Until this morning my plans for late September this year seemed pretty solid.
I was going to visit Williamsburg, VA, for the conference Responsibility & Relationships: A Conference in Honor of the 50th Anniversary of Strawson’s “Freedom and Resentment”. But a cat was set among the pigeons this morning by a PHILOS-L announcement for a conference in Kraków, Poland, entitled Consciousness and Volition. Here’s the blurb:
The 1st International Kraków Conference in Cognitive Science: Consciousness and Volition will focus on the current state of consciousness research, with particular reference to connections with issues pertaining to volitional acts. Principal topics will include: mental acts of volition, perception, memory, qualia, emotions, as well as the neurophysiological and physical foundations of all of these. We will also set out to analyse the possibility of artificial modelling of such mental acts, and correlations between them and experimentally discoverable events. The program of the conference, which is envisaged as having an interdisciplinary flavour, will not, however, be limited to just these themes and presentations. It is hoped that it will include a wide-range of related topics and innovative approaches, even where these involve research with an explicitly interdisciplinary orientation. One of the most important challenges that this conference aims to address is that of bridging the explanatory gap between first-person experience, psychological research and the various ways in which the brain itself may be studied.
The conference organisers therefore cordially invite prospective participants to submit original proposals for consideration with a view to selection, in philosophy, psychology, neuroscience, artificial intelligence, cognitive science and other related fields.
So, would I rather spend my time this coming September in Williamsburg learning more about Strawson, or would I rather visit Kraków and learn more about the empirical work that increasingly informs my research?
I’m already going to be in Europe in September for a project meeting with my hypercool Enhancing Responsibility project team and for the annual meeting of the European Association for Neuroscience and Law. And then there’s the Enhancement, Emerging Technologies, and Social Challenges conference in Dubrovnik, Croatia, for which I’ve been considering submitting an abstract. And then there’s the fact that I was born in Gdańsk, Poland, and the though of attending this conference in Kraków just tickles me pink.
Currently I’m leaning towards blowing off Williamsburg in favour of Kraków.