Digest Week 8 Michaelmas Term 2021

MT21, Week 8 (28th November - 4th December)

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 person.

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

Sophist reading group | 4:15pm-6:15pm | Balliol College

Anyone who would like to join can email Dimosthenis Patramanis or Hermann Koerner for details.


Book talk : ''Exponential: how accelerating technology is leaving us behind and what to do about it'' | 5:45pm - 6:45pm | Online and in-person
With Azeem Azhar & Ian Goldin

As technology accelerates, the human mind struggles to keep up - and our companies, workplaces, and democracies get left behind. This is the exponential gap. Leading technologist, Azeem Azhar, in conversation with Professor Ian Goldin, will explain how this exponential gap is rewiring business and society. Exploring corporations and the workplace, diplomacy and big tech, Azeem will make sense of a period of dizzyingly fast change - and reveals how we should respond.
To register to watch in person in Oxford: https://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/events/exponential/
To register to watch online: https://www.crowdcast.io/e/exponential

“On Life 3.0: Conversations On the Philosophy of Artificial Life” | 3:00-5:00pm | Doctorow Hall, St Edmund Hall, OX1 4AR 

by Oxford China Forum 

What happens when philosophy and biotechnology collide? How might cross-cultural perspectives illustrate the future of scientific ethics?

More information about the event can be found on the registration page


Effective Altruism Oxford - Empowering students to have a positive impact | 6:00pm

Title: “Why starting a charity could be the highest impact career for you.”

Speaker: Joey Savoie

Effective Altruism is a research field that helps us find the best ways to improve the world, through the use of evidence and careful reasoning. It’s also a community of people who strive to take action on that basis, to have a large positive impact on the world. 

EA Oxford aims to empower Oxford students to use EA ideas in their career. During term, we meet weekly on Tuesdays at the HB Allen Centre, where we hold speaker events, seminar programmes, and workshops, as well as provide a space to meet and network with likeminded students and professionals in EA. 

Each Tuesday at 6pm there’ll be a talk from an EA professional, including prominent philosophers at Oxford such as Hilary Greaves (director of the Global Priorities Institute) and Toby Ord (senior research fellow at the Future of Humanity Institute). Free pizza is provided after the talk.

Sign up to our mailing list to learn more. 


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

This term we continue The Phenomenology of Spirit (any translation) ‘Faith and pure Insight’, starting at Paragraph 527. Weekly readings updates will be posted here.

For enquiries or to be added to the circulation list and receive the Skype link please contact louise.braddock@philosophy.ox.ac.uk or susanne.herrmann-sinai@philosophy.ox.ac.uk.

Graduate Seminar Programme in the Arts and Humanities | 6:00-7:00pm | Rewley House, Wellington Square

The Graduate Seminar Programme in the Arts and Humanities is open to all interested DPhil, master’s and other postgraduate students and is intended to provide an opportunity not only to discuss recent research findings and methodological approaches but to meet with other students and academic staff.

Open to all Oxford University students and staff. To register, please email gradschool@conted.ox.ac.uk stating how you wish to attend – either in person at Rewley House or online via Microsoft Teams.


The Joseph Butler Society | 8:00pm | Online via Zoom

Title: ​Rabbinic Philosophy and Communitarian Epistemology

Speaker: Samuel Lebens, University of Haifa

Register at Eventbrite here.

Algorithms at Work - Reading Group | 12:30-1:30pm | St Antony’s College and on Zoom.

Automated systems are increasingly running workplaces – from everyday management to hiring and firing workers. AI hasn’t come for workers’ jobs: it is managers who see their traditional tasks replaced or supplemented by sophisticated analyses of personal data. The pervasive reliance on ‘people analytics’, monitoring technology and algorithms to measure, control, and sanction workers is highly controversial: whilst fast and efficient, the technology is easily prone to bias and threatens to disperse responsibility into the cloud.

This discussion group will explore the effects of algorithmic control and surveillance and its current and future regulation, drawing on disciplines including law, economics, sociology, and computer science. We will convene weekly in a hybrid format (Thursday, 12:30 – 13:30) at St Antony’s College and on Zoom.

Applications are invited from across the University; further details can be found here.

Perceptual Experience & Empirical Reason Conference | 3-5 December | Online

The University of Pittsburgh Department of Philosophy will host PEER 2021, a conference on the role of experience in cognition. How does perception guide us to knowledge of a mind-independent reality? If perceptual experiences are the basis of empirical reasoning, how are we to understand the rational contribution of such experiences? The aim of the conference is to promote a conversation between proponents of different conceptions of experience and of its role in cognition. Participants will be expected to read ahead the principal contributions, which will be made available by late October. Conference sessions will be devoted mostly to discussion.

More information about the programme can be found here. Register at PEER2020.weebly.com


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 October 15th, 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.