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Philosopher Crispin Wright walks the Pennine Way, answering questions, to raise funds for philosophy students
June 25, 2011 11:21 AM   Subscribe

Philosophy fundraiser mountain walk-a-thon. Prominent philosophy professor Crispin Wright will walk the length of the Pennine Way, a 250+ mile mountaintop trail in the UK, to raise funds to support his philosophy students. (The link on the Pennine Way is worth reading.) Along the way he'll stop each day to answer a philosophical question voted on by the people who contribute to the fund.
posted by LobsterMitten (17 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Strictly speaking, the funds will go toward establishing a fund for travel, for students from and visitors to the Northern Institute of Philosophy, a recently-established research program at the University of Aberdeen. The program prioritizes collaboration, especially among early-career philosophers, so the travel funds are meant to support that.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:27 AM on June 25, 2011


Q: Suppose a philosopher wants to walk the length of the Pennine Way. But before he can get there, he must get halfway there, and before he can get halfway there, he must get a quarter of the way there, and so on. How can he ever get to the end of the Pennine Way?

A: Let's go down the pub.
posted by pracowity at 11:29 AM on June 25, 2011


Both links in the FPP go to the same place. Was there supposed to be something about Professor Wright specifically? (While you're at it: I really want to see the list of questions he's going to answer en route.)
posted by Quietgal at 11:44 AM on June 25, 2011


That's a change of pace. One of my former students was at St. Andrew's eight years ago when Wright was still there and he threatened to leave for NYU if they tried to assign him to any graduate committees. NYU seems to have picked him up anyway, but now I wonder what the rest of that story was.

Well, no, not really. Hate academic politics, even the little bits I have to deal with.
posted by el_lupino at 11:53 AM on June 25, 2011


If this doesn't raise enough money, I'd suggest hosting a dinner party for his philosophy colleagues with one two few forks.

Computer scientists are dying to find out the outcome!
posted by miyabo at 12:39 PM on June 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wittgenstein often recommended that his philosophy students give up philosophy and take up gardening. Maybe hiking would work, too.
posted by Vibrissae at 2:31 PM on June 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm from Yorkshire and the Pennines are great, but they aren't by any stretch of the imagination mountains.
posted by joannemullen at 4:24 PM on June 25, 2011


Judging from what I've seen of the Pennine Way, it's a bit like hiking along coastal Northern California... except that it's not as hot, and the elevation not as high, on average. Very moderate, verdant, friendly hiking territory.

250 miles of that would be a pleasure. If anyone wants to donate money for a plane flight and expenses, I'd gladly join the professor.
posted by markkraft at 5:21 PM on June 25, 2011


Quietgal: This page has more specific information about Professor Wright, including questions.

It would be considerably more interesting if he were to give his response as a lecture each night after his hike... I can imagine him standing up in the Cheviots with a gale and a half blowing, addressing a few solitary sheep and some philosophy groupies on why he likes football.
posted by nz_kyle at 9:32 PM on June 25, 2011


On review, I see LobsterMitten posted that link first. Protip: read the comments before posting...
posted by nz_kyle at 9:45 PM on June 25, 2011


Ack! The first link was meant to be this: Info page for Wright's Ramblings philosophy walking campaign - it has a list of questions, not clear if they are just possible questions or if they are the actual ones that will be asked. Also has details about how the scheme will work, how donors get to select the question, and how they get exclusive access to the answers.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:25 PM on June 25, 2011


[Link fixed.]
posted by cortex at 10:42 PM on June 25, 2011


Thanks!
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:07 PM on June 25, 2011


It looks like that's the list that will be voted on, and about half of them will be asked ("Each night of the approximately 20-day journey.")

It's an odd list. Some of them are clearly more geared towards his specific expertise (which, according to Wikipedia, is epistemology) or at least geared towards an expert audience (26, 35), some seem to be thoughtful general-interest questions on philosophical problems (1, 4), some are trying to get at insider-baseball talk on the actual experience of doing philosophy, and some just seem like weird 'gotcha!' questions. I wonder how they assembled it.
posted by kagredon at 1:59 AM on June 26, 2011


...some just seem like weird 'gotcha!' questions.

Funny, I didn't see “What have you seen so far today and what are you going to take away from your visit?” on the list...

:smacks self:
posted by smirkette at 11:49 AM on June 26, 2011


Thanks. I would dearly love to hear the answer to #40, "If scientists explain the world and how things work, what do philosophers do?" I'm not being snarky, I really don't understand where philosophy fits between science and mathematics.

I'm reading From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time (sigh ... and understanding only about 1/3 of it), and on p 229 Carroll says that both physicists and philosophers are trying to understand what quantum mechanics is (the field is called "interpretations of QM", and apparently even people who are aces at using the equations aren't really sure what QM is). How do otherwise respectable philosophers get tangled up in QM? Or, to put it another way, how can somebody who works on QM call themself a philosopher instead of a physicist?
posted by Quietgal at 5:09 PM on June 26, 2011


Thanks. I would dearly love to hear the answer to #40, "If scientists explain the world and how things work, what do philosophers do?"

Philosophers explain how science works. (But not why it works.)
posted by Crabby Appleton at 7:34 PM on June 26, 2011


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