7.26.2005Today has been a good day. Simon woke me up just after 10, and my room had cooled off to the point that I nearly wanted a blanket. I won an internet argument and convinced a moral nihilist that his position was incoherent, which will surely look good in the eyes of St. Peter. I shamelessly hit my roommate up for money, and she was happy to oblige, so my immediate financial problems are at least postponed until I get back from California. I successfully arranged a meeting with the new professor and his wife for lunch, and rehearsed the hour or so of material I have for appearing intelligent and well-read in the area of cognitive science and artificial intelligence.
I walked a mile to campus, and will walk a mile back in just a few minutes. I arrived on campus around 3, and within 20 minutes of research I stumbled across a couple of very important books. One of these books is by a frenchie named Vincent Descombes, who uses lessons from AI to inform a philosophical anthropological critique of cognitivism; and I found some interesting critiques from some of my own personal heroes in response. I also found a book transcribed from a conference on the nature of mental representations, which had Clark, Dennett, Smith, Cummins, and Haugeland each present papers on the work of the others, and is complete with a full transcription of the relevant discussion both during and after the presentations of the papers. It is perhaps one of the most entertaining pieces of philosophy I have read in a long time; to see Haugeland tear apart Clark, and Dennett snap back at Haugeland, had me laughing a deep, satisfying laugh.
More importantly, Cummins is the very person I will be meeting for lunch on Monday; and this book tells me more than anything else that a) he is completely familiar with the area I am interested in, b) my approach to this field is not entirely out of the mainstream, c) and even still, my central project is not taken up or even considered by these big names.
I am now going to go home, shower and get ready for a poker game tonight, in which I plan on winning big. I cannot foresee any other outcome.