Previous entires: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6.
In Durham, they sell metaphysics by the pound. (Ninth Street)
Firstly, I’ve got another batch of talks coming up. First of them is tomorrow, Friday March 30 at Duke University (3:30pm, West Duke 202) in the colloquium series. I’ll be talking about ‘Quantification and Ontological Realism’. The talk will be followed by a reception, so stick around if you’re attending. I’m looking forward to this one, as I think I’ve got a nice paper. It’s mainly a critique of Ted Sider’s recent defence of fundamental, perfectly joint-carving quantification in his Writing the Book of the World (OUP, 2011). It’s nice to go to Durham too, since they have a “Metaphysical Shop” and all (see the photo)… Ninth Street, which is relatively close to the campus, has a very nice selection of shops and cafes.
Already on the following Wednesday, April 4, I’ll be talking at Boulder, Colorado (3:30pm, HLMS 141) with the title ‘(Neo-)Aristotelian Essentialism’. I’ll be in Boulder April 3-5.
Other than that, I haven’t got much in terms of news. I pretty much missed the whole of last week being ill with a flu. Fortunately it only hit me after the party that I organized with Elizabeth at our place. The party went well, although the turnout could’ve been better — we’re a little bit out of the way and not that many people know me yet. It was fun anyway, with a good mix of Chapel Hill faculty and graduate students. We also had someone from another college in North Carolina, whom I knew from a conference. Oh, and Peter van Inwagen showed up too, which was nice! Unfortunately I don’t have any photographic evidence of the gathering, as I was too busy entertaining guests. I particularly regret not snapping a photo of the all-vegan buffet feast that we prepared with Elizabeth. A list will have to suffice: vegan sushi, seitan-tomato-onion skewers in jerk marinade, seitan-pineapple skewers in lime marinade with lime and cilantro dip, olive-walnut rolls, green salad with vinaigrette, hummus tray with veggies, olives, gingerbread cookies, and a chocolate-cherry cake. We made everything from scratch (except the hummus), so it was a fair bit of work! But very enjoyable, and people seemed to like the food too.
Cardinals are quite common here
I ended up missing talks by Ned Markosian and Jonathan Schaffer at Duke last week because of the illness. Fortunately I managed to catch Schaffer at Chapel Hill. He gave a talk on ‘Structural Equation Models of Metaphysical Structure’ — not a very informative title. Effectively he revised his story about grounding a bit and suggested that it’s best understood as analogous to causation, or as “metaphysical causation”. I wasn’t convinced, but I won’t go into the details as I wasn’t able to follow the talk that well in my tired post-flu state. I might get my hands on a draft of this paper though (for the metaphysics reading group), in which case I’ll perhaps report in more detail.
Unsurprisingly, my running has suffered a big blow in March: I’ve missed two full weeks of training, with a half decent week in between. I’m back at it now, but still not up to full health. I’m running the Tar Heel 10-miler on April 21, so I’ve got another three weeks or so to get back into racing shape. Did I mention that I’m gaining weight from all the tasty craft beer and cooking and Elizabeth’s baking and… Well, maybe some of it is muscle from the gym work, who knows.
Deer, from our kitchen window
It’s effectively summer here now. Spring came and went with the cherry blossoms, and we even had a sweltering day of +31 Celsius not long ago. It’s nice and green everywhere. I hope to do a photography walk soon to capture some of that green stuff. The nights are warm enough to sit outside gazing the stars. Wildlife is still active too. There was some kind of an eagle on our backyard last week; I tried to photograph it but couldn’t get close enough to get a nice focus. Instead I managed to capture the Cardinal that you can see above, although it’s not the best shot — I’d really need a decent zoom lens for these birds. We also have woodpeckers visiting frequently, but they’re rather shy birds. I still haven’t gotten a better shot of the deer either, so I’m attaching one of my older shots of a couple that were hanging out around our house.
"Caribe", at Sage Café
We haven’t been out in Chapel Hill or around much recently, but we did make another trip to Sage Café — a nice vegetarian restaurant quite close to our place. You can get almost everything vegan as well. This time I remembered to bring my camera and snapped a photo of my dish, Caribe — Caribbean style black beans topped with a slice of avocado, served with rice, grilled spicy tofu & plaintains. It’s not the cheapest place, but the food is quite tasty.
I’ll report back after Boulder, I think. A friend of mine from Finland is coming to visit right after though, and we’re planning to do a week’s road trip, so I’ll be away for a bit.