Digest Week 4 Trinity Term 2023

TT23, Week 4 (14th-20th May)

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


General Linguistics Seminar Trinity Term 2023

Deniz Rudin (University of Southern California): 'Embedded quotation and varieties of asking'

Hosted by Víctor Acedo-Matellán and Daniel Altshuler

5:15 pm in Room 2 of the Taylorian Institute


Oxford Philosophy Society Event

Professor Ofra Magidor (Waynflete Professor of Metaphysical Philosophy, Magdalen College): 'Lunch was Delicious but Took Hours: Accounting for Copredication'

Time: 6:30pm - 7:30 pm

Location: Lecture Room, Radcliffe Humanities



Hegel Reading Group

We shall be meeting Tuesdays 6-7.30 pm on Skype. 

This term and the next we are reading Hegel’s Anthropology, in the ‘Philosophy of Mind’ (translation is by Wallace and Miller) but we will work from the Michael Inwood revision (OUP 2007). We are aiming to get to the end at para 412 so we will not read the Zusätze in the sessions (these can be read on your own). The reading is posted each week on hegelinoxford.wordpress.com.

Please email susanne.hermann-sinai@philosophy.ox.ac.uk for the Skype link. 



Music, Philosophy and Performances

Professor Paul Lodge: ‘Cantat Ergo Sumus – It Sings Therefore We Are’ organised with The Oxford Philosophy Society

The event will take place in the Eccles Room, Pembroke College on Wednesday 17th May at 5pm.

For more details about the event please email: oxfordpublicphilosophy@gmail.com.



Professor Óscar Horta (University of Santiago de Compostela): 'Oversimplification in population axiology: How highly idealized models risk bad outcomes for humans and nonhuman animals'

Thursday, 18 May 2023, 16:30 – 18:00 in the Colin Matthew Room, Radcliffe Humanities Building, Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, Woodstock Road, Oxford.

In population axiology, comparisons of the value of different outcomes have traditionally been done in highly idealized ways. This has been done, for example, by considering only net-levels of wellbeing and not their components; by assuming scenarios of perfect equality; and by taking for granted full certainty, instead of option uncertainty. As those idealized models of populations' wellbeing are the only ones that have been considered to date, standard views in population axiology have been built upon them. As a result of this, they tend to reach conclusions that overlook risks of net-negative scenarios. Despite this, these views can nevertheless influence practical decision making, thus contributing to the creation of outcomes in which large numbers of human beings may have lives that are overall bad. Furthermore, it is more likely that this will happen in the case of nonhuman animals, both domesticated and living in the wild. The reason is that idealized population axiologies can be combined with flawed assumptions concerning animals' wellbeing that are prevalent today. Avoiding such scenarios should be an important goal for longtermists

IN-PERSON registration: Register to attend in person or ONLINE Zoom registration.


Oxford Work in Progress Political Theory Seminar

Emily Dyson: 'Democratising Mental Healthcare' Comments by Mario Aguiriano

Charlie Richards: 'Deception and Social Rights' Comments by Kida Lin

The seminar will take place on Thursday, 4-6pm in the Butler Room at Nuffield College.

This is a hybrid session. If you cannot participate in person, please let us know (theo.hickfang@wolfson.ox.ac.uk) and we will ensure you can join online.


Out of the Question, Community: A Reading Seminar on Maurice Blanchot

At once everywhere and nowhere, the question of community insists today more than ever. Drawing out Blanchot's perspective will be our goal.

How to pose the question of community today? That is: how to pose it in a world globalized yet characterized by a tendency to increase the protection of borders? How to pose it on a continent whose union some of its members have recently “exited”, and whose territory was, for the first time since WWII, recently invaded and has been a battleground ever since? How to pose the question of community in a cultural context that (finally) deems diversity and inclusion of vital importance but struggles to realize “inclusive” communities?

Impossible and necessary, community then seems to be everywhere and nowhere to be found. But was community ever anywhere to be found? Or does something within its very idea defy the possibility of a locus?

In this reading seminar, we will make a joint attempt at evaluating if and how Maurice Blanchot’s pathbreaking The Unavowable Community can help us pose the question of community today. The text, published in 1983 and consisting of the essays “The Negative Community” and “The Community of Lovers”, formed a direct response to a text on the same topic by Jean-Luc Nancy, itself a reading of Blanchot’s work, and theorizes community as exposure to loss. As the backflap of the English translation has it, The Unavowable Community “is an inquiry into the nature and possibility of community, asking whether there can be a community of individuals that is truly ‘communal.’ The problem, for Blanchot, is that the very terms of an ideal community make an ‘avowal’ of membership in it a violation of the terms themselves.”

Rhythmed by the progression of The Unavowable Community, of which we will close-read small portions each session, as well as context-providing readings and filmic excursions, we hope to come to an understanding of community as exposure to loss. Along the way, we will, too, problematize the idea’s articulation in the work’s structure: how to posit a loss without betraying it? If community is exposure to loss, how, indeed, are we to come together and read it? Picking up yet another of Blanchot’s gloves, we will continue some of the discussions on the self-loss of the One in relation to the Other initiated during last term’s Autofiction & Blanchot reading group. If my relation to the Other can only emerge as a relation without relation, would our community not be a matter of holding the hands that never hold?

The event takes place on Thursday 18 May 2023 between 4.30-6.30pm at Worcester College.

To register please click here.


Oxford Philosophy Society 

Reading Group on Jeremy Waldron 'Homelessness and the Issue of Freedom'

Time: 7pm - 8pm (society executives will be at Keble's Porters' Lodge ten to fifteen minutes prior to the start of the event)

Venue: Stafford Crane Room, Keble College



The Critical Theory Reading Group

Meetings will be 1.30–3.00pm on Fridays in the Le May Room, Worcester College.

This term we will be reading Capitalism: A conversation in critical theory, by Nancy Fraser and Rahel Jaeggi Cambridge.

For more details, please email either Rachel Fraser (Philosophy) or Ben Morgan (German).


Oxford Philosophy Society

A Night of Music with Professor Paul Lodge, in collaboration with oxford public philosophy

'Cantat Ergo Sumus - It Sings Therefore We Are'

Time: 5pm - 7pm

Venue: Mary Hyde Eccles Room, Pembroke College



Dies Latinus et Graecus: ‘Quid antiqui de antiquis censuerint’ 

We are delighted to announce that the Oxford Ancient Languages Society, with the support of Oxford Latinitas, will be running a Dies Latinus et Graecus on Saturday 20 May, in the Ship Street Centre, Jesus College. The broad theme of the day will be what the ancients had to say about (even earlier) ancient figures, texts, and events, and in general exploring antiquity through its own critical resources. 

The highlight of the event will be a talk by Professor Eleanor Dickey on the Hermeneumata Pseudodositheana (ancient textbooks of the Latin language), incorporating a workshop in which participants can try using these learning materials the way they would have been used in antiquity; the talk and workshop will be in Latin, but questions and comments in English will be welcome. We hope you will join us for what promises to be a wonderful conclusion to the series of lectures that Professor Dickey and Professor Philomen Probert have offered for OALS throughout this year. 

The rest of the day will include introductions to ‘active’ Latin and Greek, for those who are new to speaking in the classical languages, and seminars, held in Latin/Greek, reading texts of interest from the point of view of our theme. (All different levels of linguistic competence and confidence will be accounted for.) Finally, there will be time for refreshments, informal discussion, and getting to know one another, as well as, of course, Latin and Greek song.  

More details of timing and the subjects of the classes and seminars will be forthcoming. We hope to see you there! To register interest, please fill out this form: Any questions may be directed to nicholas.romanos@worc.ox.ac.uk or aron.szocs@st-hughs.ox.ac.uk.