Things not going so well around here. I don’t feel as though I’ve been working hard enough. First in philosophy within reach; scraping a 2:1 with a 60% in Maths is my goal now, as I just haven’t done enough. At the same time, the week before the exam is always the most valuable part of revision.

Interesting to find that I’m struggling with the part of philosophy I didn’t think I’d struggle with: the writing of exam essays. This is because I had been led to believe by tutors that I was really really good at writing philosophy, and I think in my head I’d decided that I was better than most of the other people in my year at Balliol. Instead I know loads of stuff, but am not so great at putting it together in exam answers, and other people who have done far less work over the three years are doing way better than me.

This can be dealt with. After this week I will have finished primary philosophy revision, and then I will spend the two weeks remaining before exams getting up and writing two practice exam essays each morning, then I’ll spend the rest of the day on maths.

Essentially I am all over the place with marks. I get firsts, but I also get low 2:1s (with the comment ‘this is first class material’), and I’m not yet clear quite why. The philosophy department are quite proud of their marking consistency: each paper is double-marked and out of philosophy, politics and economics, the average difference between the two marks increases down that scale (yes, economics is worst somehow). It’s therefore pretty frustrating that they don’t seem to be able to pass this on to us, if they are so sure what they want.

Ethics is my star paper right now, despite only getting 67/67/69 in my collection. This is because I have a lot of strong views on the subject that differ from one of my tutors, the committed Humean Bob, who I’ve referred to in posts before. So I view the paper as sort of a fight: go in and win the argument for moral realism and virtue ethics (yes. I think that ethics is objective (though not perhaps in the way you think), and that good character is ethically primary (not right action), and that the virtuous person’s perception of what is right cannot be understood without yourself being virtuous—and remember I was brought up to worship science and decry religion too, so what does that tell you, unphilosophical-yet-intellectual masses?). Here is a nice ethics question, and a nice philosophy of maths question that I’ve answered recently:

If a life of virtue is a flourishing life, must a virtuous person be either ignorant about the nature of morality, or an egoist? (FHS Ethics 2011)

’The light dove, cleaving the air in her free flight, and feeling its resistance, might imagine that its flight would be still easier in empty space. It was thus that Plato left the world of the sense, as setting too narrow limits to the understanding, and ventured out beyond it on the wings of the ideas, in the empty space of the pure understanding.’ (KANT) Does this suggestive image apply to Plato’s philosophy of mathematics? (FHS Phil. of Maths 2011)

It is very, very exciting when one realises that one is in a position to genuinely engage with thoughts like these.

While my habits of slacking off in the afternoon are still really bad and still upset me, I’m fine with getting up early now. I get up at 6:30 but I often find myself waking up naturally at 6 (don’t have the willpower to actually get then, though).

I got an e-mail from a Facebook engineering recruiter today, which I am pretty sure is genuine, saying that he ‘came across [my] open source blog’. I wasn’t sure I had one of those. I suppose there have been quite a few computing posts on this blog lately. I’ve written back to see what he means.

I’ve now completed the removal of all my data and services from servers I control. Everything goes via SDF, and my domain registrar is hosting my domains. I’ve stopped tunnelling all my traffic out of Balliol via my VPN. This means tunnelling to SDF, on port 110, due to a blanket SSH block except to * addresses (afaict). There are only four people still doing their e-mail via my old server, and the two people in charge of these four accounts have been very unresponsive, so I’ve essentially left them to it—the server will go offline in August, I’ve got my data off and tried to help them, and I’m not willing to continually pester them. I find it hard to understand how people can care so little about their e-mail data.