Interview with the Philosopher

by Kieran Healy on May 20, 2011

The New APPS Blog has been doing a series of interviews with philosophers of different sorts, including Jason Stanley and Taylor Carman. This week’s interview is with L.A. Paul, who teaches at Chapel Hill and who seems like a very interesting sort of person indeed, I must say.



Ray Davis 05.20.11 at 2:01 pm

Now *this* is pedagogy I can understand!

“I then wrote to a number of well-known philosophers, asking each of them if they would supervise a course-by-mail, consisting of my writing letters to them about their work, getting responses from them, and ultimately providing comments on a paper I wrote. Nancy Cartwright, Lynne Rudder Baker and Nathan Oaklander agreed to do this for me.”


Anderson 05.20.11 at 4:13 pm

L.A. Paul specializes in metaphysics and philosophy of mind, focusing on questions concerning perception, time, temporal experience, mereology, causation, identity, constitution and essence

Once she’s got those squared away, I look forward to her work on aesthetics.


ben w 05.20.11 at 4:31 pm

It was amazing: I learned more history in that semester than in six years of grad school.

That is indeed amazing.


dsquared 05.20.11 at 4:59 pm

I learned more history in that semester than in six years of grad school

Reminds me very much of “I had a car like that, once”


Anderson 05.20.11 at 8:23 pm

Always liked that joke.


John Quiggin 05.20.11 at 10:15 pm

In Queensland, we tell it about the trains


LFC 05.21.11 at 3:32 am

OP: seems like a very interesting sort of person

The path she took to becoming a philosopher is indeed quite interesting, but I can’t say that her substantive answers toward the end are interesting b/c I don’t understand them (“aspect causation” — ? “no fundamental non-qualitative entities” — ? “one-category ontology” [what’s the one category] — ?). I guess I like knowing that someone is thinking about this stuff, even if relatively few people outside the field will understand or even be exposed to the thoughts.

I happen to know a respected philosopher of language and some years ago read one or two of his papers. I’m afraid I can summarize my reaction as being roughly equivalent to a shrug.


LFC 05.21.11 at 3:48 am

Just to clarify (re the last sentence): the problem was not that I didn’t understand them.


tomslee 05.22.11 at 8:45 pm

#1. I’d love to read those letters – I can’t imagine any old Joe/Jane would get that kind of response.

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