Digest Week 2 Michaelmas Term 2020

MT20, Week 2 (18th - 24th October)

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 online.

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

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Philiminality Discussion Group | 14:30 | Online

Reconsidering the Daoist Tradition, Metaphysics and Cosmology in Early Excavated Texts.
Join the Facebook event or email us to receive information on reading and how to attend.


Seminar on Hans Blumenberg | 17:00 | https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89764748793 

Speaker: Jean-Claude Monod (ENS) | Rhetorical concept and platonic concept of politics - from Blumenberg to the ‘post-truth era’ 

WEH/Ethox Seminar | 14:30 – 16:00 | This seminar will be held on Zoom, further information here.

Speaker: Alex John London, Clara L. West Professor of Ethics and Philosophy, Director, Center for Ethics and Policy, Carnegie Mellon University

Title: Self-Defeating Codes of Medical Ethics and How to Fix Them: Failures in COVID-19 Response and Beyond

Abstract: Statements of the core ethical and professional responsibilities of medical professionals are incomplete in ways that threaten fundamental goals of medicine. First, in the absence of explicit guidance for responding to cases in which there is significant uncertainty or disagreement about the relative therapeutic, prophylactic or diagnostic merits of available interventions they perpetuate self-defeating practices. Second, without addressing the role of advertising in shaping patient and community preferences they risk creating moral loopholes that bypass and undermine professional duties of fidelity, honesty and transparency. In both cases, these flaws are exacerbated by an individualism that ignores the critical role of health systems in managing and reducing uncertainty and conflict over best practices, and in communicating with and shaping the expectations of the public. These points are illustrated with examples from the response to COVID-19 and suggestions for reform are proposed.



Hegel Reading Group | The Phenomenology of Spirit | 18:00-19:30 | online

The Hegel Reading Group meets by Skype on Wednesdays 18.00-19.30. New readers are welcome.

We will continue reading 'The Phenomenology of Spirit' (any translation), Section VI 'Spirit': (A) 'The true Spirit' paragraphs 448-452. Please contact Susanne susanne.hermann-sinai@philosophy.ox.ac.uk for the Skype link.

New St Cross Special Ethics Seminar (online): Professor Allen Buchanan | 16:00 - 17:30 | Zoom Registration | Further Information here

Title: Our Moral Fate: Evolution and the Escape From Tribalism

Summary: Professor Buchanan introduces his latest book ‘Our Moral Fate: Evolution and the Escape From Tribalism’.  Is tribalism-the political and cultural divisions between Us and Them-an inherent part of our basic moral psychology? Many scientists link tribalism and morality, arguing that the evolved "moral mind" is tribalistic. Any escape from tribalism, according to this thinking, would be partial and fragile, because it goes against the grain of our nature. In this book, Allen Buchanan offers a counterargument: the moral mind is highly flexible, capable of both tribalism and deeply inclusive moralities, depending on the social environment in which the moral mind operates.0We can't be morally tribalistic by nature, Buchanan explains, because quite recently there has been a remarkable shift away from tribalism and toward inclusiveness, as growing numbers of people acknowledge that all human beings have equal moral status, and that at least some nonhumans also have moral standing. These are what Buchanan terms the Two Great Expansions of moral regard. And yet, he argues, moral progress is not inevitable but depends partly on whether we have the good fortune to develop as moral agents in a society that provides the right conditions for realizing our moral potential. But morality need not depend on luck. We can take charge of our moral fate by deliberately shaping our social environment-by engaging in scientifically informed "moral institutional design." For the first time in human history, human beings can determine what sort of morality is predominant in their societies and what kinds of moral agents they are.

Speaker: Professor Allen Buchanan (James B. Duke Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Duke University)
Allen Buchanan is Research Professor, Department of Philosophy and Freedom Center, Adjunct Professor, Department of Political Economy and Moral Science, University of Arizona; and Distinguished Research Associate, Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics. He works mainly in Bioethics, Political Philosophy, and Philosophy of International Law. His most recent work focuses on the question of what evolutionary thinking can tell us about large scale moral change. Buchanan's most recent books are THE EVOLUTION OF MORAL PROGRESS: A BIOCULTURAL THEORY (2019), co-authored with Russell Powell; INSTITUTIONALIZING THE JUST WAR (2018); and OUR MORAL FATE: EVOLUTION AND THE ESCAPE FROM TRIBALISM (2020).



Africana Philosophy discussion group | 17:00 | Online

Speaker: Chike Jeffers 

What is Africana philosophy?

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