Monday, August 17, 2009

How I shall spend my sabbatical!

So, my sabbatical officially starts in one week (we'll assume that the beginning of fall semester is the official starting date though, more realistically, it started the end of last semester because if I had to teach this coming semester I would have spent all summer fussing with syllabi and obsessing of book selections). As of Saturday, I sent off my first article ("The Vocabulary of Health Care: A Failure of Rights"). There is every reason in the world to believe it'll be rejected (I'm fairly certain it's too long for this journal though they give no word limit), but at least I've gotten something written and sent out.

I move now to get some reading done before I move to my next writing project. The next project is a section of the last that I finally realized had to be excised since it wasn't adding anything but confusion to the last. It's looking at the implications of looking at autonomy and health as things instead of something closer to skills. I'm going to argue that being an autonomous or healthy person is analogous to being a speaker of a particular language and that conceptualizing autonomy and health this way makes a significant difference in how we think about individual responsibility in general and health, in particular.

After this (and, I think, moving naturally from this) I'm going to move to focus on issues in education -- educating young adults, education & neuroscience, education & ethics.

But, the difficulty of this all this is that I am so easily distracted by things like on-line games. So, I'm going to use this blog as a way to force myself to stay moderately on task. I'm going to write, here, summaries, analysis, etc. of the books I'm reading. Thus, if there are long periods of time when I've posted nothing, well, feel free to email me and take me to task for wasting time. Few people in the world are lucky enough to have this sort of time to sit, think and create so to squander it is just irresponsible and disrespectful. Yes, we shall be focusing on shame as the primary motivator. I have fabulous 2nd and 3rd order desires; it's just that my 1st order desires for mindlessness and mindnumbing tend to win most of the time. As I've said before, fabulously strong id and superego; the ego, on the other hand, is puny and without power.

Books I'm currently reading and will, therefore, be posting on: The Philosophical Baby by Alison Gopnik (this is about neuroscience & philosophy) and Joseph Raz's The Morality of Freedom. The latter is for the next work on autonomy and the former is for the education work. Obviously, I'll be reading the former first and the latter later ('obviously' as in 'the way that is least conducive to long term goals but most in keeping with what I want in the immediate' - see above comment about 1st, 2nd & 3rd order desires.

So, off to read!!

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