It is really a delight to be invited to a place where people have no choice but to listen to your ideas and give the impression of being interested. Everyone should have that experience from time to time, and if they are lucky the place will be Columbia, SC. The couple of days I spent there were absolutely beautiful, and everyone was friendly and engaging. The pictures above are of the campus, the state capitol building, and Matt Kisner, Spinoza scholar and my host. In addition to be wined and dined, I was allowed to bounce ideas off a history of philosophy reading group and a lecture audience. There were also several informal chats with grad students and faculty — really a fun time for me, though I felt completely “idea’d out” by the end. Which is as it should be.
I came back with several key ideas to wrestle with. The one distracting me the most is whether Nz really does encourage a “meta-perspective” sorting out of values and perspectives — or does he rather just sink into his own perspective and then battle it out with the other possible perspectives. In other words, does Nz presume to have found some key criteria by which we should sort out the good sets of values from the bad ones, or is it instead just that he thinks his values are best and is pushing forward aggressively with them?
Several other ideas and objections also came about, and I will be blogging about them later. Right now I’m just glad to be back, though the trip really was delightful.