Digest Week 8 Hilary Term 2019

HT19, Week 8 (4th March - 10th March)

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 | Ryle Room

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 Forum | The Divine Attributes | 14.00 | Stanford University Centre, Stanford House, 65 High Street

Speaker: Tim Mawson, Edgar Jones Fellow and Tutor in Philosophy, St Peter's College, Oxford
Chair: Roxana Baiasu, Tutorial Fellow, Stanford University Centre in Oxford; Member of the Philosophy Faculty, Oxford

The event is related to Tim Mawson’s recent book, The Divine Attributes, which is about what the God worshipped by the monotheistic religions is like (or, if you wish, would have been like, had He existed). The book suggests that God is (or, if you wish, would be) the most perfect being possible and discusses the main divine attributes which flow from this understanding – personhood, transcendence, immanence, omnipresence, omniscience, omnipotence, perfect goodness, unity, simplicity and necessity. In the course of discussing these properties and some others, Tim Mawson makes the case that the atemporalist’s conception of God (the most perfect being would be outside time) is to be preferred over the temporalist’s (He's inside time but everlasting in the forwards and backwards directions) on the grounds of Perfect Being Theology, but that, if it were to be the case that the temporal God existed, rather than the atemporal God, He would still be ‘perfect enough’ to count as the God of Theism. There are thus at least two distinct ways in which it is logically possible that Theism could be true. On the occasion of this event, Dr Mawson will sketch very briefly some of the ideas in the book and then engage with questions that will arise in the discussion. There is no need to register for this event. 

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

Please note the change of venue for this event. 

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 


INCORRECT DATE: The ethics of vaccination: individual, collective, and institutional responsibilities | 17.00 - 18.15 | Oxford Martin School

This event is scheduled for tomorrow. Please see the next tab. Apologies for the error. 


Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics | Corporate Insecthood | 17:15 – 18:45 | Oxford Martin School, Seminar Room 1

Speaker: Nina Strohminger (Assistant Professor of Legal Studies & Business Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania).

Whether the corporation should be considered a person is a matter of heated debate in legal and philosophical circles. In this talk, I examine whether, and in what ways, ordinary citizens might also conceptualize the corporation as a person. I present evidence that corporations are anthropomorphized, but only to a certain degree. Furthermore, corporations differ in the extent to which people are willing to grant them personhood, a pattern which is predicted by how ethical the corporation is. Finally, I show that corporate anthropomorphization has important downstream consequences in some domains (e.g. support for corporate civil rights) but bears little to no relation in others (e.g. belief in corporate moral responsibility).

Booking: https://bookwhen.com/uehiro. For information visit OxTalks: https://talks.ox.ac.uk/talks/id/62a15e8f-1b22-40a5-9060-8d4a6393cf01/


Interdisciplinary seminars in psychoanalysis | The Mine/d field of the Internal World: The importance of the setting in work with borderline patients | 20.15 - 21.45 | Lecture Room, St John’s College Research Centre (45 St Giles')

Speaker: Ellie Roberts, Psychotherapist in private practice.

The consideration of the setting is paramount in any context in which analytic psychotherapy is practised. When working with patients seen as traumatised and borderline personalities, however, the setting is often the site of contention. One might consider the setting to be constituted by a variety of conditions: the building in which the treatment takes place, the actual therapeutic room and its furniture, the temporal arrangements, even the demeanour of the analyst, but it also includes the type of work that the therapist does and the boundaries around the work that restrict contact with the patient to the analytic time and maintain the confidentiality of the patient’s material. For all patients, and in particular traumatised patients, the setting can become a facsimile of their internal world. The therapeutic setting they encounter can be filled by the patient with unconscious projections from their wounded past. When the patient perceives the object – that is, encounters the therapist – within the setting, the latter can quickly be imbued with terrifying imagoes. As J. Baldwin (1940), in ‘Many Thousand Gone’, writes, ‘It is not a question of memory. Oedipus did not remember the thongs that bound his feet; nevertheless, the marks they left testified to that doom toward which his feet were leading him. The man does not remember the hand that struck him, the darkness that frightened him, as a child; nevertheless, the hand and the darkness remain with him, indivisible from himself forever, part of the passion that drives him wherever he thinks to take flight.’

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. Website and full information: http://oxfordpsychoanalysis.blogspot.com/ 



Suboptimal Charity | 15.30 - 17:00pm | Group Working Rm 9, Level 1, Blavatnik School, Blavatnik School of Government

Speaker: Theron Pummer, St Andrews.

Suppose a building is collapsing, and six children are trapped inside. If you do nothing, they will die. If you support the wall to your left, one child will escape unharmed. If you instead support the wall to your right, the other five will escape unharmed. Supporting either wall would result in both your arms being crushed. It seems plausible that (1) it is permissible not to save any of the children, and (2) it is wrong to save the one rather than the five. Joe Horton has argued that (1) and (2) together support the seemingly implausible claim that, if you are not going to save all five children, you ought to save none. I argue that there is a plausible way of avoiding this claim while nonetheless accepting (1) and (2). I then turn to the implications for charitable giving. I present three types of argument against suboptimal charitable giving, based on claims like (2). I show that, while the first two appeal to controversial general principles, the third does not, and constitutes a flexible tool for arguing against a variety of forms of suboptimal charitable giving.


The ethics of vaccination: individual, collective, and institutional responsibilities | 17.00 - 18.15 | Oxford Martin School

Speaker: Alberto Giubilini, Oxford Martin Fellow, Oxford Martin Programme on Collective Responsibility for Infectious Disease and Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities.

Registration recommended. To view full details and register, please visit https://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/event/2663



ERC Research Seminar on Responsibility | Character, omissions, and responsibility | 10.00 - 12.00 | Philosophy Department, University College London

The target readings are:

- R. A Duff, 1993. “Choice, Character, and Criminal Liability.” Law and Philosophy 12 (4): 345–83.
- Erasmus Mayr. Forthcoming. “Character, ‘Pure’ Omissions, and Responsibility.”

Please visit https://rootsofresponsibility.co.uk/ for further details and venue. 


CANCELLED: WEH/Ethox seminars | Opt outs and organ allocation: Should those who opt out be deprioritised? | 11:00 -12:30 | Seminar Room 0, Big Data Institute

Speaker: Stephen Wilkinson, Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion, Lancaster University
Abstract: To follow at https://www.weh.ox.ac.uk/upcoming-events/tbc-1


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

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.

Critical Theory Seminar | TBC | 17.00 - 18.30 | New Powell Room, Somerville College

Speaker: Lorna Finlayson (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 Far Can We Push the Limits of the Human Brain? | 17.00 | Oakeshott Room, Lincoln

Panel: Nigel Emptage, Arabella Simpin and Michael Zhu Chen. The panel will be chaired by Brendon Neuen

Following a free wine reception from 17.00, 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-53908929058


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