Summery Summary

Alas, I am nearing the end of my summer research.  As an RA, I head back to school on Thursday to begin training on Friday.  I am genuinely blown away by how fast this summer went by.  For someone whose days were primarily spent reading philosophy article after philosophy article (with the occasional psychology article thrown in), I would have expected this summer to drag, if anything.  Sometimes the days did seem to take awhile to get through, but more often than not I would think to myself as I nodded off at night, “Didn’t I just do this?”  I take this as a good thing.

In any case, the end of my summer has been quite productive.  Since I last posted, I ran an online experiment testing a key empirical premise of my error theory for non-consequentialist compatibilist intuitions, and although I need to run the relevant statistical tests when I get back to school on Thursday, the means are where I predicted they’d be.  So I’m optimistic that the effects I’ve been able to eyeball will prove to be statistically significant.  Besides running that experiment, I’ve shifted away from primarily reading to primarily writing.  I decided at one point that I just needed to stop reading and start writing.  I’m very glad I did.  I have to remember that writing is not just something you do once you’ve already got all of the ideas formulated in your head – writing is itself part of the process of developing and refining ideas.  Indeed, there were some ideas I thought were going to work but didn’t end up looking as good on paper as they did in my head, and there were other ideas I thought weren’t going to work but ended up looking much better written out.

Although I’m already feeling a bit nostalgic, I’m excited to continue my research throughout the year.  Believe it or not, there’s something about having classes and other responsibilities that helps me pump out some of my best material.  Fortunately, thanks to the Charles Center, I can spend most of my year writing and refining my arguments until they are as crisp and convincing as possible rather than trying to catch up on the huge literature on free will and moral responsibility—something that having classes and other responsibilities does not help me with.  All in all, I feel quite satisfied that this summer has given me the foundation I need to write an honors thesis I will be proud of.  Thanks again to the Charles Center for giving me this special opportunity.



  1. Adam Lerner says:

    Thanks, Professor Tognazzini! Will do. I hope your summer proved productive as well!

  2. Neal Tognazzini says:

    Hey Adam — congrats on a productive summer! I’m really glad to hear that you feel like you have gotten a good start on your honors project, and I’m excited to see it take shape this coming year. You’re absolutely right about the writing/thinking/reading symbiosis, though it’s certainly easy to forget it and over-research a topic. Glad you’ve learned that lesson early.

    Stop by when you’re back in town.