This last essay was particularly painful to write. It’s not that I found the material less interesting, or that there was anything about the essay itself that was bad—I’ve just had a huge headache for the past few days, and all I wanted to do today was sleep. I don’t think the quality of my writing suffered as a result, but it was just harder to get through it.
I’ve been drinking water and taking acetaminophen, but I think it’s just the stress catching up with me. I’m tired and I’ve had a hard time sleeping lately.
I was originally planning on writing about hyperintensionality, but I couldn’t find the right sort of sources for the essay I wanted to write, so I decided to write about Kit Fine, the guy that I did my in-class presentation about. He argued for modal pluralism, and I was reasonably convinced by him, and I was going to defend him from Chalmers and his zombie arguments. While writing this essay, though, my opinions changed. I started as a modal pluralist, and ended up a modal monist. Good work, David J. Chalmers.
I would like to note at this point that zombies in philosophy aren’t the same as zombies in the movies. For a philosopher of mind, a zombie is a person who is a complete physical duplicate of a normal human being, but who lacks internal phenomenal experience of her own consciousness. Ooooo … spooky. I sometimes wonder if the term was invented by a lazy philosophy prof who wanted to go to a Hallowe’en party but who didn’t want to bother dressing up:
“No seriously guys, I’m a zombie. I’m a complete microphysical duplicate of the non-zombie me, but I just don’t have any phenomenal experience. There is no ‘what it is like’ for me to be me.”
And, like other philosophers, he would be totally socially unaware of himself, and not notice his friends rolling his eyes at him.
One of the concepts that Kit Fine makes up for use in his paper is that of “schmass,” which is like mass, except that it works on an inverse cube law, rather than an inverse square law. I just like the word “schmass.”
Sometimes I think that the best part of my papers are the titles. I called my paper, “Schmassive problems with zombies in modality and metaethics.”
If you will direct your attention to the graph, you can see that there were a couple plateaus in my productivity, right around lunch-time and dinner-time, which is to be expected, but I generally worked well up until the end. Speaking of the end, the end of this paper officially marks the end of the course-work for my MA. If I don’t want to, I don’t ever have to attend a class again.
Actually, I suppose that’s been true since I graduated high school. I guess I’m just a glutton for punishment. I didn’t have to go to university, and I didn’t have to go to grad school after that. And since attendance isn’t really taken at the university level, even though I did decide to go to university, I could have skipped class. (Actually, that’s not true. Many of my profs take attendance in my seminars. I should have skipped class back in my undergrad days when I had the chance.)
Tomorrow I start work, and I’ll let you know how that goes. I called in this afternoon to confirm that I’m coming in and to find out what time I start. I start at 9h. I’ve never had a real 9-5 before.
I’m going to hit the sack early and hope to feel all better by tomorrow. If not, I still have most of a big bottle of easy-to-swallow analgesics, so I should be all right.
Oh, does anyone have a suggestion for a work of fiction for me to read? I finished the Deptford Trilogy recently, and I’m looking for something to fill my “things that I read on the Métro” void.