We Interrupt this Radio Silence…

27 March 2018 by pencechp • permalink

Let me start off by apologizing for the long period of dead air here. I’ve been stunningly busy, for what will, in a few short moments, be obvious reasons. But I have a few great posts (or, at least, posts that I think are great) in the pipeline, including one I’ve been waiting to write forever now on emergent behavior and the military. Watch this space.

But the point of this post is rather different. I’ve got some big news.

Beginning in the fall of this year, the Pence Lab will be packing up and moving to Europe! I have accepted a position as Chargé de cours (tenure-track lecturer) at the Université catholique de Louvain, in Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium – around a half-hour southeast of Brussels. I’ll be working in the Institut supérieur de philosophie, and in particular in the CEFISES group, an active and exciting research group of faculty, post-doctoral fellows, and graduate students working specifically in the philosophy of science.

There is much to say.

First, to my colleagues and friends at LSU and in Baton Rouge, it’s been an awesome four years. With the exception of the Louisiana state legislature, and in particular the House GOP, everyone that I’ve worked with at LSU has been fantastic. I have to give my manifold thanks to my colleagues in Philosophy and Religious Studies, to the Dean for her work on the LSU Ethics Institute initiative, and to my students, who have made teaching here a real joy. To be frank, however, I simply am not certain that a state university in a right-wing state offers a long-term career path for an academic in the current political climate. I am hopeful that Louisiana will turn things around, and discover how to salvage one of its finest assets – what was once a truly exceptional system of state higher education. But I am not optimistic that will happen, and I can’t bet my future on it.

This is all the more true given how exceptional the opportunity is that I’ve been offered at UCL. The philosophy of science has been a research focus there for decades, dating at the very least back to the founding of the ISP at the new UCL campus following the split between the French- and Dutch-language universities. The current group consists of some fantastic folks whom I’ve gotten to know over the last few months, and I am certain that you’ll hear more about collaborations with them here in the future.

My teaching will let me bring philosophy to science, engineering, and medical students, in some combination or other (precise details to be determined). These are exactly the sort of courses that I’ve found most enjoyable and rewarding in my time at LSU, and I’m thrilled that I’ll be able to continue and refine that work in Belgium. I’ll also be able to advise PhD students and postdoctoral fellows for the first time (watch this space for future job postings!), which I find really exciting.

And none of that even touches on how much fun it will be to live in Brussels and Europe more generally. (How can you not like a city with such a cute tourism campaign?) To my other European colleagues, I’m a few hours from Paris, a few hours from London, and an even shorter trip to Amsterdam. To my Belgian friends and colleagues, I’m going to need your help figuring out which Belgian football club to snag season tickets for. I’ll be in Brussels, so… Anderlecht? Union SG? —oh wait this is supposed to be a work post

Of course, there’s much work to be done between here and there – not least of which being learning a second language (let’s say my French is currently… decidedly mediocre on a good day) and handling the logistics of an international move. But we couldn’t be more excited for this new opportunity!

And should any of you find yourselves in Brussels after this summer, get in touch!