Well, it didn’t die quite this dramatically – it’s been more a process of slow decline, which reached a certain point of perfection the evening before we presented in Tassie, where the machine simply refused to recharge any more. It adds an interesting, examination-like intensity to conference presentations, knowing that the only tweaks you can make to your talk, must be made within the remaining 90 minutes of your current battery life. It’s entirely possible the laptop gremlins had my best interests in mind – certainly my dead laptop ensured that I got far more sleep, the evening before the presentation, than I think L Magee was able to rationalise with a fully-functional laptop at his disposal.
In any event, traveling back to Melbourne, I had high hopes that the problem would be something simple and inexpensive – maybe the power supply or battery. But no, it’s major – of the sort that it makes more sense to purchase something new, and thus of the sort that causes one to spend an entire evening researching what new toys have come on the market in the intervening years since one has last shopped for a laptop. I think I’ve found what I’m after, and will of course now spend the morning calling around to various places, clarifying ambiguities in specs and such and, if this is successful, no doubt spend the better part of the next couple of days configuring the new machine so that it’s ritualistically prepared for this summer of intensive dissertation writing. I lost no data in the demise of the old laptop, so this is more an opportunity to prune: what from that old machine really needs to be reincarnated in the new?
All of this is by way of saying that my online time has been and will continue to be somewhat limited over the next few days. My backup desktop at the university – a default machine that I inherited with my current office – is bolted to a desk in a position that sits very far back from where I have to sit to type on it, placing the screen an uncomfortable distance from my near-sighted self. And anyone who tried to read along with my response to Andrew Montin’s question yesterday, will also realise that the desktop’s keyboard is prone (at least, when confronting my laptop-conditioned typing reflexes) to duplicating some letters, while omitting others (trust me, I caught far more of these than made their way through to the published comment).
I’d like to write something following up on Andrew’s questions, looking into Brandom’s critique of “I-we” conceptions of the social, his references to history, his appeals to “the theorist” at key points in his argument – and, basically, open up the question of how immanent and reflexive Brandom can actually be seen to be. These were originally the sorts of points with which I had thought of concluding the ASCP presentation, and which, rightly or wrongly, I cut for purposes of time, but which I’d like to raise for discussion here. Andrew has opened these questions himself [er… perhaps I should say: Andrew has asked questions which have reminded me of these questions – perhaps not quite the same thing – certainly from Andrew’s point of view… ;-P], which hopefully suggests we were on the right track, in at least a rough sense, in wanting to raise these issues, in tandem with the vexed question of how Brandom understands “objectivity” and the notion of how our discursive practice opens the space for our “accountability” to dimensions of the world that do not depend on our perception or acknowledgment for their existence. I may wait, though, to write on these things, until I have a keyboard that doesn’t make me feel like I’m stuttering. (Of course, the new laptop keyboard may have its own issues – I therefore hereby blame all errors in my posts for the next several months – the conceptual, as well as the typographical – on whatever machine I happen to be purchasing to replace my sadly-defunct Dell…)
[Note: Image @2006 The Age, URL: http://www.theage.com.au/ffximage/2006/07/30/470_dell4,0.jpg%5D