Digest Week 1 Hilary Term 2019

HT19, Week 1 (14th January - 20th January)

If you have entries for the weekly 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.

Notices - Events taking place elsewhere in the university and beyond

ERC Research Seminar on Responsibility | 10.00 - 11.00, University College London

Introduced by John Hyman (Queens), Voluntary Action 

The target readings are:

  • Hart, H. L. A. 2008 (1960). “Acts of will and responsibility.” In The Jubilee Lectures of the Faculty of Law, University of Sheffield (ed. O. R. Marshall; Stevens & Sons). Repr. in Punishment and Responsibility (2nd edn.; Oxford UP).
  • Hyman, John. 2015. Action, Knowledge, and Will. Oxford UP. Ch. 1 “Agency and the Will” and ch. 4 “Voluntariness and Choice.” (See also Appendix “The Modern Theory of the Will.”)

Further information about the series can be found at https://rootsofresponsibility.co.uk/ 


WiP - When people err on the safe side: Social decision-making under uncertainty | 14.30 - 15.30 | Oxford Martin School

Please note: Only University members are able to attend this event. 

Uncertainty – here defined as lacking knowledge about what outcome will follow from what choices – is a pervasive challenge that we face when making decisions. While past research has focused on the role of uncertainty in individual decision-making, where our choices have outcomes only for ourselves, we know much less about how uncertainty shapes social decision-making, where our choices have outcomes not only for ourselves but also for others. Exploring uncertainty’s role in these decisions is important because the social domain is characterised by high levels of interdependence, complexity, and subjectivity – features that make it more difficult to predict how our decisions will affect others. Besides high levels of uncertainty, many social decisions involve trading off personal and social interests that come with high stakes, ranging from others’ physical or mental well-being to the subsistence of social institutions that rely on cooperation. This talk will discuss results from two lines of research which suggest that uncertainty in social decisions leads people to err on the side of caution. In particular, taking a comparative approach, we observe less risk seeking and pronounced indecision in social compared to individual decisions under uncertainty. We also show that uncertainty about the impact of our actions on others’ well-being reduces selfishness, at the benefit of prosociality.

Booking not required.


Model Theory and Philosophy Reading Group | 18.00 - 20.00, Ryle Room, Philosophy Faculty

If you would like to attend and you are not a member of the Facebook group, please email dominik.ehrenfels@stx.ox.ac.uk  

The goal is to come to understand both the proofs of central results in model theory and the philosophical discussions that are shaped by these results. Readings will be taken from Button and Walsh (2018), 'Philosophy and Model Theory', CUP. 


Evolving Economic Thought lecture series | Losing it: the economics and politics of migration | 17.00 | Oxford Martin School 

Ian Goldin, Director of the Oxford Martin Programme on Technological and Economic Change.

For further details, please visit https://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/events/


Critical Theory | Black dreams, not nightmares: critical dystopias and the necessity of melancholic hope | 17.00 | Old Library, All Souls College

Speaker: Mathias Thaler (Edinburgh). Invited speakers to this series include both Critical Theorists working within the Frankfurt School tradition and researchers who take a critical approach towards social hierarchies. Speakers will give a paper for about 45 minutes before we open to questions. Graduate and undergraduate students from all disciplinary backgrounds are welcome.


Elizabeth Anscombe, Philippa Foot, Mary Midgley and Iris Murdoch reading group | 20.00 - 21.30 | Ryle Room, Radcliffe Humanities

Organised by Elisabeth Huh and Sasha Lawson-Frost