Alright, now that I’ve had almost a week to recover from an interesting trip home, perhaps I should write a post about what I did at Oxford before moving on. Apparently, all I’ve talked about so far is flowers and birdwatching. On the assumption that I didn’t pay thousands of dollars to go see some British birds, delightful though they may be, I must have done something else in Oxford. So what did I do? Read. Read. And read some more. And sat down to read some more.
1) The reason that got me to go in the first place was a seminar on Francisco Suarez taught by two professors that I’ve had at Cornell in the past. Courses on Suarez aren’t exactly common these days and I thought that sitting in on one would be a great way to start working towards a dissertation on Suarez (I’m supposed to come up with a dissertation prospectus in the near future).
2) I also sat in on a few other courses and attended a philosophy of religion reading group. The lectures on Duns Scotus and Ockham by Prof. Trifogli were sort of relevant to my career. The seminars on sexual ethics and fictionalism were more in service of my continued refusal to be decent and focus on one topic. But they were really interesting! Anyway, none of these were really reasons for why I went to Oxford, but they were great side benefits and allowed me to meet a number of people.
3) The other reason for going to Oxford that’s actually relevant to my dissertation and such was the chance to use the libraries. I mean, Francisco Suarez isn’t nearly obscure enough, as is clear from the fact that I can get his books around here. But the incredible commentary by Gabriel Vasquez (Suarez’s main sparring partner) on Aquinas’s Summa Theologiae is not available around here. But Oxford’s libraries have numerous copies of it. I was also interested in Bartolome de Medina and Melchor Cano, and they’re even harder to get.
There is also just the sheer pleasure of working in the magnificent libraries there. I’d be quite happy to make Duke Humphrey’s Library my regular haunt.