I got to the law faculty at about 11am. I spent the late morning/early afternoon reading the last bit of the Simmonds chapter and did a bit of Hart's explanation of Bentham's theory of rights. At this point, I don't even know why I'm reading this anymore. I dislike Bentham so thoroughly that I do not have the words for it. I am also failing to see what the central jurisprudential issues relating to rights are, and I really doubt that Hohfeld is as important as the professors here seem to think he is. Putting aside the issue of whether Hohfeld's analysis of rights is to be preferred over competing conceptions because it leaves out contentious issues of politics and policy, and even if I accept for the sake of argument that it is, my question is: so what? Hohfeldian language is scarcely employed by the courts and non-Hohfeldian theorists, etc. Even if he was right in his contention that the word 'right' contains distinct nuanced concepts that have been mixed up and confused by lawyers and academics, I'm not sure how it's helpful now. What I'm trying to say is that I don't see the point in adopting a different language when this langauge isn't commonly used.
I don't know. I'm confused. I'm pretty much not going to read Hart's essays on Bentham that closely because Bentham does not appeal to me at all. I find his theory of law overly simplistic and even a bit stupid, if I'm being honest. My PhD work so far has been quite frustrating, I'm sad to say. I don't know why I'm reading what I'm reading apart from the fact that they're on the reading list that my supervisor gave me. That's not a very good reason, is it? I think I just need to move on from this because I don't find it interesting. It's good to know that these concepts exist, but I don't want to spend too much time on something that doesn't interest me.
Also, I think my PhD doesn't contemplate all legal rights, but only constitutional rights and human rights (which, to me, are kind of the same thing, though this is a contentious thing to say). I'm not interested in why a contractual right has peremptory force or even what it is. Granted, constitutional rights are legal rights, but I think the fact that they are constitutional puts them on a different, higher plane, and perhaps requires a different mode of inquiry. I don't know. I guess I will find out at some point.
I attended the lecture on Wittgenstein at 3pm. I'm actually really shocked that I survived it, not least because the room, for some insane reason, was boiling hot. I came from slightly freezing in the law library to sitting in my tank top in that lecture room. It was just insane and inexplicable.
What was also inexplicable was the lecture itself. It was on Wittgenstein's picture theory. To someone like me who has absolutely zero philosophical background and who lacks basic philosophical language, it was really hard to follow. Still, it was really fascinating. I don't think I understood it enough to explain why it was fascinating, so I shan't do that and I shall move on.
After Wittgenstein, I attended a lecture on classic theories of liberty; the lecture was on Hobbes and Bentham. It was really basic, but it made me hate Bentham even more. It also made me realise how quickly I forget the things that I thought I'd learned; and since I forget them quickly, a more appropriate description is the things that I cram like hell for an exam. I'd totally forgotten Hobbes's views on freedom and liberty, and I somehow managed to get distinction for my Jurisprudene exam at the LSE. It just goes to show, doesn't it, that exams really do nothing to increase and retain knowledge.
I had to buy a blazer and a white shirt in the evening due to a photograph thing for research students which requires formal attire. I stupidly did not bring any white shirts from Singapore. I didn't bring my blazer because 1) I don't like it anyway; and 2) I had no space anyway. But why did I not bring one, or both, of my expensive tailored white shirts?! I ended up buying a shit one from John Lewis for 39 pounds. Ugh. Way too expensive.
Let's move on to more pleasant matters. I attended family formal last night. It was basically formal hall at which everyone sat with their 'family'. Here are some of the members of my family:
I've spoken to all of them, but there are only three people with whom I've had extended conversations: Rebecca (girl next to me), Dominic (guy next to her whose face is partially blocked, ha ha ha) and Claudio (third guy from the right).
I was kind of feeling meh about it before I went because I felt like I should work and I didn't feel like socialising, but I coerced myself to make the effort to socialise. It was actually pretty enjoyable in the end. I showed up at the MCR a bit later than 6.45pm, and immediately felt quite self-conscious. For some odd reason, I thought it would be a good idea to wear this tight, black and a bit short-ish H&M dress that I wore to go clubbing under my gown. I didn't have my gown on properly; I pretty much used it as a thin defensive barrier against the cold (I didn't wear a coat and I didn't wear tights because they would've looked ugly with my awesome dress). I stepped into the room and I saw these men all dressed up, while there I was, possibly looking a bit dishevelled with a short dress on, looking like I was ready to go dancing. I felt a bit awkward but that went away after Dominic poured me a glass of sherry (I didn't even know what sherry tasted like prior to last night) and Rebecca showed up and we started talking about human rights and politics.
As for the actual dinner: the food was really disgusting. The starter appeared to be some sort of Greek salad, a deduction I made based solely on the presence of the feta cheese on the plate. I don't believe there was any dressing of any kind. My main course was this pumpkin tagliatelle...thing. I don't think it could plausibly be called pasta because the noodles were clammy and stuck together and hopelessly overcooked. The sauce was tasteless. The pumpkin was not overcooked and therefore disgusting. The dessert was some sort of apple pie with some cream-looking sauce, and it was honestly one of the worst desserts I'd ever had in my life. It was not sweet. It was tasteless. I thought about what a waste it was to ingest calories via such a bland, tasteless and awful dish, and so I barely touched it.
The bad food aside, dinner was enjoyable. Dominic sat opposite me and I had Rebecca on my right, and the conversation was nice. I was quite shocked to learn that Dominic can speak some Mandarin, and pretty decently, too. Later on at the pub, it transpired that he can actually write some Chinese words. I jokingly said that he could practise his Mandarin, to which he said, 'Wo shi de guo ren.' (I'm a German.) I asked if he could write Chinese and he wrote 4 out of the 5 words in the air - and correctly too. In fact, my Chinese is as good as his because I didn't remmeber how to write 'de' either (still don't remember).
Because I'd used my dessert spoon for the pasta, when the dessert came, I didn't have a spoon. It was also impossible to get the attention of the waiters. There was a big spoon lying on the table, which Dominic suggested I used. I was like, okay! and was about to start eating with it when he swapped his normal spoon with my massive one and proceeded to eat with that. It was quite funny.
I pretty much spent the whole time talking to Dominic, occasionally interspersed with other people. Everyone went to the Pickerail after dinner. I didn't have any sort of money whatsoever on me, so Dominic got me a glass of wine (he also owed me; Claudio used my money to buy a beer for him at the Regal last weekend). Rebecca seemed a bit tipsy. It's actually physically noticeable and rather obvious when she's had a bit too much to drink. I, of course, find this highly amusing. She still managed to have coherent conversations about various philosophers. Dominic is apparently a huge admirer of Wittgenstein so I asked him what I wanted to ask G (see paragraph below) and he was like, it's more logical than mathematical; and Rebecca (I think) said I should just go, and so I just went.
Before I went off for dinner, I'd texted G to see if he had time later in the day to Skype. I wanted to ask if he thought I would understand Wittgenstein, i.e. how mathematical it would be, so that I could decide if I wanted to go to the lecture or not. He texted back saying, 'I always make time for Wittgenstein. :D' He texted again at about 9.40pm asking how the dinner was, which I saw almost an hour later. I said it was nice; shall we Skype in 30 minutes?
I was still at the pub 30 minutes later. Some other people had shown up, in particular this person whom I can't really read who was sitting in front of Dominic and deliberately saying humorously offensive things to him. When I texted G to say Skype in 30 minutes, I was going to leave, but ended up staying way longer than I'd intended. I think I got into a discussion with Dominic and this other guy whose name I don't know about German cars, in particular the sheer perfection of the Mercedes Benz (an aside: I finally heard it pronounced properly but alas, I could not say it in German). In any event, G didn't text back, so I assumed he'd not seen it or he was busy or whatever, so I didn't make it a point to hurry back.
I did, however, receive a bit of a shock when I checked my watch and saw that it was 5 minutes to 11.30. I left, got home, turned on my laptop, got onto Skype, and saw that G messaged me on Skype around the same time he read my Whatsapp message, asking if I was there. I saw it about 20 minutes later. I texted to say that I'd just got home and waited around for a bit for him to, you know, be around, but alas, it was not to be.
This evening, I saw that he messaged me on Skype at 2.30am, saying nothing but "Hey!!". It was bit weird considering I was asleep at that time, but being the sucker that I am, I thought, How cute! He sounded so excited!
I wrote the same to him and suggested we chat if he's around. This was about 5 hours ago. His status has been away for the whole five hours and he has not replied. Oh well. I suppose it says a bit about how busy he is if not even Wittgenstein was enough for him to take the bait. In fact, I'm beginning to think that he'd wrongly sent the "Hey!!" (with two exclamation marks) to me.
I miss him. :(