Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Shameless Self-promotion

That Morthos Stare writes:

I'll preface my words of glory with the caveat that says that 'I am sure that some of you will find this interesting.'

My day job is that of a Philosopher. I teach (and quite well if student evaluations and ovations are a measure of success) and I research.

And today my research has finally produced fruit.

Some of you will know that my field is Epistemology, and that I have an interest in weird phenomenon. I'm not a Believer in that I am fairly sure that life is chemical and that ghosts are simply misunderstood instances of natural laws oprating in conjunction with particular facts. Still, as an epistemologist I can't deny that perhaps, just possibly, some of the features of the world as we claim to know it (through the practice of the Natural Sciences) are, in fact, misunderstood.

It's a pity then that more people aren't epistemologists.

Last year there was a slight verbal scuffle between Drs. Michael Shermer and Freeman Dyson on the matter of evidence for the existence of the paranormal. I read both tracts and found myself siding with Dyson, who thinks there is reason to think that paranormal phenomenon might be a justified belief, rather than Shermer, one of America's most prominent Skeptics.

So I wrote a paper on the material, filling out the vague argument I thought Dyson was suggesting, for presentation at a conference.

A version of this paper has now been accepted for publication in 'The Skeptic,' edited by Dr. Shermer.

This makes me happy. Happy because finally my interest in weirdness has produced not one but three reasons to think that we should entertain beliefs about paranormal phenomenon, happy because I've managed to write a paper on Epistemology that is scientist-friendly (according to Shermer) and happy because the paper is, whilst not overly critical of Skeptics (who I do think should become Epistemologists and also be a little more aware of the History of Science) does point out that garden-variety Skepticism, that which proclaims the Cult of Science, isn't such a happy place to be after all.

I'm mostly happy, however, because this paper shows that Philosophy is, as it always has been, useful to Science (whose proponents often ridicule their parent discipline).

Whilst I may make enemies tomorrow today I make a friend of the world.

7 comments:

dreamer said...

Congrats!
will we get to read said paper?

porges said...

Judging by the fact that it has been accepted for publishing, yes :)

Should we be looking for it in next month’s issue or further in the future?

HORansome said...

I'm not sure when it's slated for publication; I have to write the obligatory bio this afternoon (always harder than it looks, especially since I can't really write the facetious ones I use when publishing fiction) and send the corrections (stupid terminology errors on my part in one crucial paragraph). More news as it comes to hand.

Josh said...

Bloody good. Philosophers of the world unite -- we'll show the fuckers. We'll show them all...

dreamer said...

where does one find the skeptic?

HORansome said...

I know Borders sells it; I subscribe, so my issues come straight from the United States. Specialist magazine stores might sell it; these are facts that I'm not particularly privy to.

HORansome said...

Publication is for a future issue possibly appearing as early as late fall (in the USA). So not in the next issue but possibly the one after that (or the one after that).