I don't know what to mention first: so
(last revised November 2018)
Stephen and Beth and their two boys are doing well. They live in Ottawa which is far away, so most of our communication is electronic. Beth's parents have moved to the Sunshine Coast, not far from Vancouver, so when we actually meet it tends to be during large family occasions.
Edith and her partner Victoria got married in May 018. Transparently happy people. And they have moved to Vancouver for two years, perhaps longer.
I retired from the university of Alberta in July 2011, and became a part-timer at UBC. I was doing the same amount of classroom teaching that I did at Alberta, and enjoying it. Still, the new life was physically more demanding than the old, because of traveling from downtown to UBC two or three times a week, and to Bowen for long weekends. And because my mobility was steadily declining. So I did no teaching in 013-014, and 014-015. I gave a graduate seminar - on experimental evidence - in the fall of 015. I am sure this is the last teaching I will do. My focus now is entirely on finishing writing projects.
Susanna has won a competition for a very prestigious grant which gives her two years without any teaching or administration. She will use the time to get near to finishing a book on the translation history of Virgil: into many languages and reflecting many cultures
She has a shifting array of bands. For a brief time she was in three, but it in down to one now, in which she plays bass guitar, viola, and upright bass and sings harmony. Plus the Bowen\ community choir.
She spends much of her time at a cabin, not far from our previous house. The plan is that she will live in this small space, and own no more than she can fit in it while I own no more than I can fit in my tiny apartment. And she will sometimes share it with me, and always with numbers of old rescued dogs. She spends some three days a week based in my apartment on the UBC campus while using her office and the library
Old dogs. Toby and SuzyQ who had been with us since they were young died within a few weeks of each other in the fall of 2014, leaving a big hole in Susanna's life. Now it is a series of rescued old dogs. They die, just when she has become attached to them. So there is often grief.
We have left our interesting exotic house (the Fernie Road house on the site home page.). It was no place to get old in and no place for old dogs, and there's always the danger of me falling down the stairs. So we searched for a small flat house on the island. Susanna found it and bought it, and now she and her dogs are based there. Meanwhile, I have sold my apartment in the west end of downtown Vancouver, and have moved to an independent living place on the UBC South campus. It is safer for me here, there is help on hand, and I can keep life simple while getting writing done. They will not want me here if my condition progresses to the point where I can no longer transfer from wheelchair to bed to toilet unaided. We'll face that when we come to it.
There's a background to the arrangement. S and I have been together twenty three years and have never lived together for longer than a couple of months. Each likes not to compromise about their space. The nicest instance was the years we spent in New Haven in two very small houses with adjoining yards. (Hers full of dogs, mine free of them.) We'd each work all day in and from our own house, and then in the afternoon phone to settle who was cooking, where, whether we were sharing a bed that night, where. We found that ideal. So when I retired from Alberta we worried about tampering with the magic formula. The problem is solved by having two places: her little cabin on Bowen and my little apartment in town. That way we can spend a lot of time together and also have a good degree of independence. There is a question of how much longer my independence can be sustained, but getting a lot more regular assistance from Susanna than she gives me now, which is a fair amount, is not an option that I favour
I have a progressive MS which began unusually late in life, when I was 61. It has moved to catch up from its late start, and now I live my life from a wheelchair. (The chair is much safer than poles or a walker. I don't want to take any risk of the fall I had in 2015 which resulted in a month in hospital with a broken hip, followed by a month in rehab. I have to stand for some purposes, though, and this can be scary.) My legs are much more affected than my arms and hands. But the upper limbs are showing signs of trouble, so I do most of my writing using dictation software, which is generally impressive but sometimes fails at a simple task. I sleep a lot, get moving very slowly in the morning, and find what would be normal for most people very tiring. But I'm still thinking, writing, and laughing.
I am getting a fair amount of writing done. Hurrying to do things I have long wanted to do while I still can. My work seems to divide into largish fairly ambitious projects in epistemology, taken widely, and on the other hand smaller and more intuitive projects on the boundary between ethics and the philosophy of the emotions. In the first category there is my book on adapting to one's tiny brain, Bounded thinking: intellectual virtues of limitation-management, which appeared with OUP in December 012. There is a book on evidence derived from experiment in the works. I hope to have it finished before too long. (Foretaste here.) Following up some things that became vivid in this project, I am thinking a lot about the relation between probability and possibility. I aim to write a few self-contained pieces on this in the next couple of years. In the second category there is a small book, Emotion and Imagination, which appeared with Polity Press in May 013. Also a number of papers on particular emotions which I think of as a series, the damage project. I have fantasies of pulling this material together in the form of a book for generalists on why religion often facilitates atrocity. And unconnected to either of these strands, there is a very small book against the fashionable idea that humans should colonize other planets, which has now, November 2018, appeared from Polity: Should we Colonize other Planets?. Details about all of these are on my research page. And a textbook written up from notes of the really unusual logic course I gave many times is now available at various places on the web.
Undermining the theme of “big projects in epistemology and small ones on moral emotions”,, I have finished in draft a paper on mathematical knowledge which I aim to polish in the next months. Ambitious to the point of pretentiousness but not particularly long. I do think I have a new angle on this old issue.
I have tried to find a unity in all the disparate things I have done in philosophy, in an essay I am posting only on this site.