Digest Week 6 Hilary Term 2019

HT19, Week 6 (18th February - 24th February)

If you have entries for the weekly Digest, please send information to admin@philosophy.ox.ac.uk by midday, Wednesday of the week before the event. 

Note that unless otherwise stated, the event will take place in the Radcliffe Humanities Building on Woodstock Rd, OX2 6GG.

Notices - Events taking place elsewhere in the university and beyond

Normative Ethics Reading Group | 14.00 - 16.00 | Meeting Room 4

During this group a paper within this topic is usually read and discussed, and occasionally the group has contributions from Faculty members. Organised by Tomi Francis. 


The Oxford Kant Colloquium | 17.00 - 19.00 | Colin Matthew Room, Radcliffe Humanities 

Please note that the venue for this event has changed. 

During weeks 4-8: There is an option to present a paper on Kantian topics. Those interested in participating should email christopher.benzenberg@stx.ox.ac.uk 


Interdisciplinary seminars in psychoanalysis | From fading to fading: on following the subject in analysis | 20.15 | Lecture Room, St John’s College Research Centre (45 St Giles')

Speaker: Sandor Ivady, Vienna Psychoanalytic Association

People who see a psychoanalyst are prompted to speak in the first place. The analyst, on his part, listens and follows this discourse unfolding, in which he engages in various ways. But while this discourse implies the place of the analyst, it doesn’t determine the place of the speaking subject in the same way. At the conscious level the person speaking refers to itself by the personal pronoun of “I”. Whereas at the level of the unconscious there is nothing which allows the subject to identify as author of its own discourse. Instead — where such self-reference is called upon — the subject grasps at nothing and fades: The subject fades either in the mode of regression or fantasy. Reading Freud “in psychoanalysis nothing occurs but the interchange of words”, Lacan adds, that “something is lacking at the level of the [O]ther which permits the subject to identify himself there as  precisely the subject of this discourse that he is holding” and that  “the subject disappears in it as such in so far as this discourse is the discourse of the unconscious.” Therefore, the analyst follows the subject from fading to fading. Spotting this fading in the material of the session becomes crucial in terms of clinical technique. Alongside clinical vignettes I will refer to the fairy tale “The frog  king or Iron Henry” to develop novel ideas on Lacan’s “graph of  desire”, helping analysts to better orientate themselves in the  transferential material.

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

The 2019 Bampton Lectures: Rethinking Relations Between Science and Religion | Science and divine purpose | 10.00 - 16.00 | University Church 

Speaker: Peter Harrison, University of Queensland. This even runs throughout the day with various sessions, but you are welcome to attend the full day or any session separately. 

Lecture 3, 'Nature and the Idea of the Supernatural'. Lecture 4, 'Religious Belief and the Myth of Scientific Naturalism'. Afternoon sessions: 'Divine Action in a Disenchanted World'

The event is free and open to the public, but registration is appreciated. A sandwich lunch will be provided for registered participants. For more information, timings and registration, please see: https://www.universitychurch.ox.ac.uk/content/bampton-lectures-2019

ERC Research Seminar on Responsibility | Free will and causation  | 10.00 - 12.00 | Philosophy Department, University College London

The target readings are:

- Anthony Kenny. 1975. Will, Freedom and Power. Blackwell. Ch. 7 “Spontaneity, Indifference, and Ability” and ch. 8 “Freedom and Determinism.”
- Christian List. Forthcoming. Why Free Will is Real. Excerpts from a manuscript. Due to copyright reasons, we cannot make this manuscript available online. Please contact the project administrator if you would like to attend this meeting and read the manuscript.

For more information, please visit the Roots of Responsibility webpage for this event. 


WEH/Ethox seminars | The limits of patient and public involvement  | 11.00 - 12.30 | Meeting Room Level 1 AX, Big Data Institute 

Speaker: Mark Sheehan, Oxford Biomedical Research Centre Ethics Fellow (Please note the change in room. If you don’t have swipe access to the BDI and would like to attend this seminar, please email admin@ethox.ox.ac.uk)

Ethox and the Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities are based at the Big Data Institute, University of Oxford. Please email admin@ethox.ox.ac.uk if you would like to attend.

For the upcoming abstract, please visit https://www.weh.ox.ac.uk/upcoming-events/title-tbc-3


Internal WiP | Foreign-born presidents and contagious vaccines: should online misinformation be legally prohibited? | 14.30 - 15.30 | Oxford Martin School

Speaker: Étienne Brown (OUC Academic Visitor). This talk is open to members/staff of Oxford University only. Booking not required.  
Philosophers are increasingly worried that false rumors which circulate on social networking sites – such as the ones evoked by the title of this presentation – leave lasting traces on the beliefs and behavior of even alert consumers (Rini 2017, Levy 2017, Gelfert 2018). So is France’s President Emmanuel Macron. During the last few months, Macron faced severe criticism from the French Senate for attempting to pass his "loi contre la manipulation de l'information," a legal attempt to curb fake news that the Assemblée nationale ultimately adopted on November 20, 2018. More than once, the Senate argued that Macron's law, which allows judges to order the removal of fake news from social networking sites, was a blatant violation of our individual right to freedom of expression.
I suggest that the French Senate’s argument is less convincing than it might initially seem. Without defending the details of Macron's law, I argue that legal prohibitions against the intentional diffusion of fake news is compatible with free speech. In my view, organizations that intentionally create and diffuse fake news (i) knowingly disrupt a mutually beneficial form of social epistemic dependence in which we are engaged with journalists, and (ii) hinder individuals' autonomy by impeding them from forming true beliefs which are instrumental to the promotion of their personal ends. Ultimately, we should protect individuals’ autonomy rather than their putative right to deceive others for commercial or political purposes. My conclusion is not that we should ban fake news, but more moderately that if we choose not to do so, it should be for pragmatic reasons rather than reasons which relate to freedom of expression.


Israel and Ione Massada Fellowships Programme, Massada Public Lecture | The Linguistic Turn Away From Absolute Idealism | 17.15 | Sultan Nazrin Shah Centre, Worcester College

Speaker: Irad Kimhi, Israeli and Ione Massada Fellow.

'Absolute idealism' names the conception of philosophy as the activity of the self-clarification of the 'I' understood as a logical notion. 'The linguistic turn' names the emergence of the concern with language as fundamental to philosophy. This talk will propose that the 'linguistic turn' — properly understood — is best regarded as a form of radical continuation of 'absolute idealism', as well as an equally radical undermining of its most fundamental commitments. The presentation will be followed by discussion and drinks.


Theoretical Work in Philosophy | Epistemic modals | 12.00 - 14.00 | Hovenden Room, All Souls College

Speakers: Angelika Kratzer (UCL, Philosophy) and Jonathan Phillips (Harvard/Dartmouth, Psychology). Seminar convenor: Matthew Mandelkern. 

We will present a new theory of epistemic modals and discuss its success in accounting for a range of puzzles, including naturally occurring sentences of the form 'must p, but I don't know p' (Lassiter, 2016), the puzzle of whether 'must p' is stronger or weaker than just 'p'(von Fintel & Gillies, 2010; Karttunen, 1972), and the difference between 'must p' and 'cannot not p'. Along the way, we will also present new experimental data which demonstrate the domain of quantification for epistemic modals is implicitly constrained by what we take to be the normal course of events rather than by what is known or by what is probable.


Philosophical Foundations of the Common Law Series | Causation in the Law: Causation and liability | 15.00 - 17.00 | Knowles Room, Wadham

The starting point of the common law of torts is that the liability of an individual in respect of a past harm hinges upon a causal connection being proven, on the balance of probabilities, to exist between a relevant aspect of that individual’s conduct and the harm, by the party seeking redress for it. Two kinds of departure from this starting point might be envisaged. One relaxes the epistemic threshold at which causation is held to be ‘proven’ or alters the person who must prove it (or its absence) in order to succeed. Another allows liability to be established even where it is known or accepted that the individual did not cause the harm. In this seminar, our primary interest is in non-causal liabilities. Does the common law of torts recognize them? Is vicarious liability an example? Are instances of liability where the defendant has only been shown to have increased the risk of the claimant’s harm? Are there situations where individuals ought to be legally liable and such liability can only be justified on non- causal grounds? 

Organised by Sandy Steel and Alex Kaiserman. Please contact sandy.steel@law.ox.ac.uk or alexander.kaiserman@philosophy.ox.ac.uk for details and required readings. 


Critical Theory Seminar | Objective reason and irrational society: the ‘linguistic turn’ in Horkheimer and Adorno | 17.00 - 18.30 | Old Library, All Souls College

Speaker: Fabian Freyenhagen (Essex). Invited speakers to this series include both Critical Theorists working within the Frankfurt School tradition and researchers who take a critical approach towards social hierarchies. Speakers will give a paper for about 45 minutes before we open to questions. Graduate and undergraduate students from all disciplinary backgrounds are welcome.


Lincoln Leads seminar series | How Can Brexit Help the UK Economy? | 17.15 | Oakeshott Room, Lincoln

Panel: Danny Kruger (Expert Advisor, DCMS), Jan Kvasnicka, Asher Berkowitz-Werner (MPhil, Economics)

Following a free wine reception from 17.15, each seminar will start at 17.45, culminating in a lively audience Q&A session that ends at 19.00. We have a fantastic group of panellists scheduled for the series. We therefore hope that you are eager to join them in conversation, and learn more about the diverse research conducted at Lincoln.

Tickets are free, but must be booked in advance. Spaces are limited and going fast, so make sure you sign up by clicking here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/lincoln-leads-2019-tickets-53908931064


Elizabeth Anscombe, Philippa Foot, Mary Midgley and Iris Murdoch reading group | 20.00 - 21.30 | Ryle Room, Radcliffe Humanities

Organised by Elisabeth Huh and Sasha Lawson-Frost.

Feminist Thinking Seminar | Shopping and Knowing: Gender, the Consumer Experience, and Classical Traditions | 16.00 - 18.00 | Colin Matthew Room, Radcliffe Humanities  

Speaker: Rhiannon Easterbrook (Women’s Classical Committee UK)

This seminar is associated with the interdisciplinary MSt in Women's Studies, convened by Emily Cousens, Pelagia Goulimari and Claudia Pazos-Alonso, and organised by Women's Studies students. Panellists include Thom Wootton, Jessy Parker Humphreys and a member of the Oxford drag collective, Spuds; moderated by Levi Hord.


Model Theory and Philosophy Reading Group | 18.00 - 20.00 | Ryle Room, Philosophy Faculty

Please note the change of day for this reading group. 

If you would like to attend and you are not a member of the Facebook group, please email dominik.ehrenfels@stx.ox.ac.uk  

The goal is to come to understand both the proofs of central results in model theory and the philosophical discussions that are shaped by these results. Readings will be taken from Button and Walsh (2018), 'Philosophy and Model Theory', CUP.