I am luckily enough to be able to participate this event, along with "Engaging McDowell" and "Themes from McDowell" at U. of Sydney and ANU respectively, before my new semester in NYC. In what follows I record some miscellaneous thoughts that are not really focused or philosophical. I will postpone those concerning McDowell, since there will be more interesting things to say after the two conferences next week.
This is my first AAP experience. I attended the Eastern APA once (2006 at D.C.) and the Pacific APA once (2007 at S.F.). My feelings about conferences are mixed. For the positive side, I like conferences for obvious reasons: exciting thoughts, high-quality intellectual atmospheres, etc.; for the negative, linguistic and cultural differences are especially salient in this kind of circumstance. It is not that I am "bad" in English, I hope: one semester visiting in U.C. Berkeley with an A and an A- in graduate seminars, 96% in GRE's verbal section, and 99.5% in TOEFL, several publications in international journals, to name some "objective" scales. The trouble remains, however. People are just talking too fast everywhere: presentations, Q&As, tea times, banquet, and what have you. I feel mentally exhausted during and after conferences. Besides, to have so many incredibly good graduate students around all at once is killing me.
So why am I here this time? First, I think I still need to learn to live with this, second, I want to present a paper on McDowell and have his comments in person, and finally, I want to meet some philosophers, and conferences make this easier. This time I met again some ANU fellows, including Alan Hajek, Daniel Stoljar, David Chalmers, Jonathan Shaffer, and Susanna Schellenberg. And I met Howard Robinson, Jessica Brown, Laura Schroeter, and William Lycan for the first time. I also met some wonderful graduate students, including Lachlan Doughney, Lyndal Grant, and Rachael Briggs. I did not get to know terribly many people this time, since I am getting tired of this; I mean, to get to know many people, but have nothing interesting to share with them, is embarrassing. What I really want to do is to lock myself in the room, and get some works done.
Oh, but I will need to engage McDowell first, at least for the following few days!