Digest Week 5 Michaelmas Term 2023

MT23, Week 5 (5th-11th 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. 

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


Oxford Philosophy Society

Debate: 'Moral Realism: For & Against'

The debate will be between Professor Timothy Williamson of New College and Professor Hallvard Lillehammer of Birkbeck.

Time/Date: Monday 6 November between 7:30-8:30 pm

Venue: Simpkins Lecture Theatre at Lady Margaret Hall

The debate will be open to all members of the Oxford faculty and student body.



Joseph Butler Society

'Evil and the Problem of Impermanence'

Speaker: Yujin Nagasawa (University of Birmingham)

Date/Time: Tuesday 17 October between 8:30pm - 10 pm

Venue: Oriel College

Further details are available here.



Hegel Reading Group

We shall be meeting Wednesdays 6-7.30 pm on Skype; please email louise.braddock@philosophy.ox.ac.uk or susanne.herrmann-sinai@philosophy.ox.ac.uk for the Skype link. This term we are reading texts by other authors discussing passages and problems of 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). Texts are shared via dropbox link and to be read in advance. Updates are posted on hegelinoxford.wordpress.com.



Besterman Lecture 2023

Richard Bourke on ‘Hegel’s Enlightenment’

We are delighted to announce that Professor Richard Bourke (Cambridge) is going to be our speaker for this year’s Besterman Lecture.

The lecture will take place on Thursday 9 November, 5pm, Grove Auditorium, Magdalen College.

The event is free to attend but please register by emailing email@voltaire.ox.ac.uk.

Professor Bourke will speak on:

Hegel’s Enlightenment

Hegel described philosophy as its own time comprehended in thought. For him, that meant understanding the Enlightenment and its aftermath. Examining what the Enlightenment meant for Hegel involves separating its generic meaning as an historical process from its specific sense as a determinate period and its still narrower significance as a canon of thinkers. In the Phenomenology of Spirit (1807), Hegel depicted the Enlightenment era as a struggle between Reason and Faith. This was a stage in a longer development, the passage from rudeness to refinement, which might itself be depicted in terms of gradual enlightenment. As Hegel saw it, the latest episode in the world-historical drama bred crisis, a collision between human values and the conditions of existence. For Hegel, among the most resourceful responses to this situation came from Immanuel Kant and Friedrich Jacobi. However, resourcefulness did not entail success. The lecture will reconstruct Hegel’s thought in terms of his analysis of how these philosophers failed to reconcile rational inquiry with the content of belief.


Oxford Mathematics Lecture

'Forming a Thought into Form'

Jon Keating, Maya B. Kronic, Emma Ridgway, and Conrad Shawcross with Fatos Ustek 

Date/Time: Thursday 9 November 2023 between 5.30 - 6.45pm

Venue: Andrew Wiles Building, Mathematical Institute, Oxford

Turning thought in to form is a mysterious process with which artists, scientists, philosophers and, indeed, all of us engage. But though the outcomes, mathematical, artistic, philosophical, may be different, might there be much that is common to all?

In the last lecture of the four-part series organised as part of Conrad Shawcross' 'Cascading Principles' exhibition in Oxford Mathematics, we bring together a panel comprising Jon Keating, Sedleian Professor of Natural Philosophy at the University of Oxford, Emma Ridgway, Director of the Foundling Museum, Maya B Kronicg, philosopher and Director of Urbanomic, and Conrad himself. The discussion will be chaired by Fatos Ustek, curator of the 'Cascading Principles' exhibition.

There will be an opportunity to view the exhibition with the curator at 4pm on the day of the lecture.

Please reply email external-relations@maths.ox.ac.uk to register for the in-person event. The lecture will be broadcast on the Oxford Mathematics YouTube Channel at a later date.


Intersecting Poetry and Philosophy

This event is co-hosted by opp (oxford public philosophy) and the Oxford University Poetry Society

Date/Time: Thursday 9 November 2023 between 5-7pm

Venue: Mary Hyde Eccles Room, Pembroke College, University of Oxford

Presentation and Performance Titles
‘Exploring poetry as a vehicle for philosophy’ by Arch Hades
‘Hearing the Insect City’ by David Barnes
‘Margaret Cavendish’s Poems and Fancies in Song’ by Paul Lodge

Join us for our panel entitled ‘Intersecting poetry and philosophy.’ Invited speakers who work across both genres or integrate cross-disciplinary elements in their work will discuss the resonances of poetic language and philosophy, including subjects such as religious and spiritual philosophical verse traditions, the intersection of literature and philosophy, philosophical poetry, the nature of poetic language, and the links between poetry, philosophy, and other arts.

Poet Arch Hades, lecturer David Barnes, and philosopher Paul Lodge will discuss aspects of their own research, writing, and creative endeavours engaging in discussion to cultivate an interdisciplinary approach to the subject. The panel will be followed by a musical performance by Paul Lodge and an audience Q&A.

Drinks and nibbles will be served starting from 6:20 pm.


Workshop: 'Interaction, communication, and (deep) disagreements: Varieties of we'

Time/Date: 9 November between 2-7pm and 10 November between 9am-1pm

Venue: Pavilion, St Hilda's College

In recent work, Tomasello has distinguished between a second-personal dyadic form of we-intentionality, which is a short-lived relation between ad hoc pairs of individuals in the here and now, and a more anonymous form of we-intentionality, that encompasses the construction of a common cultural ground (involving conventions, norms, and institutions) as well as in-group/out-group differentiations (Tomasello 2014). Similar distinctions can again be found in the early work of phenomenologists such as Walther (1923), Schutz (1932), and Gurwitsch (1932). One important common denominator in all these proposals is the basic distinction between a direct face-to-face based form of we that involves an awareness of the other as a distinct individual and more anonymous forms of group behaviour and affiliation.

The workshop will investigate the relation between an ephemeral form of we that is bound to the here and now of concrete face-to-face interaction and a more enduring, but at the same time also more normatively mediated and impersonal form of collective identity and in particular seek answers to the following questions:

  1. How minimal can a we be? Is interaction and communication (regardless of their specific nature) sufficient to constitute a minimal form of we-ness, as authors as diverse as Husserl and Gilbert seem to suggest?
  2. Author such as Arendt and Young have argued that plurality and heterogeneity are essential parts of communal life, but how much conflict, miscommunication and disagreement can a (communal) we encompass/survive?
  3. What does the they and the outgroup do to the internal configuration of a we

For more information about the event please click here.