit during the COVID era. I’d like to offer my services as a virtual professor.
So as to put reasonable limits on this offer, it’s confined only to the week of October 26-30, but within those five days the offer is pretty much unlimited. I am prepared to meet with any group of any size at any level, anywhere on the planet: undergraduate, graduate, faculty, high-school students, 11-year-olds — anyone who is interested in the sorts of issues I am interested in. I am, moreover, interested in lots of things — pretty much any area of philosophy and any period in the history of Western philosophy, plus long stretches of the history of science, Christian theology, medieval history, and medieval literature. My idea is that I would try to teach whatever you’re supposed to teach on a given day. Try me!
If you want to book my time during this week, email me as soon as possible and describe what you have in mind. First come, first serve. And don’t hesitate to get in touch, even if we’ve never met, no matter how modest your circumstances. For that week, I’m ready to go anywhere, virtually.