Digest Summer Vacation 2019




This page lists all Philosophy-related events taking place throughout the summer vacation. 

If you have entries for the Digest, they must be received by Wednesday, midday of the week before the event. Please send information to admin@philosophy.ox.ac.uk

Unless otherwise stated, all events will take place in the Radcliffe Humanities Building on Woodstock Road, OX2 6GG.

Featured summer events

Workshop: Pushing the Boundaries: Kinēsis and Peras in Aristotle’s Physics

26th - 27th August | Ryle Room, Radcliffe Humanities


Southern Association for Ancient Philosophy, 2019

9th - 10th September | Lecture Room, Radcliffe Humanities


Epistemic Justice and the Principle of Total Evidence

18th September | Ryle Room, Radcliffe Humanities

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KCL event | The YTL Law and Justice Forum: Technology and Manipulation | 2nd July | King's College London

The YTL Centre usually holds three 'Law and Justice' forums per year. These are one-day events that discuss major questions of the day by bringing to bear inter-disciplinary perspectives from politics, philosophy and law.

This forum includes a talk from Oxford's Tom Douglas. For full information (including the venue) and to register, please visit the KCL website.  


1st Oxford Symposium on Comparative Political Philosophy | 10th - 12th July | Blavatnik School of Government

Keynote Speaker: Stephen C. Angle (Wesleyan University).

In recent years there has been an increasing interest among Anglo-American political theorists in comparing the diverse ways of how the thinkers of different cultural traditions address political issues. Yet despite this growing body of literature, there is still inadequate substantive engagement across different traditions about fundamental questions in political theory and public policy. The driving interest of this symposium is to promote such engagement, comparing competing (or possibly similar) answers to substantive questions, testing arguments and assumptions across traditions in philosophical debate, and then ask whether this debate can shed light on questions of substantive policy.
This year the main theme is 'political legitimacy'. Please see further information on the event and how to register on the Blavatnik website. All are welcome. 


The Anscombe Bioethics Centre and the Aquinas Institute of Blackfriars | Anscombe and Aquinas: Perspectives on Virtue - a joint research seminar | 11th July, 14.00 - 16.30 | Blackfriars

The Anscombe Bioethics Centre and the Aquinas Institute of Blackfriars, Oxford are holding a joint research seminar on 'Anscombe and Aquinas: Perspectives on Virtue'. This seminar seeks to explore the relationship between action theory and virtue ethics, particularly through the philosophical thought of Thomas Aquinas and Elizabeth Anscombe. Contemporary questions relating to the nature of action and virtue will be addressed, such as whether there are types of actions that are intrinsically good and whether virtues are causally efficacious traits. All are welcome. 
There will be two papers given at this seminar, each followed by discussion:
•    Janice Chik (Visiting Scholar, Aquinas Institute): ‘Action Descriptions and the Specification of Goodness: Contemporary Development of bonum ex integra causa’
•    Michael Wee (Education and Research Officer, Anscombe Bioethics Centre): ‘Are Virtues Mental Causes? Addressing the Situationism Debate’

Open to the public – all welcome.

Registration is free.
For all enquiries: admin@bioethics.org.uk / 01865 610 212


One-day workshop | Truthmakers and Language | 15th July | All Souls College

Participants: Simona Aimar, Kit Fine, Angelika Kratzer, Matt Mandelkern, Daniel Rothschild and Ian Rumfitt.

Registration is required. To book and for more information, please visit http://danielrothschild.com/tms/


Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics | 'Robotics has a race problem' | 19th July, 14.00 - 15.30 | Colin Matthew Room, Radcliffe Humanities

Speaker: Robert Sparrow (Monash Bioethics Centre)

If people are inclined to attribute race to humanoid robots, as recent research suggests, then designers of social robots confront a difficult choice. Most existing social robots have white surfaces and are therefore, I suggest, likely to be perceived as White, exposing their designers to accusations of racism. However, manufacturing robots that would be perceived as Black, Brown, or Asian, risks representing people of these races as slaves, especially given the historical associations between robots and slaves at the very origins of the project of robotics. The only way engineers might avoid this ethical and political dilemma is to design and manufacture robots to which people will struggle to attribute race. Doing so, however, would require rethinking the relationship between robots and “the social” that sits at the heart of the project of social robotics. Discussion of the race politics of robots is also worthwhile because of the potential it holds to generate insights about the politics of artifacts, the relationship between culture and technology, and the responsibilities of engineers.

Professor Robert Sparrow, BA (Hons) (Melb.), PhD (A.N.U.)
Rob Sparrow is a Professor in the Philosophy Program, a Chief Investigator in the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science, and an adjunct Professor in the Monash Bioethics Centre, at Monash University, where he works on ethical issues raised by new technologies. He has published on topics as diverse as the ethics of military robotics, the moral status of AIs, human enhancement, stem cells, preimplantation genetic diagnosis, xenotransplantation, and migration. He is a co-chair of the IEEE Technical Committee on Robot Ethics and was one of the founding members of the International Committee for Robot Arms Control.

This talk is internal and open to members of the University of Oxford. Booking not required. 


2019 Ian Ramsey Centre Summer Conference | 'Compassion and Theodicy' | 19th - 20th July | Mathematical Institute and Eynsham Hall

Compassion and theodicy do not usually mix. Theodicy is generally a dispassionate activity, conducted through abstract philosophical arguments and “just-so” stories of suffering. Compassion is the realm of the pastor, the health care professional, and the friend, typically outside the discourse of the academy. Exploring these two areas of human thought and experience in tandem, however, offers powerful new possibilities to both: compassion enriched by scholarship, and theodicy shaped by compassion. This conference will seek to build new paths at the intersection of theory and flourishing, with presentations providing perspectives on suffering from theological, philosophical, medical, and pastoral perspectives. 

The keynote speakers will include Alister McGrath, at a public lecture Thursday 18th July in the evening. On Friday 19th July, Joshua Hordern, Bethany Sollereder, and Eleonore Stump will speak, and present a small number of short papers, at the Mathematical Institute. Christopher Southgate will speak at the dinner on Friday evening at Eynsham Hall. The remaining 27 short papers will be presented in three parallel sessions at Eynsham Hall on Saturday 20th July.

The conference will be held at the Mathematical Institute in Oxford and at Eynsham Hall, an 18th century stately home nestled in the English countryside a few miles northwest of Oxford. A coach will be available to take participants to Eynsham Hall on Friday evening, returning on Saturday evening.

For full information and to register, please visit https://www.ianramseycentre.ox.ac.uk/


Wittgenstein Reading Group | 22nd July, 17.00 - 19.00 | Lady Brodie Room, St Hilda’s

See http://wrgoxford.blogspot.com for details of how to join/what text the group will be discussing.


Philiminality Oxford | 'Body, Mind and Spirit in Early China: Perspectives from Medicine and Excavated Texts' | 22 July, 16.00 - 17.00 | Lecture Room, Radcliffe Humanities

Speaker: Lisa Raphals, Professor of Chinese/Comparative Literature at the University of California, Riverside, with a focus on comparative philosophy, religion, history of science, and gender, as approaches to the cultures of early China and Classical Greece (https://complitlang.ucr.edu/people/faculty/raphals/).

Recent debates over a perceived antimony between Chinese 'holism' and 'Western' dualism have renewed interest in questions of mind-body dualism in early Chinese thought. This talk attempts to address several problems in current discussion by turning to the evidence of medical literature and excavated texts. It argues against a problematic 'mind-body' binary that ignores the very separate roles of xin 心 (mind or heartmind) and shen 神 (spirit).

This paper uses medical and excavated texts to argue for a largely tripartite model of the self in early Chinese texts, at least up to the Han dynasty. In this tripartite model, the self is composed of body (shen 身, ti 體, xing 形), mind or heartmind (xin) and spirit (shen). I argue that there is a broad divergence between two views of a tripartite relation between body, mind and spirit in Warring States texts. One closely aligns mind and spirit, often in a hierarchically superior relation to the body. The other problematises the relation between mind and spirit, and in some cases even aligns body and spirit in opposition to mind.

After Professor Raphals' paper, there will be time for questions and discussion.

Follow the event on Facebook for updates: https://www.facebook.com/events/2357808114479820/


Collective Intentions and Voting Conference | 25th July 2019, 09:00 - 18:00 | Bonavero Institute of Human Rights 

Registrants from all departments welcome.

Further see information here: https://www.law.ox.ac.uk

Workshop: Pushing the Boundaries: Kinēsis and Peras in Aristotle’s Physics | 26th - 27th August | Ryle Room, Radcliffe Humanities

This two-day workshop aims to explore some notions that are central to Aristotle’s construction of the physical world, especially megethos, peras, dynamis and kinēsis, as well as the structural relations and dependences obtaining between them.

Provisional Program:

26th August:
14.00 - 15.30: Christian Pfeiffer (Toronto): 'The account of quantity in Cat. 6'. Respondent: Francesco Ademollo (Firenze).
10 mins break. 
15.40 - 17.10: Barbara Sattler (St Andrews): 'The role of suneches and peras in Aristotle’s account of motion'. Respondent: Chiara Martini (Oxford).
20 mins break.
17.30 - 19.00: Andreas Anagnostopoulos (LMU Munich): 'Matter and Potentiality in Aristotle's GC'. Respondent: Ana Laura Edelhoff (Oxford). 
27th August:
9.00 - 10.30: Jonathan Beere (HU Berlin): 'Energeia and Actuality'. Respondent: Sarah Broadie (St Andrews).
15 mins break.
10.45 - 12.15: Diana Quarantotto (La Sapienza, Roma): 'Aristotle on place as peras akineton (Phys. IV 4, 212a20-21)'. Respondent: Michael Peramatzis (Oxford).
1 hour lunch break.
13.15 - 14.45: Jacob Rosen (Harvard): 'Zeno Beach, or, The Possibility of Actually Infinite Pluralities in Aristotle'. Respondent: Janine Gühler (Oxford).

Organised by Ursula Coope, Ondřej Černý, and Chiara Martini.
There is no registration fee, but please tell us if you are intending to come by sending an email to chiara.martini@philosophy.ox.ac.uk

Southern Association for Ancient Philosophy, 2019 | 9th - 10th September | Lecture Room, Radcliffe Humanities

The schedule can be viewed as a PDF here.


James Warren (Cambridge): ‘Plato on sharing and privatisation’
Sophia Connell (Birkbeck): ‘Aristotle on the intelligence of women’
Alex Bown (Oxford): ‘Evidence and revelation in Stoic accounts of sign and proof’
Laura Castelli (Munich): ‘Establishing the universal through the particular: dialectic, logic and mathematics’
Jamie Dow (Leeds): ‘Dialectic, Persuasion and Science in Aristotle’
Katharine O’Reilly (Oxford): ‘Epicurus on Pain and the Recollection of Pleasure’
Alessio Santoro (Cambridge): ‘Aristotle and Plato on the power of being’

Please view the full abstracts here

Please contact Ursula Coope or Karen Margrethe Nielsen with any queries.


EAMCE Conference 2019 | Rethinking Ethics in 21st Century Europe | 12-- 14th September | Keble College

The Ethox Centre and Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities at the Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford, look forward to welcoming you from 12th-14th September 2019 to the 36th EACME conference in Oxford, on the theme of Rethinking Ethics in 21st Century Europe

The annual EACME conference presents an open platform for research contributions and debate about ethical issues in health care practices, policies, and medical sciences as well as new approaches in clinical ethics, research ethics and ethics teaching.

Register by 31st July 2019.

For full information, programme and how to register, please visit the conference website


European Research Council Conference | The Early Franciscan Tradition: Philosophy and Reception | 23rd - 25th September | Sutro Room, Trinity College

All are welcome at this conference on the philosophy and reception and later influence of the Early Franciscan intellectual tradition at Paris (until c. 1245).

Please register on Eventbrite by 8th September for the individual days that you would like to attend. Please cancel your booking before 22 September if you are no longer able to attend. Conference lunches are available in Trinity College at a subsidised rate (see registration page). For full information, please see the Eventbrite page.