Well those were two interesting months, filled with writing, editing, book promotion, and a brief hospitalization. Some very good moments as well as some very bad ones... but a bit too tempestuous for my tastes. (Serenity now!)
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Let's get the nasty stuff over with... just three days after my last update, and after several weeks of shortness of breath, I was taken to the hospital and diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism, a massive "saddle" blood clot blocking flow to both my lungs (and making my heart work harder to try to force blood through). Two days later I was back at home and feeling much better with no lasting damage to my heart; the main concern now is making sure this never happens again (especially since this was my second major clot event, 26 years after this one).
So there was that.
At the other extreme, there was a flurry of activity around the release of the film Captain America: Civil War and my book A Philosopher Reads Marvel Comics' Civil War, during which I was interviewed by Katie Kilkenny for Pacific Standard magazine ("The Post-9/11 Ethics of Captain America: Civil War") and by Skye Cleary for the Blog of the American Philosophical Association ("A Philosopher Watches... Captain America: Civil War"), as well as the beneficiary of a kind review by Michael Dudley in the Winnipeg Free Press ("Civil discourse: Comics book series says plenty on liberty, security and morals"). I also wrote several pieces based on the film and my book, including at The Guardian ("Captain America: Civil War -- conflicted heroes and a clash of philosophies"), Psychology Today ("What Can We Learn from Watching a Superhero Civil War?"), and my blog The Comics Professor ("My thoughts on Captain America: Civil War (No spoilers!)"). Finally, The Philosophers' Magazine ran an excerpt (titled "When is it OK to Compromise?") from the book in their issue 73, and I appeared as a guest once again on a Nerdsync podcast to discuss the movie after it came out:
In this podcast we also talk about the new Marvel Comics event Civil War II as well as one of the biggest comics controversies in a while, the (apparent) revelations about Captain America's past in the first issue of his new book, which I also discussed (with spoilers) at The Comics Professor ("On Captain America: Steve Rogers #1: Why I'm optimistic") and in a Nerdsync video (with audio drawn from the above podcast):
Finally, if that weren't enough comics goodness, I was also honored to be featured on The Fantasticast, an insightful and hilarious podcast that discusses each and every appearance of the Fantastic Four (including individual members) in sequence. I came on the show to discusses Marvel Two-in-One #4 (June 1974), featuring a team-up of two of my favorite comic book characters, the Thing and Captain America. Please visit their site at one of the links above, or listen to the podcast here.
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In terms of academic work, I did manage to wrap up everything I needed to get done by June 1... by June 5. (Not bad, I think, considering.)
- Most important, I submitted the manuscript for The Insanity Defense: Multidisciplinary Views on Its History, Trends, and Controversies to Praeger in the middle of May. Out of all the edited books I've done, this one took the longest and changed the most since its conception, but I'm very pleased with how it turned out, and all the contributors did a fantastic job exploring various facets of this controversial subject.
- I revised my paper “Nudging Merit Goods: Conceptual, Normative, and Practical Connections" for a symposium on meritorics and paternalism for the Forum for Social Economics, and it was accepted.
- I made further revisions to my chapter "Judging the Efficacy and Ethics of Positive Psychology for Government Policymaking" for a handbook on critical positive psychology being prepared for Routledge.
- I wrote a chapter for Wonder Woman and Philosophy (Wiley Blackwell) on the Maxwell Lord incident.
In addition, several things written or prepared earlier made their debut in the world since we last spoke (or will very soon):
- Social Economics, the four-volume collection of classic articles in the field that I edited with Wilfred Dolfsma, Deb Figart, Ellen Mutari, and Bob McMaster, came out from Routledge, and is priced to move!
- My article “On the Justification of Antitrust: A Matter of Rights and Wrongs” and my response to commenters was published in The Antitrust Bulletin (61(2), June 2016).
- The book Nudging - Possibilities, Limitations and Applications in European Law and Economics, edited by Klaus Mathis and Avishalom Tor, will be published later this month (I have a copy), and includes my chapter “The Crucial Importance of Interests in Libertarian Paternalism.”
Finally, I wrote two posts for Psychology Today (in addition to the aforementioned item on Civil War), both responding to pieces in The New York Times:
- "Does Everyone Have Longing?", in response to David Brooks' "Putting Grit in Its Place."
- "In Defense of Authenticity and Being Yourself," in response to Adam Grant's "Unless You’re Oprah, ‘Be Yourself’ Is Terrible Advice."
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And now summer begins, three months of writing with less frequent duties to the college, nicely divided by a trip to Europe in the middle of July, first to Switzerland (for a conference titled "Designing Moral Technologies") and then on to Sweden (for several days of rest). Besides preparing my presentation for the conference, before summer is finished I need to write a trio of articles and chapters about different aspects of behavioral economics and nudge. I also have to start a major editing project, as well as get more proactive about soliciting or developing titles for my two book series. Finally, I have to think about future book projects of my own to begin in the fall, including the rejuvenated superhero-and-philosophy book, the apparent death of which I lamented in the last update; another similar book I'm discussing with a different press; the next volume in the "A Philosopher Reads" series; and two academic screeds that have been in the planning stages for a long time. I hope to focus more on books than journal articles and book chapters going forward, but I have a hard time turning down opportunities when they're offered. (I'm working on that too.)