Digest Week 6 Hilary Term 2022

HT22, Week 6 (20th-26th February)

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

Presocratic Philosophy Reading Group | 1:00 pm | Old Library, Hertford College

We will be meeting weekly to informally read and discuss various presocratic texts over lunch every Sunday. Everyone is welcome to bring their own food (not provided) and meet us in Hertford’s old library at 13.00 on Sundays. We will be welcoming you at Hertford’s main entrance in Catte Street until 5 past, but if you arrive after then please ask the porters to show you the way to the old library (which provides plenty of space and ventilation). 


The Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society | 5:30-7:15pm | Online via Zoom

Title: ''Aesthetic Beautification'' 

Speaker: Andrew Huddleston (Warwick)

Chair: Robert Stern (Sheffield)

Free of charge and open to all! To join the presentation and discussion period for each talk you will need to follow this link. If you have any problems or concerns about the software, please contact mail@aristoteliansociety.org.uk. You do not need to have a Zoom account or to download anything in advance but we have found that the software works better on Google Chrome or Firefox, rather than other browsers. Please log into the “waiting room” at least 5 minutes in advance of each talk.

Andrew Huddleston is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Warwick, where he is co-Director of the Centre for Research in Post-Kantian European Philosophy. He studied as an undergraduate at Brown and at Pembroke College, Cambridge, and did his PhD at Princeton under the supervision of Alexander Nehamas. Huddleston previously taught at Exeter College, Oxford and at Birkbeck College, University of London. He specializes in 19th and 20th Century European Philosophy, Aesthetics, and Ethics. His book Nietzsche on the Decadence and Flourishing of Culture (2019) was published by Oxford University Press, and he is presently at work on a book tentatively titled Art’s Highest Calling: The Religion of Art in a Secular Age.

View the Draft Paper | View the 2021/22 programme

Faraday Institute Seminars | 1:00pm | In person and online

Speaker: Neil Messer (University of Winchester) 

Title: ‘Cognitive Science and Religious Faith’

The event is free, and all are welcome. See faraday.institute/seminars for more details.


Hegel Reading Group | 6:00-7:30pm | Online via Skype

The Hegel Reading Group continues to meet by Skype on Tuesdays 6:00-7:30pm. We are reading 'The Phenomenology of Spirit' (any translation). We are now in Section 6 B: Self-Alienated Spirit. Culture II a 'The struggle of the Enlightenment with superstition'. New Readers please contact either susanne.herrmann-sinai@philosophy.ox.ac.uk or louise.braddock@philosophy.ox.ac.uk for the Skype link. Details of each week's reading are posted on: hegelinoxford.wordpress.com

A Spirit of Trust Reading Group | 9:00-11:00 | Ryle Room, Radcliffe Humanities, Woodstock Road

Written over the course of 40 years, Robert Brandom’s highly-anticipated 2019 book A Spirit of Trust presents a novel reading of Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit. It translates the Phenomenology into the idiom of contemporary Anglophone philosophy, demystifying the Phenomenology’s notoriously impenetrable prose and rendering it transparent to contemporary philosophical analysis

The reading group would be of direct relevance for anyone with an interest in Hegel and German Idealism. However, the work is only partially interpretative. The majority of Brandom’s effort is spent on making a host of contributions to contemporary philosophical debates, meaning that the reading group would also be relevant for anyone with an interest in the determination of conceptual content, pragmatist semantics, the social metaphysics of normativity, the metaphysics of agency and intentionality, the relationship between mind and world, and the historical groundedness of our discursive practices. As today's flag-bearer of linguistic pragmatism (following in the footsteps of Dewey, Quine, and Rorty), the reading group is a great opportunity to find out about Brandom’s own thought too, namely his theory of inferentialism, and its advantages and disadvantages over more traditional semantic schemas.


Ethox Seminar | 2:30-4:00pm | Online

Speaker: Benjamin Gregg, University of Texas at Austin

Title: ''Cognitive Engineering Where Severe Cognitive Disability is Indicated: Toward Enabling the Future Person’s Capacity for Participation in Political Community''

Abstract: What if someday our understanding of the genetic components of human intelligence, and our technical capacity to safely manipulate them without unintended consequences, allowed the cognitive engineering of future persons who, at the fetal stage of development, indicate severe cognitive disability? Should a future community regard, as a political imperative, the provision of the relevant cognitive engineering to the extent possible, toward providing the future citizen with a capacity to access her social, legal, and political rights, as well as to participate fully in the political life of her liberal democratic community?

Please register your interest here.

Symposium on sexual violence in higher education | 9:30am-4:30pm | Public health permitting, the symposium will have a hybrid format physically hosted in Oxford

A group of Oxford students is organising “Silence Will Not Protect Us”, a symposium (online and in-person) about sexual violence in higher education on February 25, 2022. 

The symposium will focus on the history of sexual misconduct in the university; the activist movements who resisted it; how university policies and processes re-traumatise those who come forward; and the ways we can advocate for changes that makes us all safer. The symposium challenges the silence that universities seek to impose around sexual misconduct. It foregrounds collective resistance and solidarity, because none of us will be safe until all of us are. 

Register here to attend and find out more by following us on Twitter or Instagram, or by visiting our website.


Weekly reading group on the occasion of the centenary of Ludwig Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus | 6:30-7:30pm | Colin Matthew Room, Radcliffe Humanities

We are delighted to announce that this term we will be hosting a reading group, open to all members of the University and the public, to mark the centenary of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus.

One of the defining texts of the 20th century, Wittgenstein’s first work is notoriously difficult for first-time readers. By working through it together, the problems that baffle us alone or leave us stranded can be solved through discussion, drawing on our individual readings and backgrounds. This is the perfect opportunity to cover a text often sidelined, or marginalised as an eccentricity in the history of ideas.  

The TLP is composed of 7 core propositions. We will endeavour to finish the text by the end of Michaelmas Term (first week of December). We will play it by ear together and see how far we get each session, though we will try to finish one proposition a week where realistic, with a few exceptions where more time is required. 

Every Friday from January 21st, 18:30, at Radcliffe Humanities Building, Woodstock Road.

Please message us at jack.franco@queens.ox.ac.uk or ph21251@bristol.ac.uk to let us know you’re coming, and to receive a copy of the text. We will be using the newly published (Anthem Press) centenary edition, by Luciano Bazzocchi and PMS Hacker (more on this choice in the first session!)

We will offer suggested further reading at the end of sessions. All welcome, students, staff and public.