Digest Week 6 Michaelmas Term 2019

MT19, Week 6 (17th - 23rd 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. 

Unless otherwise stated, all events will take place in the Radcliffe Humanities Building on Woodstock Road, OX2 6GG.

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

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Interdisciplinary seminars in psychoanalysis | 20.15 | Lecture Room, St John’s College Research Centre (45 St Giles)

John Lawrence (British Psychoanalytical Society): Richard Wollheim’s ‘spectator in the picture’ and the paintings of Edouard Manet

Richard Wollheim in his 1987 Mellon Lectures book Painting as an Art develops an idea of there being a viewer or ‘spectator in the picture’, who, whilst invisible, is nevertheless internally present within the content of some paintings. Wollheim proposes that the function of such a spectator in the picture is that he allows the spectator of the picture distinctive access to the picture’s content. Wollheim believes that paintings by the German 18th century painter, Caspar David Friedrich, and the 19th century Parisian artist, Edouard Manet, frequently contain a spectator in the picture. Wollheim’s idea is complex. It contains several subsidiary and linked concepts, including ‘seeing-in’ and representation.

In my talk, I will briefly spell out and clarify Wollheim’s idea and consider critically the extent to which it provides useful insight into works by Edouard Manet.


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 email paul.tod@sjc.ox.ac.uk


Mereology of Potentiality Reading Group - The Powers Metaphysic (Neil Williams) | 17.00 - 18.30 | MBI Foyer, Corpus Christi College

A weekly reading group on Neil Williams' new book The Powers Metaphysic (OUP 2019). At each meeting, one member of the group will introduce a chapter with some comments/questions they want to raise for the group, which will be discussed during the meeting.

Tuesday 19th - chapter 8, presenter TBC.

Attendance is open to all. (If you’d like to sign up to present at the reading group for a later week, please use the form linked here to provide your name and email, along with the dates/chapters you would be interested in presenting on: https://forms.gle/DcZkunXG4WsVzXc98)

If you have any questions, please email either Andrea roselli.uniroma3@gmail.com or Christopher christopherja@gmail.com and we'd be happy to help.

For more information, visit https://www.power-parts.website/


Ruth Chang (Oxford): Hard Choices | 18.00 - 19.30 | Massey Room, Balliol College

What are hard choices, and what should we do in the face of them?

Professor Ruth Chang currently holds the Chair of Jurisprudence at the University of Oxford. Her work focuses on the nature of reasons and values and rational agency. Her work has wide-ranging implications for axiology, decision theory, economic choice theory and rationality.

This talk is hosted by Cerberus – Balliol PPE Society. The talk will be followed by a Q&A session.

Normative Ethics Reading Group | 15.00 - 17.00 | Ryle Room, Radcliffe Humanities

A weekly reading and discussion group for topics in normative ethics and decision theory. Some weeks involve a faculty member from Oxford or elsewhere presenting some of their recent or in-progress work. Contact Tomi Francis at tomi.francis@philosophy.ox.ac.uk for details.


South Asian Philosophy Reading Group | 17.10 - 6.30pm | Ryle Room, Radcliffe Humanities

The South Asian Philosophy Reading Group meets even weeks to read and discuss a short selection from a work by a philosopher of South Asia, ancient or contemporary. MT 2019 will focus on philosophers who worked in the field of aesthetics. Questions which concerned the ancient thinkers whom we will read include: What makes something, like a drama or a poem, aesthetic? How and why do we respond to literature in the way that we do? What is the nature of our aesthetic experience? Is all art pleasurable? In Week 8, we will depart from the ancient debates to read a contemporary Dalit essayist on aesthetics and social change. All faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students are welcome— no prior knowledge necessary. If interested, please email Angela Vettikkal (angela.vettikkal@philosophy.ox.ac.uk) for readings and to be added to the listserv. More information: https://southasianphilosophyreadinggroup.wordpress.com and https://www.facebook.com/events/2886531058041424/.

Islamic Art and Thought Workshop (Image and Thought Network) | 10.00 - 13.00 | Eastern Art Study Room 1, Ashmolean Museum

This workshop will explore the relationship between image and thought in the Islamic tradition. Francesca Leoni, curator of Islamic art of the Ashmolean and Umberto Bongianino, Departmental Lecturer in Islamic Art and Architecture, will give presentations on relevant objects of the Ashmolean collection which will be shown to the attendees. The artist Sama Mara will present traditional Islamic geometry from a practical point of view. She will also present her latest work, "A Hidden Order", a cross-media project in which geometric space is explored through musical composition.

Places are limited, so please email iat@torch.ox.ac.uk to book a spot.


Metaphysics Reading Group | 14.00 - 15.30 | New College

A biweekly reading group (weeks 2, 4, 6, 8) on topics in metaphysics, focusing this term on grounding. Please contact katherine.hong@philosophy.ox.ac.uk to be added to the mailing list.


Epistemology Reading Group | 14.00 - 16.00 | Conduit Room, New College

A pre-read weekly reading and discussion group on recent work in epistemology, sometimes with work-in-progress talks. Contact Nick Hughes (nick.hughes@philosophy.ox.ac.uk) or Bernhard Salow (bernhard.salow@magd.ox.ac.uk) to be added to the mailing list.


Methods and Work in Progress Seminar in Practical and Medical Ethics | 14.00 - 16.00 | Lecture Room, Radcliffe Humanities

Week 6: Thursday 21st November, 2-4pm, Dr Rebecca Brown on Resource Allocation and Responsibility

This seminar is an opportunity for graduate students from all departments whose work has an applied ethics dimension to join a practical and medical ethics seminar group led by researchers from the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics.

Each week, for the first hour of the seminar, one of the researchers will introduce a key topic in Practical or Medical Ethics, referencing various texts, including Medical Ethics and Law; a Curriculum for the 21st Century, 3rd edition (pdfs of the texts will be circulated in the week prior to the seminar).

During the second hour of the seminar students will be given the opportunity to present draft papers or thesis chapters for constructive comments and discussion with other graduate students, led by Dr Rebecca Brown.

Each week one student will have the opportunity to present a work in progress paper, giving a 10 min presentation. Another student will then give a 5 min initial response to the paper presented. This will then be followed by an open group discussion for the remainder of the hour. Papers and reading material are circulated a week in advance via email. Students who volunteer to present are asked to choose another session in which to respond.

The presenting and respondent spaces are issued on a first come first served basis so please email ASAP to ensure you get a space. Responding to papers is as important an aspect of the seminar as presenting. Please email rocci.wilkinson@philosophy.ox.ac.uk if you would like to be placed on the mailing list for this seminar group.


Hegel Reading Group | 18.30 | Ryle Room, Radcliffe Humanities

We shall continue reading the Phenomenology of Spirit.

21 November – The law of the heart and the frenzy of self-conceit §§ 367–380.

Please contact susanne.herrmann-sinai@philosophy.ox.ac.uk for information. See also the website with general information www.hegel.moonfruit.com.

Plato Reading Group | 17.00 - 18.30 | Balliol College

This term, we start reading the Theaetetus. Each session is led by a person appointed in the preceding session, preparing the translation of the agreed-upon section of the text especially diligently. The sessions consist in the presenter's translation of the passage and discussion of whatever interesting or uncertain point that arises, whenever it arises. We use the Greek text (OCT) as the basis for our discussion, and everybody should have prepared the week's section in advance. People who do not know Greek or are just starting to learn it are of course more than welcome to attend.

If you want to be included in the email list please subscribe here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1UNXxHQSgqydpTh1glqsZCawG_-3ze71xZs8I16g...

For more information please email hermann.koerner@philosophy.ox.ac.uk.