Saturday, October 10, 2009

Oh, the delights of term again ....

Well, that's the beginning of term survived, and I hope to pick up the philosophical threads here next week.

It's been back to first year logic lectures, for what I guess -- with retirement looming -- will be the penultimate time. The opening two lectures went tolerably well. Drat. Just getting the hang of doing this and I'm having to stop! Lecture pacing is an odd thing, though: there are fewer lectures in the course this year, and I need to push things on. So I've put the admin stuff in a hand-out, cut out some other slides from the Beamer presentations, and felt I was cracking on faster. Yet I'm exactly where I got to last year after two lectures. Ah well: maybe it is good not to put the foot on the accelerator too hard too soon. But we must push on next week.

The other course I'm starting this term, which I'm planning to repeat when I get to NZ, is a dozen lectures on Gödel's (Incompleteness) Theorems for third year undergrads and postgrads. This is much more difficult to get right. Last year, I just did talk and chalk, introducing chunks of my book. But that didn't really work: there was too much gap between what I had time to do in relaxed chat, and what's in the book. So maybe use Beamer presentations for this course too? After one class I think this isn't going to work either -- or at least, the effort put into writing the presentation would be much better used writing a couple of pages of lecture handouts as a more careful/comprehensive intro that can be followed up in the book, better filling the gap between lecture chat and the book. OK, down to it then, and I'll write some weekly handouts, Gödel Without Tears. Watch this space ...

The logical highpoint of the week, though, was the first Logic Seminar, where Fraser MacBride was talking about neo-logicism. He gave an terrific impromptu intro for the surprising number of third-years who turned up, quite innocent of the debates, and then he had a persuasive bash at the latest Hale/Wright effort, ‘The Meta-Ontology of Abstraction’. Fraser set the bar pretty high for the rest of term. Excellent stuff.

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