This past spring, at the Pacific Division meeting of the APA, we held the inaugural meeting of the Society for Modern Philosophy. After some brief introductory rambling by me about the society’s goals and aims, Don Rutherford and Martha Bolton each spoke, giving reflections and considerations about scholarship in modern philosophy. The session was extremely interesting, and led to some very lively discussion afterwards. The turnout was fantastic, but I also know that many people who wanted to attend were unable to make it.
Don and Martha have made some revisions to their remarks, and they have been kind enough to allow me to post their remarks here on the Mod Squad blog, so that people who were not able to make it to the session can see what they missed, and hopefully, spark some more lively discussion about the issues they raise.
Those posts will be appearing next week on the blog, probably Monday and Thursday.
So right now, I will just briefly recap a bit about the society, and encourage people to join via the mailing list link on the website:
The purpose of the society is to provide some structures and opportunities that will benefit scholarship and teaching of modern philosophy. The first step is to create more opportunities for people to present their work, and for those opportunities to be diverse in terms of the topics and figures covered. Membership in the society puts you on a very very low volume mailing list (maybe one message every month?), and carries no requirements for dues or active involvement. Society activities are organized by people volunteering more or less as a labor of love. Apart from organizing group sessions at APAs, other short term goals include assembling some helpful information for teaching survey early modern classes (e.g. syllabi reflecting various approaches and focuses, etc.), facilitating long-distance reading groups, and expanding the group meetings to additional APAs. Of course, we don’t want to get in over our heads too quickly, so we are pacing ourselves with these goals.
Some longer term goals that have been discussed and sound awesome, but which are very much longer term goals, are: a modern philosophy podcast (or should I say…Modcast?), standalone conference activities, and a journal dedicated to shorter note-length articles (like Analysis, but for modern philosophy).
We currently have over 130 members. Your involvement level is pretty much determined by your interest, time, and energy. So, sign up!
And check back next week Monday and Thursday to see Don and Martha’s excellent remarks.