Digest Week 2 Michaelmas Term 2021

MT21, Week 2 (17th - 23rd October)

If you have entries for the weekly Digest, please send information to admin@philosophy.ox.ac.uk by midday, Wednesday the week before the event. 


Notices - other Philosophy events, including those taking place elsewhere in the university and beyond

Sophist reading group | 4:15pm-6:15pm | Balliol College

Anyone who would like to join can email Dimosthenis Patramanis or Hermann Koerner for details.

Effective Altruism Oxford - Empowering students to have a positive impact | 6:00pm

Title: “The Precipice: Existential Risk and the Future of Humanity”

Speaker: Toby Ord

Effective Altruism is a research field that helps us find the best ways to improve the world, through the use of evidence and careful reasoning. It’s also a community of people who strive to take action on that basis, to have a large positive impact on the world. 

EA Oxford aims to empower Oxford students to use EA ideas in their career. During term, we meet weekly on Tuesdays at the HB Allen Centre, where we hold speaker events, seminar programmes, and workshops, as well as provide a space to meet and network with likeminded students and professionals in EA. 

Each Tuesday at 6pm there’ll be a talk from an EA professional, including prominent philosophers at Oxford such as Hilary Greaves (director of the Global Priorities Institute) and Toby Ord (senior research fellow at the Future of Humanity Institute). Free pizza is provided after the talk.

Sign up to our mailing list to learn more. 


Hegel Reading Group | 6:00-7:30pm | Online via Skype

This term we continue The Phenomenology of Spirit (any translation) ‘Faith and pure Insight’, starting at Paragraph 527.

For enquiries or to be added to the circulation list and receive the Skype link please contact louise.braddock@philosophy.ox.ac.uk or susanne.herrmann-sinai@philosophy.ox.ac.uk.

Reproductive Ethics - Lecture 2: Access to Assisted Reproductive Technologies. Radcliffe Humanities Lecture Room. 11am. 

This is the second lecture in a short series, open to all, on Reproductive Ethics. It runs weeks 1-4 of MT21, given by Ms Tess Johnson.

Topic: This lecture extends the debate from the decision not to have a child, to decisions to have a child. I present the debates surrounding initial uses of in vitro fertilisation (IVF), and intersections with Luck Egalitarianism as determining the distribution of natural resources and abilities, and compare this to Disability views on access to fertility treatments.

Algorithms at Work - Reading Group | 12:30-1:30pm | St Antony’s College and on Zoom.

Automated systems are increasingly running workplaces – from everyday management to hiring and firing workers. AI hasn’t come for workers’ jobs: it is managers who see their traditional tasks replaced or supplemented by sophisticated analyses of personal data. The pervasive reliance on ‘people analytics’, monitoring technology and algorithms to measure, control, and sanction workers is highly controversial: whilst fast and efficient, the technology is easily prone to bias and threatens to disperse responsibility into the cloud.

This discussion group will explore the effects of algorithmic control and surveillance and its current and future regulation, drawing on disciplines including law, economics, sociology, and computer science. We will convene weekly in a hybrid format (Thursday, 12:30 – 13:30) at St Antony’s College and on Zoom.

Applications are invited from across the University; further details can be found here.


St Cross Special Ethics Seminar | 5.30 – 7.30pm | Online and in-person

Title: The ‘human element’ in the social space of the courtroom: Framing and influencing the deliberative process in mental capacity law

Speaker: Michael Dunn (Oxford)

OxTalks: https://talks.ox.ac.uk/talks/id/d3744d34-54c6-49ac-b73c-f425489e66c7/ 

Zoom Registration Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_-TQL2SCYSxOeW_XiN8fc-g 

In-person Registration: https://bookwhen.com/uehiro/e/ev-sz12-20211021173000

Venue: Lecture Theatre, St Cross College, 61 St Giles, Oxford OX1 3LZ

Weekly reading group on the occasion of the centenary of Ludwig Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus | 6:30-7:30pm | Colin Matthew Room, Radcliffe Humanities

We are delighted to announce that this term we will be hosting a reading group, open to all members of the University and the public, to mark the centenary of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus.

One of the defining texts of the 20th century, Wittgenstein’s first work is notoriously difficult for first-time readers. By working through it together, the problems that baffle us alone or leave us stranded can be solved through discussion, drawing on our individual readings and backgrounds. This is the perfect opportunity to cover a text often sidelined, or marginalised as an eccentricity in the history of ideas.  

The TLP is composed of 7 core propositions. We will endeavour to finish the text by the end of Michaelmas Term (first week of December). We will play it by ear together and see how far we get each session, though we will try to finish one proposition a week where realistic, with a few exceptions where more time is required. 

Every Friday from October 15th, 18:30, at Radcliffe Humanities Building, Woodstock Road.

Please message us at jack.franco@queens.ox.ac.uk or ph21251@bristol.ac.uk to let us know you’re coming, and to receive a copy of the text. We will be using the newly published (Anthem Press) centenary edition, by Luciano Bazzocchi and PMS Hacker (more on this choice in the first session!)

We will offer suggested further reading at the end of sessions. All welcome, students, staff and public. 

Postcolonial discussion group | 11:30am-1:00pm | Flo’s Cafe, Florence Park, Rymer’s Lane, OX4 3JZ

You're warmly invited to join Alternative Curricula, a discussion group set up to explore decolonial & postcolonial theory. Anyone from any background is welcome. Our term card can be found here

Poetry and anticolonialism: a discussion of Aimé Césaire’s poetry

Core reading:
•    Aimé Césaire, Return to My Native Land (Penguin 1969), available through SOLO and here
Additional reading: 
•    Aimé Césaire, ‘Discourse on Colonialism’, available online here
•    ‘Homage to Aimé Césaire’ Callaloo, available online here