Digest Week 5 Trinity Term 2023

TT23, Week 5 (21st-27th 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


The Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society

Anita Avramides (Oxford): 'Knowing and Acknowledging Others'

This meeting will be held between 6pm-7:45pm in the Woburn Suite, Senate House.

The event is free of charge and open to all!

Anita Avramides is currently a Senior Research Fellow in Philosophy at St Hilda’s College, University of Oxford. Her work is in the philosophy of mind and of language. In the last few years she has published mainly on the problem of other minds. Her books include, Meaning and Mind (MIT Press: Bradford Books), Other Minds (Routledge), and the co-editor of Knowing Other Minds (OUP).

Further details | Read the draft paper | View the 2022/23 programme


John Schwenkler (Professor of Philosophy, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Humboldt Fellow, Universität Leipzig): 'How temptation works: Anscombe on St Peter'

The event will take place at 5pm in Blackfriars Hall, Aula 

Many philosophers think of succumbing to temptation as a matter of unreasonably revising a prior decision — as when, for example, you ask for a second glass of wine at dinner despite the earlier decision to have just one. But I will argue that this way of describing temptation overlooks a distinct phenomenon, in which a person acts contrary to what she has decided but without ever changing her mind about what to do. In cases of this kind, the work of temptation is that of persuading a person that, really, doing the tempting thing isn’t a violation of their prior resolve. The latter phenomenon is, I suggest, central to G. E. M. Anscombe’s reading of the story of Peter’s betrayal in the closing pages of /Intention/. Having highlighted this distinction and made the case for it, I argue further that recognizing that temptation can take this other form has important consequences for our understanding of how to resist it, as it reveals a crucial role for prudence in the execution of our standing decisions.

Here is the Oxford Talks link.



Hegel Reading Group

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.

We shall be meeting Tuesdays 6-7.30 pm on Skype; please email susanne.hermann-sinai@philosophy.ox.ac.uk for the Skype link. 



Dr William Simpson (St Cross HAPP Visiting Fellow): 'Why Middle-Sized Matters: The Limits of Quantum Mechanics'

The event will take place at 5.45pm in the St Cross Room at St Cross College.

Does quantum mechanics apply to everything – particles, people and planets? Does the world have a wave function?

Some philosophers believe our ‘best physics’ provides laws for where all of the microscopic matter of which everything is made ends up. In this talk, Dr Simpson will argue that such laws are context-dependent and such philosophers are looking for reality at the wrong scale. It is the middle-sized that matters…

If you'd like to attend the seminar, please register here. Everyone is very welcome.



Laura Gow (University of Liverpool): 'When Beliefs Don’t Seem True'

A seminar presented by the Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion and the Humane Philosophy Project

The event will take place between 5:00pm-6:30pm at Main Aula, Blackfriars Hall, Oxford.

Usually our beliefs seem true to us - we believe there is juice in the fridge, and it seems true to us that there’s juice in the fridge. However, sometimes our beliefs don’t seem true – I believe this desk is mostly empty space, but this belief doesn’t seem true to me. I argue that beliefs need to seem true to play their important role in decision-making. Many cases of irrationality, where we don’t make the logical or rational decision, can be explained by the fact that while we have the relevant belief, this belief doesn’t seem true.

Laura Gow is Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Liverpool. She has also lectured at the University of Warwick and held postdoctoral positions at the University of Antwerp and the University of Cambridge, where she worked on Tim Crane’s "New Directions in the Study of the Mind" project. Her research interests are mainly in the philosophy of mind, with a particular focus on perception and perceptual experience. Her published work criticises contemporary attempts to provide physicalist accounts of perception, and her recent research explores the less appealing implications of endorsing a genuinely physicalist account of mind.

This talk is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.



The Critical Theory Reading Group

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

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

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


Oxford Philological Society

Dr Alexander Bown (Balliol College, Oxford): ‘Signs, sparks, and contrary footsteps: Epicureans on how to make good inferences’

The talk will take place at 5pm in Talbot Hall at Lady Margaret Hall, and is followed by refreshments (wine and soft drinks). All are welcome!

Any attendees who would like to join the speaker after the meeting for dinner at a local restaurant are asked to contact Guy Westwood, the Secretary of the OPS, by 4pm on Thursday 25 May (guy.westwood@classics.ox.ac.uk).