Digest Week 4 Michaelmas Term 2019

MT19, Week 4 (3rd - 9th November)

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. 

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

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

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Plato Reading Group | 17.00 - 18.30 | Balliol College

This term, we will start reading the Theaetetus and see how far we can get. Each session will be led by a person appointed in the preceding session, preparing the translation of the agreed-upon section of the text especially diligently. The sessions consist in the presenter's translation of the passage and discussion of whatever interesting or uncertain point that arises, whenever it arises. We will use the Greek text (OCT) as the basis for our discussion, and everybody should have prepared the week's section in advance (this week is of course on rather short notice). People who do not know Greek or are just starting to learn it are of course more than welcome to attend.

This week Hermann Koerner will present the Prologue (142a-145c) and however far we get in the attempt to define knowledge by enumeration of species (145c-148e). We can talk organizational details such as section length etc. on Saturday. For more information please email koernerhermann@gmail.com.

Wittgenstein Reading Group | 17.00 - 19.00 | St Hilda’s

See http://wrgoxford.blogspot.com for details of how to join/what text we’re discussing.


The spread of Greek Philosophy (and Indian moral tales) to Persian and Syriac: new light on the 6th century source in Alexandria | 17.00 - 19.00 | Auditorium, Wolfson College

Special lecture by Professor Sir Richard Sorabji. Discussants will include Sebastian Brock, David Taylor, Salam Rassi, Jim Benson, Richard Gombrich and Yuhan Vevaina. Followed by drinks reception and reserved dinner table in Hall. All are welcome.


Echoism and narcissism: the silenced voice in psychoanalysis | 20.15 | Lecture Room, St John’s College Research Centre

Speaker: Donna Savery (Existential psychotherapist and Dasein analyst)

This paper considers the poetic resonance of a character, silenced by a curse and sentenced to repeat the words of another, as a real person whom we meet in our consulting rooms, and about whom little has been written as a subject in her own right. Her absence in the literatures and in psychoanalytic theory has contributed to the echoistic individual being understood through the dominant lens of narcissism, producing a further objectification of the sufferer who resembles closely the Echo of the original myth. Why, it asks, has the treatment of Echo as an object or co-dependent of her subjectivised other, prevailed, and how might this have led to not only a dominant reading of a text, but in psychoanalysis, the occurrence of an ‘overvalued idea’ (Britton, R., and Steiner, J. 1994), substituting for an actual experience of being with such a patient?

Myths are containers for the most dreadful aspects of the human condition, in which fundamental ontological anxieties can be contained in much the same way that the mother, in Bion’s model of the symbiotic container-contained relationship, can bear with her infant a feeling of unbearable dread, in order that transformations can take place through the process of alpha function; enabling the development of a mind and, as a consequence, an ego and a self. For the echoist, it is an absence of self that we encounter in the consulting room, much like that of Echo in the myth.

The seminar is open free of charge to members of the University and to mental health professionals but space is limited. To attend it is helpful (but not essential) to e-mail paul.tod@sjc.ox.ac.uk

Chinese Philosophy in the Curriculum - Challenges and Prospects | 13.00 - 17.00 | Memorial Room, The Queen's College

The aim of the workshop is to enable discussion and the sharing of ideas among those who have an interest in Chinese Philosophy and its place in the University curriculum - particularly in Anglophone universities.

1.00-1.10: Arrival

1.10-2.00: ‘Confucians and Daoists: Meritocracy and Natural Inclination’ - Christopher Bartley (University of Liverpool)

2.00-2.10: Short break

2.10-3.00: ‘On the Very Idea of Chinese Philosophy’ - Lea Cantor (University of Oxford)

3.00-3.30: Coffee break

3.30-4.20: ‘Teaching and Learning from Chinese Philosophy’ Michael Beaney (Humboldt University & King's College, London)

4.20-4.30: Short break

4.30-5.00: Round table featuring the speakers joined by Dirk Meyer (University of Oxford)

Everyone welcome.


The workshop is free.

Registration by email to paul.lodge@mansfield.ox.ac.uk is requested in order to plan refreshments.


Mereology of Potentiality Reading Group - The Powers Metaphysic (Neil Williams) | 17.00 - 18.30 | Rainolds Room, Corpus Christi College

A weekly reading group on Neil Williams' new book The Powers Metaphysic (OUP 2019). At each meeting, one member of the group will introduce a chapter with some comments/questions they want to raise for the group, which will be discussed during the meeting.

On Tuesday 5th, Ben Page will be presenting the 6th chapter of the book.

Attendance is open to all. (If you’d like to sign up to present at the reading group for a later week, please use the form linked here to provide your name and email, along with the dates/chapters you would be interested in presenting on: https://forms.gle/DcZkunXG4WsVzXc98)

If you have any questions, please email either Andrea roselli.uniroma3@gmail.com or Christopher christopherja@gmail.com and we'd be happy to help.

For more information, visit https://www.power-parts.website/

Mereology of Potentiality Work-in-Progress Seminar | 11.30 - 13.00 | Refugee Scholars Room, Corpus Christi College

6th November: Martin Pickup - The situationalist account of change

For more information, visit https://www.power-parts.website/


Normative Ethics Reading Group | 15.00 - 17.00 | Ryle Room, Radcliffe Humanities

A weekly reading and discussion group for topics in normative ethics and decision theory. Some weeks involve a faculty member from Oxford or elsewhere presenting some of their recent or in-progress work. Contact Tomi Francis at tomi.francis@philosophy.ox.ac.uk for details.


South Asian Philosophy Reading Group | 17.10 - 18.30 | Ryle Room, Radcliffe Humanities

The South Asian Philosophy Reading Group meets even weeks to read and discuss a short selection from a work by a philosopher of South Asia, ancient or contemporary. MT 2019 will focus on philosophers who worked in the field of aesthetics. Questions which concerned the ancient thinkers whom we will read include: What makes something, like a drama or a poem, aesthetic? How and why do we respond to literature in the way that we do? What is the nature of our aesthetic experience? Is all art pleasurable? In Week 8, we will depart from the ancient debates to read a contemporary Dalit essayist on aesthetics and social change. All faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students are welcome— no prior knowledge necessary. If interested, please email Angela Vettikkal (angela.vettikkal@philosophy.ox.ac.uk) for readings and to be added to the listserv. More information: https://southasianphilosophyreadinggroup.wordpress.com and https://www.facebook.com/events/2886531058041424/.


Royal Institute of Philosophy public lecture | 19.00 - 20.15 | Norrington Room, Blackwell's Bookshop (Broad Street)

The first Royal Institute of Philosophy (Oxford) public lecture this year is on Wednesday 6 November. Kate Kirkpatrick (KCL) is speaking about 'Understanding through Biography' and her recently published biography of Simone de Beauvoir. It's in the usual place, the Norrington Room at Blackwell's Bookshop, Broad Street and runs from 7 to approx. 8.15 pm.



Jonathan Wolff (Oxford): Resolving Disagreements around Injustice | 19.30 | Balliol College

Jonathan Wolff will be discussing his new paper 'Resolving Disagreements around Injustice' which tackles some of the thorniest meta-issues in political philosophy: How do we reconcile different value systems? How can we hope to resolve disagreements about the content of fundamental rights? How do we mediate between values founded in lived experience? These are some of the questions that underpin Wolff's upcoming paper; come along to his talk on Wednesday Week 4 to challenge his answers and explore your own.

For more information, please contact Imogen Rivers: imogen.rivers@balliol.ox.ac.uk



Metaphysics Reading Group | 14.00 - 15.30 | New College

A biweekly reading group (weeks 2, 4, 6, 8) on topics in metaphysics, focusing this term on grounding. Please contact katherine.hong@philosophy.ox.ac.uk to be added to the mailing list.


Epistemology Reading Group | 14.00 - 16.00 | Conduit Room, New College

A pre-read weekly reading and discussion group on recent work in epistemology, sometimes with work-in-progress talks. Contact Nick Hughes (nick.hughes@philosophy.ox.ac.uk) or Bernhard Salow (bernhard.salow@magd.ox.ac.uk) to be added to the mailing list.


Methods and Work in Progress Seminar in Practical and Medical Ethics | 14.00 - 16.00 | Lecture Room, Radcliffe Humanities

Week 4: Thursday 7th November, 2-4pm, Dr Thomas Douglas on Consent

This seminar is an opportunity for graduate students from all departments whose work has an applied ethics dimension to join a practical and medical ethics seminar group led by researchers from the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics.

Each week, for the first hour of the seminar, one of the researchers will introduce a key topic in Practical or Medical Ethics, referencing various texts, including Medical Ethics and Law; a Curriculum for the 21st Century, 3rd edition (pdfs of the texts will be circulated in the week prior to the seminar).

During the second hour of the seminar students will be given the opportunity to present draft papers or thesis chapters for constructive comments and discussion with other graduate students, led by Dr Rebecca Brown.

Each week one student will have the opportunity to present a work in progress paper, giving a 10 min presentation. Another student will then give a 5 min initial response to the paper presented. This will then be followed by an open group discussion for the remainder of the hour. Papers and reading material are circulated a week in advance via email. Students who volunteer to present are asked to choose another session in which to respond.

The presenting and respondent spaces are issued on a first come first served basis so please email ASAP to ensure you get a space. Responding to papers is as important an aspect of the seminar as presenting. Please email rocci.wilkinson@philosophy.ox.ac.uk if you would like to be placed on the mailing list for this seminar group.


Stephen Mulhall (Oxford): Ineffability: Ethics, Theology, Philosophy  | 17.30 | Tanner Room, Linacre College

In this talk, I will – primarily against the background of Wittgenstein’s thought – consider how sense might be made of invocations of the ineffable in ethical and theological contexts, despite the familiar concern that talk about ‘that which transcends our understanding’ must itself be senseless (since such talk could communicate something to us only if it succeeds in referring to that which it denies can intelligibly be referred to or thought about).

This event is open to everyone and no sign up is required. For more information, please contact Jo Whitfield (jo.whitfield@linacre.ox.ac.uk)


Hegel Reading Group | 18.30 | Ryle Room, Radcliffe Humanities

We shall continue reading the Phenomenology of Spirit.

7 November – Pleasure and necessity §§ 360–366.

Please contact susanne.herrmann-sinai@philosophy.ox.ac.uk for information. See also the website with general information www.hegel.moonfruit.com.

Plato Reading Group | 17.00 - 18.30 | Balliol College

This term, we start reading the Theaetetus. Each session is led by a person appointed in the preceding session, preparing the translation of the agreed-upon section of the text especially diligently. The sessions consist in the presenter's translation of the passage and discussion of whatever interesting or uncertain point that arises, whenever it arises. We use the Greek text (OCT) as the basis for our discussion, and everybody should have prepared the week's section in advance. People who do not know Greek or are just starting to learn it are of course more than welcome to attend.

If you want to be included in the email list please subscribe here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1UNXxHQSgqydpTh1glqsZCawG_-3ze71xZs8I16g...

For more information please email hermann.koerner@philosophy.ox.ac.uk.