Taking the Train to an Academic Conference

The subject of our research project, David Lewis, was rather a big fan of trains. His letters, which we’ll publish in two edited volumes, often discuss what train journey he’s planning as well as his research. He also liked to take trains to conferences whenever possible. Several photographs of him were taken on the train, like the one shown here.

David Lewis on a train, Australia 21 July 1990

Philosophers these days seem less fond of trains, and tend to fly to give conference presentations. And they do this even for conferences accessible by public transport. But flights are a major contributor to climate change.
Taking the train within the UK or Europe tends to reduce carbon emissions by 75 to 90 per cent. As a result, if more philosophers went by train, they could make a significant difference to the environment.
Impact and Sustainability

Our project has an environmental impact agenda. We aim to promote a culture shift among philosophers. We want to encourage them to move away from flying and towards taking public transport and using virtual conference methods.

Recent and upcoming conference presentations by project members travelling by train:

Frederique Janssen-Lauret, `Epistemology, Modality, Lewis, and the Language of Ontology’, Formal and Natural Languages, University of Zurich, 8 December 2017.

Fraser MacBride `Quine and Lewis on Predication’ Predication conference, University of Florence, 23 February 2018.

We gratefully acknowledge the support of the University of Zurich and the University of Florence for our train tickets.

I will post more information about planned virtual events in early 2018.

For further details about sustainability, see my previous blog post on the topic here: http://www.projects.socialsciences.manchester.ac.uk/lewis/impact-environmental-sustainability/