Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Reductive ambitions (Part 1)

Right, been a while since I last posted on account of having to prepare for my upgrade meeting (or as the folk here at Leeds (for some reason) call it, a 'transfer').  This is my excuse anyway, and I'm sticking to it.  Anyway, it was a really cool meeting and got me thinking about some stuff, and since this is where I go when I've been thinking about stuff (as you can tell by the prodigious amount of posts), I thought I'd do a bit of blogging.

So anyway, I've been thinking about reductive ambitions.  This is something that's been on my mind a bit lately, and some of my thoughts have been crystallised somewhat by the upgrade meeting.  First some background.

I used to be well up for any project that aimed to do a bit of reductive analysis, being primarily a modal metaphysician, the big daddy goal was to explain away all this necessity who-ha.  Back then modality seemed to be a thoroughly weird and mysterious notion, and a theory that could do away with it in terms of less weird and mysterious things would be thoroughly welcome.  When I first encountered Lewisian modal realism I was impressed by its reductive ambition but not convinced by the whole possible worlds ontology.  Non-Lewisian realisms weren't much more convincing, still having ontology that gave me the willys and requiring primitive modality just seemed like the worst of both worlds.  From this position, when I encountered Fine's work on essence I was pretty excited.  The prospect of reducing modality to facts about ontology without possible worlds looked pretty enticing.  Thus I chose a thesis topic.
Now however I find myself less enthusiastic about such a reductive program.  Maybe I've just been 'in' modality for too long, but now the notions of possibility and necessity etc. don't seem that weird to me.  At least no more weird than existence itself.  It just seems to me like the kind of thing that makes a great primitive.  Now, I know that many people like reduction solely on grounds of parsimony.  I guess the idea is just that the less stuff there is in your ontology and ideology the more likely you are to be right.  This just seems rubbish to me.  When people use parsimony like this I wonder what the alleged advantage actually is... and don't even get me started on considerations of simplicity, that kinda thing just makes me grumpy.

Don't get me wrong, I get that this isn't what parsimony is really about, but it certainly seems that in considerations of parsimony people often lose sight of why they're citing it as a good thing.  The kind of parsimony that I have strong sympathy for is the eradication of weird stuff from your ontology or ideology.  I don't know if this is really a parsimony concern, or if it's really just a 'I don't like weird things' concern.
Anyway, so I got less interested in reductions of modality, but I'm still interested in grounding.  Establishing just what makes modal truths the case still seems like a good endeavour.  This was conveniently timed to coincide with the realisation that realist accounts of essence probably can't provide a reduction of modality, but may well be able to ground it.  Having had this change of heart I decided to focus on that.  This was how I proceeded up until (and including) my work on developing a conventionalist account of essentialist truth.  

Having built up to it and given the background I'm going to go have a cup of tea.  See the next post for my actual concern.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Antirealism about essence

I've been thinking about essence.  In particular I've been thinking about being an antirealist about essence.  This isn't surprising, as it looks like realism/antirealism debates about essence will be central to my thesis, at least it certainly looks like things will be going that way.  In fact, the first chapter I'm writing for my thesis is a defence of a conventionalist account of essence.

At the moment I'm looking at the prospects of being an antirealist about essence (at least in the conventionalist sense).  I see this approach as having a couple of big advantages over a standard realist approach.  If such an account can be made to work (and of course if it doesn't have Japanese monster  movie problems of its own), then the following might be cause for the realist about essence to blink, rub their eyes, pour their drink away (one the strange assumption that it must contain alcohol, and the even stranger assumption that this is causing them to hallucinate for some reason), and decide to have a lie down.

It's worth making clear that I'm not one of these 'anti-metaphysics' people.  I love metaphysics, and I don't consider this kind of antirealism to go against that.  In fact part of what I think is so exciting are the hefty metaphysical consequences of such a view, and all the work that would have to be done in its wake.  Your metaphysics is already going to be affected by what kinds of questions you take to be good ones, and what kinds of talk you take seriously, so denying certain questions and talk is in my mind writing a great big IOU to the metaphysical community, and refusing to pay that debt is just plain rude.  But anyway...

The first advantage of the conventionalist account is that the direction of explanation problem is resolved.  This is the question of whether something has its essence in virtue of what it is, or whether it is what it is in virtue of its essence (please excuse the inane use of  italics).   Under the conventionalist account this is decided.  The essence of the individual makes the individual the thing that it is because both kinds and individuals are a construction from the modal properties (which either are, or follow from, the essential properties).  These essential ‘properties’ are determined by what sentences are essentially true.  Which sentences are essentially true (or at least which sentences the truth of which is essential) is determined by our linguistic/conceptual conventions. 

Also it resolves the problem of deciding whether essence is about individuals or about kinds.  This is because under this account all necessities take the form of conditionals.  Because of our understanding of necessity (it is empirical that water is H2O, but it is necessary that water is H2O because of our conventions) all necessities take the form of conditionals such as 'if P then necessarily P'.  This means that essential facts (if understood as non-modal) take the same form.  So the sortal essential facts come first, but they come in the form of conditionals (if x is an F then it is essentially G).  Individual essential facts then follow from these and are of the form 'x is an F and so is essentially G'.

This works for essential properties such as 'humans are essentially material', and 'Socrates is a human and so is essentially material', but there are some essential properties that require an additional step.  For instance essentiality of origins.  Since not all humans have the same origins an additional conditional is required.  This will then take the form of 'if x is F then whatever G-type quality x has it has essentially'.

This option is not available for the realist.  First of all it’s less obvious that there should be both on a realist picture.  Second, even if one were to try to adopt the conventionalist picture in a realist account then the essences of individuals would be dependent on the essences of kinds.  This seems like the wrong way around to have it.  If anything it seems that the essential properties of kinds should come from the essential properties of the individuals that make up that kind.  Getting it the other way around looks mistaken.  This restriction isn’t there for the conventionalist.  The conventions are ours for the making, and so it doesn’t matter which end we start from, so long as we get the account that we want. 

It also looks really freaking parsimonious.  Be an antirealist about essence in this way and it soon becomes evident that you end up being antirealist about modality, kinds and even individuals!  Of course, that might freak you out a little too much.

There is an important lesson for the realist about essence to learn from this.  The antirealist program shows us how central essence is to any wider theory of the world.  Just from being an antirealist about essence, significant parts of one's ontology and ideology seem to follow.  A proper understanding of the role that essence plays in metaphysics is vital for any attempt to account for it.  Another lesson to be learned is in just how such an account should go.  Many of the questions that seem quite open for a realist account are more easily resolved by the antirealist.  Perhaps by following the antirealist example in a realist account, one can form a unified realist program that can give essence  pride of place in modern metaphysics (if you're into that kind of thing). 

Obviously conventionalism traditional construed has plenty of its own problems.  And any new construed will probably have at least some of its own.  But at the moment (I'm currently at the early hand wavy stage) I think this is some pretty funky stuff.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Pedagogical methodology, or: 'teachin' proper like'

I've been thinking about education.  What with 'ole Tony Grayling opening up his new super school and all (but that isn't what I want to discuss, all I have to say on the matter is that I think it's pretty despicable).  Besides, I've been thinking about education quite a lot this year anyway.

Like many grad students I do some undergraduate teaching to help pay the rent.  I've just completed my second year doing so and I really rather enjoy it.  This past year I had a rather heavy teaching load, so I spent a lot of time thinking about how best to teach philosophy to undergraduates.  This will be the first of (possibly more than one) posts about various pedagogical conundrums I've come across.  One of the main such problems that I've encountered is finding the right balance between being supportive/easy going and being strict, like a pedagogical Muller yoghurt I couldn't quite balance the pleasure/pain ratio for my classes.

To elaborate, I like to keep the atmosphere in my classes pretty relaxed, I don't want to be telling students off and jumping on their backs.  This isn't because I want them to like me or anything like that (at least I don't think it is... I hope that isn't it).  The way I see it, it's more conducive to a productive class if the students feel comfortable contributing, and don't feel worried about how what they're going to say is received.  It's worth noting at this point that I teach mostly first years at the moment, so the main goal of the classes (to my mind at least) is to familiarise the students with philosophical method and how to approach topics in an intellectual manner.  This goal cannot be achieved if the students are  too intimidated to contribute.  As you may have guessed however, this leads onto my problem.

The price of being relaxed with the students is that they start to think it's acceptable not to do the preparation for the class.  When this happens I am left with two options.  First I can give them a telling off just like they would have got before coming to a school for big boys and girls, probably ensuring their future preparation, but also probably ensuring their future silence (and perhaps absence).  Second, I can let it slide, not hassle them, and they'll not hate philosophy, or class, and they can continue on their way to being comfortable with engaging with the topics, or maybe they'll just see that 'ole Banksy is a push over and doss from then on.

But this isn't the only problem.  If a significant portion of the group isn't sufficiently prepared then they aren't going to get much from a discussion of material they aren't familiar with.  So, do I spend time in the class bringing them up to speed?  Or do I just leave them to fend for themselves?  If I do the latter then they lose out.  "Jolly good!" you may say, but my job is to help the students get better, whether the little blighters deserve it or not.  If I take the former option then the few good students who really care about their studies and are prepared miss out.  It's no use to them to go over content they already know, what they need is to try out their philosophy muscles on the material.  Suffice to say this isn't fair.

I suppose what I'm trying to get at is a dichotomy between nurturing level one students or leaving them to stand on their own with a 'you're at university now, so tough luck'.  My original thoughts when I started teaching were very much of the latter persuasion.  I was an MA student and it is now my experience (of a whopping great 2 years) that MA students are the harshest teachers.  I guess the memories of being an undergrad are still too fresh... who knows.

These days I find myself being too laid back on under prepared students, not only is this unfair on the more committed students, it's not fair on the lazy ones either.  If they're going to get ahead then they need to learn to work.  But I don't want to take the 'flip' you attitude either.  I think you can only take that attitude if you have good reason to have that kind of expectation of the students.  I don't think we have that.  I don't think the current education system prepares students for university education, but that's another (significantly long) rant for another day.  I don't want to voice my general complaints about the education system today.  I only want to focus on my particular conundrum.  

I'm not willing to take either of these approaches, I want a method of running my classes that ensures that students work hard and also feel relaxed and comfortable so that they can actually focus on learning and not appeasing teachers.  So this is me acknowledging that I have this problem, I'm busily coming up with solutions to this for the next year but I'd love any feedback about how I can ensure the best balance in these classes.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Is there really reference?

*Disclaimer: Apologies if this post is a bit ramble-ish or absolutely devoid of intelligent content.  I wasn't very focused when I wrote it and I'm not in the mood to reread it any time soon.  So if it's terrible, please ignore it and try to forgive me.*

I've been thinking about reference.  I've been wondering if there really is such a thing.  This all started with a conversation with Michael Bench-Capon after his claim that sentences are not true in virtue of the propositions they correspond to, but in virtue of what they express as being the case, being the case (for details see his post on the particulars wear the pants principle).  This seemed strange to me, not least of all because whilst what Mike said seemed very sensible, it also meant that that whilst the proposition wasn't wearing the truth wearing pants for the sentence, it was still wearing some truth pants of its own.  The proposition 'snow is white' is still true even if its truth isn't doing anything for the truth of the sentence.  This looks queer to me, primarily because it seems that the appeal of particulars wearing the pants seems to be that we no longer need pants for propositions (resisting urge to make nudity jokes).  So I had a little ponder.

It's also worth mentioning that I've also been working on antirealism quite a bit recently, so I guess I'm generally in the mood for getting rid of things.

Anyway, to my thought.  If we are still committed to propositions wearing truth pants (even if they aren't the sentences truth pants), maybe we can do away with truth for sentences altogether.  Maybe sentences are just utterances of sounds backed up with the intention to communicate certain thoughts. (which relates to a proposition that the speaker has in mind)  Once they are out there, vibrating in the air, whoever hears them can interpret them as they will, associating them with a proposition that they think it corresponds to.  Now, the relevant proposition can be either true or false, but what the speakers get from it will entirely depend on which proposition they associate it with.  The sentence doesn't refer to anything, this way when you say 'father Christmas never existed', meaning the rotund bearded chap from the coca cola adverts, and I think you mean Saint Nicholas, there is a perfectly legitimate failure of communication.  This failure has nothing to do with failure of reference, because there is no such thing (for the sentence at least).  We are simply thinking about different propositions.

So sentences don't refer, and they aren't the kinds of things that are true or false.  They are just attempts to latch onto propositions.  Maybe this would help with some problems of reference that crop up now and again.

Apologies again if this is nonsense, maybe I'll reread it some time when I feel like it and either re-write it or delete it.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Philosophy and science

I've been thinking about the relationship between philosophy and science.  More specifically I've been thinking about metaphysics and science.  More specifically still I've been thinking about how that relationship affects me.  Now, I don't know much about science at all.  I have very modest GCSEs in the sciences and as a child was of the opinion that I just couldn't do them (turns out that I think I would have been quite good at them if I hadn't been so lazy and negative, but that's another rant for another day).  As a student I discovered philosophy, and metaphysics.  I fell in love with it and specialised in it at the earliest opportunity.  In my sheltered metaphysical bubble I happy worked away on universals, possible worlds, and conceptual analysis, blissfully unaware that a significant proportion of the academic world considered the discipline I was training myself in to be... well, bull.

Now that I'm a grad student my horizons have been widened a little.  I'm still a metaphysician, but I know plenty of scientists, and work in a department with a lot of philosophy of science going on.  I am now very aware of the disreputable nature of metaphysics, though I have never encountered a reason that didn't make me lose some respect for the person giving it.  But enough of that, this post is not going to be a rant by me defending a field of philosophy that I am clearly very biased towards.  You don't want to read that, and I don't want to write it (if you do want to read that I'm sure you can google someone else's views on the matter).  What this post is about is the position I've found myself in now that I've been thinking about this.

I've been thinking about this quite a lot actually.  The reasons people given against metaphysics (or even more ignorantly against philosophy as a whole *cough* *Hawking*) haven't convinced me that metaphysics is bunk, but what they do highlight is that some of it is done badly.  Now, just because some people do something badly doesn't mean that what they're trying to do is bad.  If you think that it does then I really don't know what to say... except perhaps to recommend that you sit and think about it for a while (and don't come back to this post until you realise that you're wrong).  However, there is badly done metaphysics, and it looks like one of the reasons that some of it is done badly is a lack of awareness of the science related to the issues being investigated.

Obviously not all metaphysics needs to take scientific theorising into account.  For some enquiries it just seems irrelevant.  But with my work focusing on essence, it looks like I may be one of those metaphysicians who falls within the group that needs a little scientific awareness.  Herein lies my problem.  As I see it I have three options.  The first is to ignore this fact and go about my life as a metaphysician, and if people call me up on it then just patronisingly smile and remind them that they're not being sensitive enough to the philosophical issues.  The second is to try to take science into account where it seems to be relevant to metaphysical endeavours.  The third is to put it off, recognise that it is relevant, accept that I can't do that, and reassure myself that I've do it one day. 

Obviously I don't think option one is appropriate.  If I did then this post would clearly have a very different tone.  Option two appeals to me the most (seemingly being the most intellectually responsible action to take), but there is a problem.  As mentioned before, I don't know science.  I mean, sure, I probably know more that the average person who doesn't know about science, I like popular science stuff and have an okay grasp of that, but that just ain't enough.  If I try to do metaphysics that is scientifically informed it isn't enough to just learn a bit and have a stab, lest I risk falling prey to that most venomous insult in the philosopher of sciences arsenal: "Thinking that because I've read the wikipedia page I know about quantum field theory" (or whatever).  But what is the alternative?  I'm a grad student in philosophy, I don't exactly have the time to get degrees in physics and biology.  

It seems that I'm damned if I do and I'm damned if I don't.  Which is a shame, because I don't want to be damned, I'd much prefer to not be damned if it's all the same actually.  So I guess I have to plum with option three.  I'll continue to plug away at my scientifically uninformed metaphysics for now with the promise to myself that in the future I'll somehow learn the science I need to do metaphysics without being branded a 'GCSE chemistry philosopher.' 

Of course there is another option, just stick to the parts of metaphysics that go too far beyond the scientific data and to which it is irrelevant...  But how do I know which ones they are without the appropriate knowledge?

Monday, 30 May 2011

Essence, the next generation.

I've been thinking about essence some more (what with essentialism being the focus of my thesis I can imagine a lot of my posts starting this way).  Specifically I've been thinking about the new breed of essentialism, and how the thinkers involved think about it.  I've read a fair bit of the new literature on essence (the stuff post 1994 when Fine argued against the modal understanding of essence) and related notions, and I'm still rather confused as to just how I should formulate the main essentialist claim.  The thinkers I have in mind are folk like Fine, Lowe, Correia, and Shalkowski.  I've also discussed the topic with the last two but and with others like Dasgupta, and Divers (and grad students, notably Michael Bench-Capon and Thomas Brouwer).  The overwhelming impression I get from all this is that, whilst there is clearly some notion of essence that unifies all these people, it is by no means clear exactly how it should be exactly interpreted.  What is clear is how one might interpret essence in broad strokes.  On the 'new generation' conception of essence it is not necessity de re, but what it is for things to be the things that they are.  I describe this as an ontological interpretation as opposed to a modal one, as whatever essence is, it is linked closely with the identities of things.  However, once we accept this (rather vague) idea, it becomes quite tricky to agree on just about anything else, be it the nature of essence, or its role in modern metaphysics.  

Issues people can differ on include a bunch of tricky topics, but today I'm going to talk about the direction of explanation.  The question comes from two different and (seemingly) equally plausible ways that one might phrase a general essentialist claim.  The first claims that 'the essence of x is that in virtue of which x is the individual that it is'.  Alternatively one might say 'the essence of x is that which follows from what x is (in adherence with the tradition that italics make phrases more meaningful).  The end of this one can be rephrased as 'from x's identity', or even x's 'metaphysical identity' (apply italics to taste)'.  Both of these sound like pretty good ways of summing up what essence is, and both have precedents in the literature.  The problem is that each points the explanation in the opposite direction from the other.  In the first case it is the essence of x that makes it what it is.  The second makes x's essence something that follows from what x is.  

The former seems to be more in keeping with our intuitions, right?  I mean, if essence is to play a useful role in your metaphysics, it should be 'making you the thing that you are', or 'grounding your identity', or whatever.  Chaps like Lowe and Shalkowski seem more inclined this way (looks that way to me anyway, especially when you think about what Lowe wants essence to do for modal epistemology).  But it looks like folk like Fine and Dasgupta favour the latter option.  At least, this is how it looks when you think about Fine's stuff on real definition.  This claims that the essence of x is the real definition of x (Fine only offers this as a heuristic, but sometimes I wonder why he doesn't try to do more...  More on that when I'm less confused).  A real definition is supposed to be a metaphysical analogue to the way that we give nominal definitions of terms.  Fine identities the real definition of x with the collection of propositions that are true in virtue of its identity (or with the corresponding collection of essential properties).

A nice, easy way of seeing why this difference is significant is in the kinds of traditional essential predications that these interpretations support.  For instance, the former favours essential origins whilst the latter does not, and the latter favours essentially having such and such persistence conditions where it doesn't seem obvious (at least to me) that the former does.  Here's why I think this.  If we think of in virtue of (oh boy, here he goes with the italics again) as being grounds, then it seems pretty safe to think that x's identity is (at least in part) grounded in x's origins.  Conversely, to say that x having certain origins is grounded in x's identity is, well it's weird.  Likewise, it looks pretty safe to say that x's persistence conditions could be grounded in x's identity, but it looks less appetising to think the other way around (though I suppose it's not that weird...  Oh will you quit with the italics already!). 

It looks to me like one of several things might be going on.  Maybe I'm misinterpreting what Fine means by 'in virtue of'.  Maybe it is supposed to be more to do with what you can infer, in which case I can much more confidently infer the importance of x's origins from it's identity.  Maybe Fine just doesn't want essence to do what I'm thinking of, after all, it looks like his way makes essence a better candidate for providing the grounds to modal facts.  Maybe I've drank too much tea this year and I'm going loopy.  But maybe, just maybe I'm actually worried about something legitimate and this is a real problem for the essentialist camp.  After all, even if you follow Fine to the letter there is still something uncomfortable about reconciling the notion of essences as real definitions with Fine's desired direction of explanation.  Is that how we think of nominal definitions?  No, we think of them as telling us what a term means, not telling us what it true in virtue of the meaning of the term (Oi!).  Even if my intuitions are faulty on this one (perfectly possible for someone who attributes italics semantic content but refuses to specify what that content is), but even so, there appears to be a lack of unity in this generation of essentialists, even when it comes to the most basic aspects of the nature of essence.   

The problem gets even worse when you bring stuff like ontological dependence into the picture.  Maybe I'll talk about that next time, if I've had enough tea. 

Thursday, 26 May 2011

An introduction to my thoughts on essentialism

I've been thinking about essence.  I've been thinking about essence for about a year and a half now.  Essentialism is usually understood as the claim that some de re modal predications are true (and indeed that they are sensible).  Fine reckons that they're wrong, and I reckon Fine's right.  Essence isn't a modal thesis, it's an ontological one.  Now, I'm a little confused on just how to formulate the thesis (more on that later), but for now let's just say that an individual's essence is tied in very closely with what that individual is in a mysterious metaphysical identity kind of a way that is somehow only conveyable through the use of italics.  There are two other important parts of Fine's view on essence.  He thinks that essences are to be understood as 'real definitions' analogous to the nominal definitions that help us to understand terms, and he thinks that facts about necessity are grounded in essential facts (stay tuned for bumbling monologues on these two points in the future).

Whitehead said that all philosophy is just footnotes on Plato.  He's wrong.  All philosophy is footnotes on Aristotle, essentialism doubly so.  As far as I can tell from my very limited readings of Aristotle on essence I think it sounds like he's talking about the latter option.  But really I don't care what he thought, or indeed what a lot of people thought of essence.  If what I'm talking about isn't what they're talking about, then I guess I'm not interested in essentialism, I'm interested in something else.  However, until someone comes up with a cooler name (preferably one whose puns haven't been worn out so terribly), I'll stick with 'essence'.

My original motivations for liking Fine's ideas about essence were threefold.  First, I really like 'Essence and Modality' (the paper he puts these views forward in), it's fun and clever and just generally cool in a way that's hard to do in sixteen or so pages.  Second, grounding modality in something that's not possible worlds is right up my alley (I don't like possible worlds.  I think they're cool and fun like every other metaphysician, but let's face it, they just aren't real).  Incidentally I originally thought that essentialism could provide an reductive analysis for modality but have since realised that grounding it is probably all one can hope for, but I'm cool with that.  Third, it felt fun to try to bring back some old school Aristotelian metaphysics and try to reconcile it with contemporary thought.

My current motivations for liking essentialism are just the above, but also that I'm starting to think that it's probably true.  But then again my view on this point does change quite often, so probably best not to assume that I'm an essentialist (certainly not until I'm actually sure of what I mean by that).

One problem that I'm currently trying to get my head around is just how I should consider the literature on essentialism that treats it merely as modality de re.  At first I thought that it was just irrelevant.  They're not talking about the same thing as me, and that's that.  Now I've come round to the idea that their discussion deals with many of the same intuitions that mine will.  If modal facts are grounded in essential ones then their discussion will give a good indication of what's going on at the essential level, just like the lumps in the lawn give an indication of the movements of the gophers beneath (at least this is what cartoons have led me to believe).  However, I still wonder just how good an indication this is, and whether I run the risk of conflating the two interpretations.

Okay, so that wasn't that insightful, but I'm tired.  I've been reading scores of undergraduate essays and it could take a few days before I recover.  Next time I'll get into what I think about Fine's real definitions and some stuff on direction of explanation.

Blogging trial period

I guess I should introduce myself... Hello, I'm Jon Banks.  I'm a 24 year old philosophy PhD student at the University of Leeds, and my research is on the metaphysics of essentialism.  And (depending on when you read this, and whether properties are held relative to times) this is the entirety of my blog.

Okay, so I'm not really a blogger.  I don't think I'm even really the blogging type.  So I suppose this makes my having a blog rather odd, but I'm sure that if we all band together (by which I mean me and what I presume is the vast emptiness that is the internet abyss) we can collectively get past this and move on with our lives. 

My intention is to write about things I've been thinking about, mostly either relating to my research or the various things that I get a bit into every now and then (at the moment it's education).  My motivation is the hope that writing down my thoughts will help me clear up my own views on certain subjects rather than to convince anyone else.  It also seems that doing this in a blog rather than in the privacy of my desktop is a good way to ensure that I keep it up (that's the plan anyway).  A drought of posts will in theory make me paranoid that I've not been thinking enough and compel me to act.

Having said that, I have a big stack of marking to do so I'm not going to post anything just yet, but hopefully the knowledge that it is here, waiting for me, will ensure that I return soon.