Wednesday, 18 June 2008

The vagaries of conference presentation

I’ve just been to a philosophy of psychiatry workshop in Bristol organised by Zoe Drayson and with presentations by Dominic Murphy, Rachel Cooper and Havi Carel. Sandwiched by conversations in the pub the night before and afterwards (eg the Vaults, pictured), and with copious time for coffee (in fact, it may have been the first conference I’ve been to where there might have been too much time off: never thought I’d type that), it was an enjoyable event.

I gave, for the fourth and final time, a presentation on the ‘interface problem’. (I am usually too disorganised to do the sensible professional thing of repeating a presentation a few times before publishing it.) Although it is far from an ideal paper or presentation (too much big picture, not enough argument, too may subjects, too metaphilosophical, to list only its most obvious shortcomings) it has, to my surprise, worked well on previous occasions. But not on this one.

Given that I present using pre-written powerpoints, I wouldn’t have thought that there was much possibility of variation from occasion to occasion. But I do usually take too many slides and pick the ones to use according to ongoing audience reaction. Perhaps that does allow significant variation after all.

Anyway, I can now retire it in advance of its eventual publication in Lisa Bortolotti and Matthew Broome’s edited OUP volume Psychiatry as Cognitive Neuroscience and struggle to write something for a workshop in Durham in two week’s time on moral phenomenology.