Desirability of religion in Budapest

Posted on February 11, 2010

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I got back from Budapest yesterday. I spent a couple of days hanging out with my friend Christophe, who is now working there, and Central European University is clearly a great place. I even got to see the cognitive development centre they have. The departmental seminar was on Tuesday and it started with a group of postgrad students coming along to talk to me about my research and whatever. A neat idea as it gave me a chance to talk to them in a very relaxed manner, without any of their professors around. After that, it was time for my talk. (for some reason I can not put up the slides right now but will do it as soon as I can). It was a slightly lengthened version of the talk I gave in Prague and, frankly, I do not think the extensions, made possible by the extra time I was given, did the paper any good. I fear it ended up sort of meandering without a clear purpose. Given that the audience wasn’t too familiar with the topic this was more of a problem than it would have been otherwise, also. I think that a fair number of people had one of two reactions. The first was that they expected a philosophy of religion talk rather than a cognitive science of religion talk. The second was that I mentioned Dennett a couple of times during my talk and some people would have probably simply identified me with his position. This came out in the questions which for the most part did not really concern the material I presented.

I talked about the presentation and the questions with Christophe afterwards and I think that he had a lot of good insights, as usual. Only the other day I counted how many talks I have given and got to something like eighty. Well, eighty talks and still learning. Still, I should not sound too negative about it as I think I did an OK job, though not a brilliant one, and my hosts were lovely, with Katalin Farkas, Christophe, and Howard Robinson taking me out to dinner after the talk – the resulting discussion being perhaps more insightful than the official one.

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