Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New York, New York

I am currently attending the American Philosophical Association's Eastern Division's meeting in New York. I am not exactly what you'd call an avid conference goer, so - believe it or not - this is my first philosophy conference. We got an unwieldy conference program (a book of some 200pp). The variety of what's on offer is truly impressive. To my surprise, more than a fair number of contributors to our recent volume 50 Voices of Disbelief are presenting here, including Philip Kitcher and John Schellenberg. I went to a panel yesterday, chaired by my good friend Rosamond Rhodes, on health care reform in the US and heard Norm Daniels as well as the Hastings Center's Daniel Callahan speak. Impressive people. Daniels, in response to a question from an audience member, replied that the health care reform package should not be permitted to fail over the troublesome exclusion of abortion related medical services. I wondered about this very same question. Clearly what happened there is appalling, but within the political constraints of the votes available to progressive agendas in the US Senate, what's currently on the table probably is the best that can be done. To argue that it's better not to achieve small progress in order to avoid the political sell-out on the abortion front, seems short-sighted. Daniels called that one right, I think. Callahan wrote a thoughtful, critical commentary recently on the Hastings Center's website that is quite critical of the liberal embrace of stem cell research. Check it out if you feel like. I also attended a meeting with fellow journal editors, primarily aimed at an exchange of views. I was pleased to learn that Hypatia, the feminist philosophy journal moved over to Wiley-Blackwell, the publisher of two journals that I jointly edit. Last but not least I had a congenial lunch with Jeff Dean, the commissioning editor for Wiley-Blackwell's philosophy books. All that done in a day. It's worth attending conferences after all, if yesterday's outcome is anything to go by. Well, I better get my own acts together for my talk tomorrow morning. I also need to get going to be able to catch up this morning with Mary C Rawlinson, the Editor of The International Journal on Feminist Approaches to Bioethics. Not that you likely care, but it's the coldest day in New York City this winter, and stormy weather at that. Bummer.

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