Thanks very much for doing this interview with us today, Mark. Let’s start with your personal practice of philosophy. You’ve recently published a book with Rebecca Kukla, ‘Yo!’ and ‘Lo!’: The Pragmatic Topography of the Space of Reasons (Harvard, 2009). Can you tell us how you approach collaborations?
I’ve always found a great deal of joy in collaboration – that is really trying to think through issues with another philosopher; not the sort of “let’s prove I’m smart” argument that is all too common in the field – and have moved more and more towards that in recent years. I’ve now published with, I think, 8 different people, and am planning projects with others. The process is different with different collaborations, but Rebecca and I, while drawing on earlier individual work, argued through every single point of the book. Then one of us would draft a section, passing it back and forth several times. And the final writing was always done with both of us in front of the screen going over every word together. There is a kind of intellectual intimacy - something rather like a collective mind - that arises from this sort of work that is really quite amazing.
What about conferences? I was disappointed at not being able to meet you in person at the now infamous Snowmageddon APA!
Yes, that was a disaster all around. I am perhaps weird in really liking conferences of almost all sorts. Big APAs let me see friends and colleagues that I see only once a year, and smaller focused conferences are enormously intellectually stimulating.
Do you have a set routine in your daily practice of philosophy?