REC, Part II

I’d like to second Jon’s praise of the Rutgers Epistemology Conference (from 3 posts down). In addition to the fact that the REC papers have been generally quite good in the years I’ve attended, there are two features of REC that I particularly like:

1. The Young Epistemologist Prize. Someone really had a great idea there.

2. There’s a good deal of “down time” at the conference (as you can see by looking at this year’s program).

A downside of this conference is that there are a lot of people at each session, which makes discussion tricky. The measures taken by the conference organizers — especially leaving so much time for discussion in each session [instead of talking through their whole papers, the papers are distributed in advance for people to read, and the speakers are asked to give just a 20 minute or so summary; the rest of each session is discussion] — help a bit here, and I think discussion goes about as well as can be hoped for a gathering of that size. But it is making the best of a tough situation. But that’s tied with the good feature of the conference: Because there are so many philosophers there, all at the same sessions, the times between sessions are a great chance to connect with other epistemologists. But that is only possible b/c of all the down time that’s built into the schedule. Generally, I think the best aspect of philosophical conferences is the chance to meet with or meet other philosophers. More conferences should be like the REC in allowing a good deal of time for this.

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