Digest Week 4 Hilary Term 2024

HT24, Week 4 (4th-10th February)

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


'Sound and the Brain'

The St Hilda's Brain and Mind Series continues this term with Sound and the Brain.

Guest speakers will be Dr Matthew Nudds (University of Warwick) for philosophy, Dr Ifat Yasin (University College London) for psychology, and Dr Andrew King (University of Oxford) for neuroscience.

Date/Time: Tuesday 6 February between 5pm-7:15pm

Venue: Jacqueline du Pre Music Building, St Hilda's College

Sound and the Brain is a free, live and in-person event where all are welcome.

Book Tickets here.



'Dominus Illuminatio Mea: Our Brains, Our Delusions, and the Future of the University'

Speaker: Iain McGilchrist, University of Oxford. Iain McGilchrist is a literary scholar, consultant psychiatrist, and the noted author of the neuroscientific book, The Master and His Emissary (2009), and the epistemological and metaphysical book, The Matter With Things (2021). 

Date/Time: Wednesday 7 February 4pm-5:30pm

Venue: Pusey House Chapel, Oxford

Universities face a number of challenges which threaten to make them less attractive and more expensive. Indeed, some seem already to consider universities increasingly irrelevant. Yet at their best they are – or should be – the stewards of a long tradition of scholarship, of the rigour, honesty and free discourse that alone can lead to truth, and the custodians of wisdom. Hemisphere theory may offer a lens through which to understand how we come to be in this predicament and how we can begin to extricate ourselves from it. 

This event is part of the series 'Recollection Lectures', run by the Centre for Theology, Law, and Culture at Pusey House. This event is co-organised with the Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion in collaboration with the Humane Philosophy Project, with sponsorship from the John Templeton Foundation and the University of Warsaw.

This talk is free and open to the public.


'Purpose of the Universe Panel'

Oxford Philosophy Society
Date/Time: Wednesday 7 February 18:00-19:30pm
Venue: Simpkins Lee Theatre, Lady Margaret Hall

Professor Richard Swinburne, Professor Guy Kahane and Dr Emily Qureshi-Hurst will discuss the Purpose of the Universe. What does it mean to say the universe has purpose or meaning? Should we want the universe to have meaning? Why should we or should we not think that it does? There will be an opportunity towards the end of the event for audience questions.

Dr Emily Qureshi-Hurst is a Junior Research Fellow in Religion and the Frontier Challenges at Pembroke College and a College Lecturer in Philosophy at Oriel College. Her research focuses on the philosophy of time, quantum mechanics, and the implications of these for both the doctrine of salvation and the interrelated notions of freedom and moral responsibility. Her first book, ‘God, Salvation, and the Problem of Spacetime’ was published in 2022 and her next ‘Salvation in the Block Universe: Time, Tillich, and Transformation’ will be published by Cambridge University Press later this year.

Professor Guy Kahane is Professor of Moral Philosophy and Fellow and Tutor in Philosophy at Pembroke College and the Director of Studies at the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics. His research focuses on practical ethics, metaethics, moral psychology and philosophy of religion/atheism. He is also involved in interdisciplinary empirical research into the neural and psychological processes that underlie moral decision-making. He has edited two books and authored over 100 papers.

Professor Richard Swinburne is Emeritus Nolloth Professor of the Philosophy of the Christian Religion and an Emeritus Fellow of Oriel College. He has published over 150 articles and written numerous books on Philosophy of Religion, Metaphysics, Epistemology and Philosophy of Mind. He has four honorary doctorates and continues to publish prolifically: ‘Could a Good God Permit So Much Suffering?’, a book presenting a debate between him and James Sterba, is being published by Oxford University Press in April.

The event is free for Society members and non-members can pay £3 on the door or join the Society here.


Seminar in Indian Religions and Philosophies

This series of regular seminars brings together scholars and students working on Indic philosophies and religions. It focuses on topics of current research: in each session, two people will present a context they are investigating for 20min, and then open it for discussion on key questions.

Dr Jessica Frazier: 'Why Emptiness is Full: Madhyamaka as Allies with the Philosophy of Being'

Madhyamaka is sometimes portrayed as Metaphysical or Semantic Nihilism, and certainly its many arguments are critical of normal object-individuated ontologies. Yet it also contains many arguments that seem to point to a 'gunky' realm of Being that is directly manifest, and ultimately unstructured yet full of rich structures and creative forces. This short discussion examines three arguments that Madhamaka's emptiness is actually very full...

Aamir Kaderbhai: 'Who am I? The self's relationship to itself in Kant, Deleuze and Saṅkara'

Śaṅkara’s Advaitic philosophy claims that brahman as the coincidence of being, consciousness bliss (saccidānanda) is the only reality over and above the changing flux of the phenomenal world. In this he would seem diametrically opposed to the post-structuralist philosophy of Giles Deleuze that seeks to deconstruct appeals to Being as a category and theorise the onto-genetic role of difference and flux. Using Kant's notion of the transcendental unity of the apperception as a meeting point for these two philosophies, I will argue that that Saṅkara’s notion that the individual self arises from ‘mutual superimposition’ (iteretarādhyāsa) constitutes the individualised self (jīva) as a basic self-differing — as a subject-object relationship that appears within the self itself. This reveals a potential mutual enrichment between Śankara's and Deleuze's philosophies. I will end with a consideration of the implications of this philosophical picture of the practices of self-inquiry and meditation.  

Time/Date: Wednesday 7 February 4.30pm

Venue: The Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies (OCHS) Library, 15 Magdalen Street, OX1 3AE

All researchers, graduates and finalists in all areas are welcome to join.



'What to do if and when AI steals your job: staying employed in the finance sector and beyond'

Paul Donovan, this year’s Founder’s Dinner speaker, will be 'in conversation' with St Anne's Principal Helen King QPM. The talk will be followed by an audience Q&A. Paul is the Chief Economist for UBS Global Wealth Management. He is involved in several aspects of the bank including the UBS Pride, the Art Board and the Sustainable Impact Investment Institute. Paul is also a member of the Word Economic Forum’s Chief Economist Community. 

Date/Time: 5pm on Thursday 8th February 

Venue: Tsuzuki Lecture Theatre, St Anne’s College 

This talk is free and open to everyone, so please let us know by scanning the QR code and registering your interest on the form so we can monitor numbers.



Oxford Jurisprudence Discussion Group

'Permissible University Responses to Blameworthy Student Speech'

Speaker: Michael S. Moore (Illinois)

Michael S. Moore, Charles R. Walgreen University Chair, Center for Advanced Studies Professor of Law and of Philosophy, and Co-Director of the Program in Law and Philosophy, University of Illinois, presents the fourth paper of Hilary Term 2024, "Permissible University Responses to Blameworthy Student Speech". 

Date/Time: Thursday 8 February 5-7pm

The particular focus of this article stems from our general interest in the nature and value of individual liberty.  It is by virtue of that general interest that we have more particular interests in people’s freedom of expression and the freedoms people have to respond to others’ expressions. And precisely because universities have traditionally constituted arenas in which people are encouraged to pit their ideas against one another, we take the issues of proper student speech, and of university administrations’ responses to student speech when it is improper, to be a fruitful venue in which to explore these interests of ours in personal liberty. The questions we explore are: when are students wrongful in their speech, and when should students who are wrongful in their speech be accorded “rights to do wrong,” by being left at liberty to say things they ought not to say?

Venue: Arthur Goodhart Seminar Room, University College. The Room is located in Logic Lane and can be accessed from High St. or Merton St. without having to go through the main entrance to University College.

Pre-reading is desirable and strongly suggested, but not a requirement to attend.

If you want to receive the papers we discuss in our seminars join our mailing list by sending a blank email at jurisprudence-discussion-group-subscribe[at]maillist.ox.ac.uk.

This event is open to anyone. No registration needed.



Graduate Discussion Group

We welcome all University of Oxford Graduate Students to the return of this seminar series led by Dr Rebecca Brown. The aim of this seminar is to provide an opportunity for graduate students, from all departments, whose work has an applied ethics dimension, to present their works in progress to fellow students as well as OUC research staff. The seminars also provide teaching on practical ethics topics, taught by researchers from the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics.

The seminars will be held during weeks 2, 4, 6 & 7 on Fridays from 2pm-4pm with the opportunity to join OUC staff at The Royal Blenheim Hotel afterwards.

Seminar format: This seminar will be run both in person, and on zoom for those unable to attend physically. Each week, for the first hour of the seminar, one of the researchers from the OUC will introduce a key topic in Practical or Medical Ethics. During the second hour of the seminar students will be given the opportunity to present a work/idea in progress, draft papers or thesis chapters for constructive comments and discussion with other graduate students, led by Dr Rebecca Brown.

Part 1: Methods in Applied Ethics: Binesh Hass: 'Reasonableness in Capacity Law'

Required reading: Hass, B. (2023), Reasonableness in Capacity Law. Mod Law Rev., 86: 1447-1471. https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-2230.12823    

Part 2: 'Work in Progress'

Student Presenting: Karel-Bart Celie: 'The Impact of Philosophical Assumptions on the Implementation of Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) in Global Health'

Student Responding: TBC

Venue: Oxford Uehiro Centre, Seminar Room, Suite 1 Littlegate House, 16-17 St Ebbes St. OX1 1PT

Please email rocci.wilkinson@philosophy.ox.ac.uk now to sign up for this seminar, to be placed on the mailing list and/or to sign up for a presentation or response slot in Hilary Term.