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Where’s Wilkins?

Last updated on 22 Jun 2018

Wheres Wally record attem 002

I’ve been hard to spot lately. There are Developments that have kept me from your view.

Last week I was working in a warehouse packing CDs into delivery boxes, and bitching about my back, feet and general well being. This week I am preparing to move to Melbourne (approx. 900km south) to take up a contract job as the grant administrator for a research project at the University of Melbourne. This is my seventh move in eight years. I am getting a bit tired of this as you might expect. But I doubt you really care, nor should you.

This means that (i) I do not have to steal from old people on the street, which is as well since I am slower than most of them; (ii) I am not likely in the medium term to sleep in a gutter (or not for long); (iii) I get to work with one of my doctoral advisors, Neil Thomason on a cool project testing whether teaching critical reasoning actually improves critical reasoning. Oddly, nobody seems to have done that in the 2500 years we’ve been teaching critical reasoning.

Now I still hold out hopes for a fellowship or lectureship (if you are one of the people who decides these things – please don’t remove me from the list just because I have a 12 month contract!), and they may necessitate my returning to Sin City, but it looks like I’m back home for the duration.

Treadmill 2

Almost certainly this will cause me to disappear for a time while I find an internet service in Melbourne, but such is my addiction it won’t be too long when I move in a few weeks. I have to thank Neil for saving me from the workhouse warehouse; my back was due to collapse for permanent any day.

I will continue to work and blog on natural classification and many other matters. That is all.


  1. Hey John, Are you “testing whether teaching critical reasoning actually improves critical reasoning” of the teachers or the students?

  2. Moving is a time of frustration. But that Melbourne job sure sounds better than packing CDs, so it is probably worth the annoyances.

    … testing whether teaching critical reasoning actually improves critical reasoning.

    It probably doesn’t, except perhaps for a small marginal effect.

  3. I have several reasons to be happy at this news, none of which I intend to be critical of.

  4. J. J. Ramsey J. J. Ramsey

    Huzzah! That certainly looks like a job more suited to you than the warehouse. Congrats.

  5. Maureen Maureen

    Seriously good news – many congratulations! This job sounds like excellent preparation for administering your own grant, and I hope we’ll be hearing good news about that later in the year. But we’ll miss you in Sydney in the meantime. Happy settling in, and best recovery wishes for the back.

  6. Hamish Reid Hamish Reid

    Wow — good news! Well, my commiserations on moving to … Melbourne … (oh, wait! that’s where you’re from! Scratch that…), but that’s got to be better than the fate you described as looming in Sydney. Now for my part I just have to order the paperback edition of “Species” and finally finish it, dammit…

  7. Jeb Jeb


  8. bob koepp bob koepp

    Heartfelt congratulations, and best wishes. Life sucks, but it beats the hell out of the alternative(s). So tip a few to the fates.
    Bob Koepp

  9. As someone who attempts to teach critical thinking, all I can say is “please hurry!”

    Good luck with the moving. I just finished my (counts on fingers) seventh move in the last eight years (snap!), two of them across the Tasman, so I feel your pain very deeply. I recommend throwing lots of stuff out. Except books. And bookshelves.

    • Apart from my clothes and computer, that’s all I own.

  10. Susan Silberstein Susan Silberstein

    Will it be hard to find a place to live this time?

    • If anyone sees a house made entirely of books in a park in Melbourne, you’ll know the answer to this.

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