Wednesday, July 08, 2009

OCON Days 3,4 & 5

Session 1 is over. Session 2 began this morning. I’m going to limit my comments to the material in session 1, and pick up session 2 in a few days. My crow is overloaded and I’m blogging on break so I’ve got to unload now, as there’ll be more coming right behind.

Coursework

  1. Biddle course on Rights and Metaphysical law: still superb, still highly recommended
  2. Tara Smith followed up her first General session presentation with a second one on the significant threat of Non-Objective Law. This course was more technical in nature and paralleled her talk last year on the menace of Pragmatism. Bottom line is that non-Objective Law is a danger, not simply because it fails to provide for the protection of individual rights, but that it enables and activates their destruction.
  3. Harry Binswanger is the king of teasing out the intricacies of epistemology and highlighting the absolute necessity for good epistemology on downstream ethics. His lecture dealing with the nature of Objectivity is no exception.

Social / Personal

  1. I’ve met several fellow Obloggers and OAC students, many of whom I’ve only known virtually up until now. This includes Reasonpharm’s Stella Daily, Titanic Deck Chair’s C August, the husband and wife team of One Reality and Three Ring Binder. The OAC students met up at a mixer a few nights ago which also served as graduation ceremony for 4th year students. 
  2. I’d have mentioned Galileo Blogs’ Ray Niles in the above, but he deserves a note of his own as he’s also my roommate and a significant source of intellectual discussion.
  3. Due to my lighter schedule in Session 1 I had 2 afternoons entirely free so I availed myself of the hotel facilities and obtained a massage, steam bath, and an hour or so by the pool reading Tolstoy. Yesterday I went over to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and spent a very enjoyable afternoon exploring. Highlights include Leighton’s Painter’s Honeymoon, John Singer Sargent’s Daughters of E.D. Boit, and Monteverde’s Columbus as a Boy.
  4. Just a side note, I decided to use my netbook for taking notes, and it has surpassed all my expectations. I can take notes very effectively, and with roaming wireless access from the hotel Twitter in real time. Battery life is exceptional as long as I cut processor speed and screen brightness, and the weight of my briefcase is significantly less. The only downside is that my fountain pens which I dearly love using are seeing little use.
  5. Finally, I’ve had a large number of conversations both light, and technical with various persons throughout the conference. Highlights include a discussion with Prof. Doug Altner regarding the status of Objectivist economists, and more coaching from Diana Hsieh on blogging and her experience running a multi-contributor blog.

1 comment:

Paul Hsieh said...

I agree with the virtues of a netbook.

I used a similar 10-inch Asus netbook which served extremely me well during the sessions. The battery never ran out on me, and it was much easier to carry than the 15-inch MacBook Pro which I use at home.

I think the quality of my notes was also better, since I'm a faster typist than scribe.

Plus it allowed for efficient Twittering and quick web searches during talks of relevant facts and figures.