Tuesday, December 21, 2010

What I'll Do for My Winter Vacation (also: odors)

One week from today, after a couple days in Connecticut with the parents, I'll be in Boston, not only visiting my (disproportionately libertarian) comedy-writing colleagues from college -- and catsitting -- but springing for the non-member admission fee to attend the four-day major annual conference of academic philosophers, the American Philosophical Association.  Other people vacation in Maui.  I attend philosophy conferences. 

It won't all be mind/body dualism or the problem of the speckled hen, either, because subsidiary gatherings will include meetings of the Ayn Rand Society and the (Austrian School economics-oriented) Molinari Society, so I have to show my support for those (the latter featuring the unfortunately-named libertarian feminists Rod Long and Charles Johnson, previously noted on this site).  I'll also see my former philosophy professor (from her Brown days, before Chicago) Martha Nussbaum, defending her book From Disgust to Humanity against a panel of critics.  It's about doing what's right even when it seems icky (long story short).

I am tempted to ask whether she thinks Leon Kass, the bioethicist who believes we should see disgust reactions as a moral guide (leading many people away from gays and biotech, for example), could be duped by an extremely rank act of flatulence into thinking he was in the presence of pure evil.  (This is slightly different than the question George once raised on Seinfeld about whether an odor on the subway could actually kill, assuming the subway smell lacks agency.)  Even public ice cream-licking apparently revolts Kass, so I can't imagine smelly people would fare well under a Kassian regime. 

If you're in Boston, have miraculously already noticed my blog's back up, and want to attempt a rally, just e-mail.  Otherwise, I will report my findings by blog -- or possibly Twitter (coming soon).

1 comment:

Gerard said...

Just don't retweet that often. That will earn you many an enemy.