Our project has an environmental impact agenda. We aim to promote a culture shift among philosophers towards sustainability. We want to encourage them to move away from flying and towards taking public transport and using virtual conference methods. One such method is giving conference presentations via Skype.
Dr Frederique Janssen-Lauret presented a paper via Skype to the American Philosophical Association Central meeting held in Chicago, 21 February 2018. Her paper was presented to a panel on Quine’s 1980 Kant lectures. The paper focused on the topic `Quine, Lewis, and Davidson on Ontology, Naturalism, and Physicalism’. We gratefully acknowledge the support of Sander Verhaegh and the University of Tilburg. They provided a projector and screen and set up all the necessary equipment.
Upsides of Skype presentations
Previously we have discussed our use of the virtual conference software Gotowebinar. Our experience with Gotowebinar was that it worked very well. Unfortunately, it was also expensive. By contrast, Skype is free and widely available. It is also easy to use.
Skype does not make it as easy as specialised conference software to see and hear the audience. Nevertheless, it is possible to see the audience reasonably well. People asking questions usually have to speak into the computer microphone, but when they do that it is easy to hear them. Another downside is that virtual delegates don’t have the option for further informal discussion with others. But part of the appeal of virtual conferences might be saving the cost of travel while still being able to share ideas via the presentation itself. Considering the difference in cost with specialised software, Skype could be a good low-cost compromise for virtual presentations.