On with the dance! Let joy be unconfined; No sleep till morn, when Youth and pleasure meet To chase the glowing Hours with flying feet – – There only to trip over the new issue of Appraisal. Yes, here we are, in all our heatwave-defying, temporally displaced glory. Finally and at long, long last. I know, it’s taken ages; but do not think, I beg of you, that I am unaware of the deadlines, or being aware, my snook – or snoek, for any readers familiar with 17th century Dutch – I blithely cock in their direction. No indeed. The truth is, I tackle deadlines, I grapple with them and mangle them, I beat them and batter them and occasionally, if only for the sake of alliteration, I bite them. In short, I leave them brutalised, shivering in a corner of the room, staring blankly into space, and whispering “why me?”
At which point, I usually go out to meet Youth and Pleasure for a jar of ‘Finsbury cider’. Sometimes blushful Hippocrene comes along for a giggle too.
Leaving all such purely imaginary debaucheries aside, however, we find ourselves well advanced, once again, upon a year of no little activity. Books have been published, as the briefest of glances through the following pages will confirm. Among them are two which may be of particular interest to our readers: viz. the eagerly awaited English translation of Juan Manuel Burgos’ Introduction to Personalism; and Persons, Intuition, and Trust, a festschrift for Thomas O. Buford, edited by the Jameses McLachlan and Beauregard, and Richard Prust. Reviews of these, and many others, we hope to be able to put before the reader in future issues.
In other news, some preliminary details of the next International Conference on Persons, organised primarily by our friends in the United States, have begun to emerge. It seems this most popular biennial event in the personalist calendar is likely to be held next August in Israel. Given recent events in the region, I confess to experiencing some feelings of ambivalence on hearing this news. Quite the adventure, it would most assuredly be; and yet, one cannot help thinking that there is something just a little incongruous about a conference on persons being held in a country which seems to unable to recognise the personhood of its own neighbours; an inability often violently expressed. One cannot help wondering and, perhaps, feeling just a little squeamish. To be clear, no one, I should hope, denies the people of Israel the right to defend themselves against attack. On the other hand, it is not entirely obvious that following the Trump presidency in deciding to put children in jail is the best way to do that. Although, of course, putting Palestinian children in jail may well be better than shooting them. All of which has, no doubt, been taken into consideration by the organising committee. Next year in Jerusalem it would very much appear to be.
Closer to home, and, one hopes, in less controversial vein, our very own Richard Allen is organising a workshop on the Ethics of the Person to be held at Nottingham Trent University in the next few months. The workshop will primarily be aimed at postgraduate researchers in an effort to introduce them to personalist themes and thinkers. It will, however, be open to anyone who would like to come along; indeed, the more the merrier. Further details will be posted on the website and the blog in due course.
On which youth-corrupting note, we turn to the current issue and a fresh philosophical crop of superlative cerebrations. Fresh and fine they are, as the very moment the pod began to wonder about the nature of existence and reality and whether all this popping business would really be worth the candle.
Herein you will find, as loudly hinted at on the cover, a fascinating review of writings from the early years of Michael Polanyi’s career by Phil Mullins and Struan Jacobs; and among those writings, many of which remain unpublished in the archives, the green shoots of a quite revolutionary approach to epistemology. You will, moreover, encounter a detailed exploration of one of the great American personalists, Edgar Sheffield Brightman, and his ‘moral science’; this, from J. Edward Hackett, author of the recently published Persons and Values in Pragmatic Phenomenology (Vernon Press: 2018).
Questions of knowing and doing are swiftly followed by a discussion of John R. Searle’s individualist/internalist description of intentionality by yours truly. One aim of this paper was to demonstrate how much better Austin Farrer’s interactional, socially embodied understanding of intentionality really is. This is somewhat ironic because, as those familiar with Searle may be aware, his analysis of intentionality is a key dimension of his Social Ontology. Given this, however, we are fortunate to be able to present, alongside, a more balanced and more disciplined discussion of Searlean intentionality and its flaws by our most excellent Assistant Editor, Abigail Klassen. The issue concludes with a trio of papers from the BPF international conference, held in Oxford back in 2015. We had hoped to bring you these in a separate and very special issue; however, due to circumstances unforeseen, our authors, R. T. Allen, Alan Ford, and James Beauregard, have been forced to bunk down with the rest of us. Thus, you will read about the hitherto little-known W. R. Sorley; the exile of persons from modernity; and the influence of the unfortunately named Object Relations theory on personalist favourite John Macmurray. All of which, I am sure you will agree, makes for a rich harvest indeed.