I feel a bit frustrated that I don’t have more articles coming out of my current research project yet. Much time has been spent in preparation and working on long-term side projects that may or may not turn out worthwhile. At least my entry on Paternalism is now out in the new edition of Encyclopedia of Applied Ethics, and I have had some positive feedback already. Anyone who feels that Dworkin’s entry in the Standford Encyclopedia is a bit brief may want to have a look (no open access but here is a preprint).
Last spring we were amazed by the awesome English weather. Now I know why people kept telling us it was an exception. Though England is still over all sunnier and more lush than we expected before we moved here. So we accept the relative cold, hoping for warmer days soon. A visit to Umeå in early April meant -10 degrees Celsius and masses of fresh, white snow. Umeå seemed to us a friendly and relaxed city. The philosophy department at Umeå university has mainly been focused on theoretical philosophy so far, but with Gunnar Björnsson the new chair professor since January, and an anticipated four (!) new lecturers in practical philosophy to be hired this year, look out for interesting developments.
Spring is conference season. I spent a full 10 days in Hamburg, at a conference/course/workshop for young scholars, focused on paternalism, beautifully organized by Professor Thomas Schramme and his colleagues (esp. Andreas Fallet). I met several interesting younger (even younger than me!) scholars that I expect to see more of in the future, and I finally got to meet the paternalism legend Gerald Dworkin. I think I failed to explain to him what is so interesting with libertarian paternalism, he just commented that he has made it a habit to repeatedly ask Richard Thaler to change the term (which makes sense). I have also been “free-riding” my way through the interesting Ideals and Reality conference in Newport, not bothering to submit a paper. And this weekend I flew to Lund for a one day conference on Philosophical Practice, organized by the recently founded Svenska sällskapet för filosofisk praxis, of which I am now a board member.
The Hamburg conference will result in an edited collection and I have started preparing a manuscript on the structure of anti-paternalism as a constraint on reasoning. In another paper under way I am arguing that neutralism in politics has this same structure. Once these papers are done I hope to do some writing more specifically on libertarian paternalism. I am scheduled to present on “Libertarian Paternalism and True Preferences” at the SAP conference in Oxford in late June, and to present a defense of the probabilist account of freedom at the ALSP conference in Belfast earlier that same week.