Professor Óscar Horta (University of Santiago de Compostela): 'Oversimplification in population axiology: How highly idealized models risk bad outcomes for humans and nonhuman animals'
Thursday, 18 May 2023, 16:30 – 18:00 in the Colin Matthew Room, Radcliffe Humanities Building, Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, Woodstock Road, Oxford.
In population axiology, comparisons of the value of different outcomes have traditionally been done in highly idealized ways. This has been done, for example, by considering only net-levels of wellbeing and not their components; by assuming scenarios of perfect equality; and by taking for granted full certainty, instead of option uncertainty. As those idealized models of populations' wellbeing are the only ones that have been considered to date, standard views in population axiology have been built upon them. As a result of this, they tend to reach conclusions that overlook risks of net-negative scenarios. Despite this, these views can nevertheless influence practical decision making, thus contributing to the creation of outcomes in which large numbers of human beings may have lives that are overall bad. Furthermore, it is more likely that this will happen in the case of nonhuman animals, both domesticated and living in the wild. The reason is that idealized population axiologies can be combined with flawed assumptions concerning animals' wellbeing that are prevalent today. Avoiding such scenarios should be an important goal for longtermists
IN-PERSON registration: Register to attend in person or ONLINE Zoom registration.
Oxford Work in Progress Political Theory Seminar
Emily Dyson: 'Democratising Mental Healthcare' Comments by Mario Aguiriano
Charlie Richards: 'Deception and Social Rights' Comments by Kida Lin
The seminar will take place on Thursday, 4-6pm in the Butler Room at Nuffield College.
This is a hybrid session. If you cannot participate in person, please let us know (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we will ensure you can join online.
Out of the Question, Community: A Reading Seminar on Maurice Blanchot
At once everywhere and nowhere, the question of community insists today more than ever. Drawing out Blanchot's perspective will be our goal.
How to pose the question of community today? That is: how to pose it in a world globalized yet characterized by a tendency to increase the protection of borders? How to pose it on a continent whose union some of its members have recently “exited”, and whose territory was, for the first time since WWII, recently invaded and has been a battleground ever since? How to pose the question of community in a cultural context that (finally) deems diversity and inclusion of vital importance but struggles to realize “inclusive” communities?
Impossible and necessary, community then seems to be everywhere and nowhere to be found. But was community ever anywhere to be found? Or does something within its very idea defy the possibility of a locus?
In this reading seminar, we will make a joint attempt at evaluating if and how Maurice Blanchot’s pathbreaking The Unavowable Community can help us pose the question of community today. The text, published in 1983 and consisting of the essays “The Negative Community” and “The Community of Lovers”, formed a direct response to a text on the same topic by Jean-Luc Nancy, itself a reading of Blanchot’s work, and theorizes community as exposure to loss. As the backflap of the English translation has it, The Unavowable Community “is an inquiry into the nature and possibility of community, asking whether there can be a community of individuals that is truly ‘communal.’ The problem, for Blanchot, is that the very terms of an ideal community make an ‘avowal’ of membership in it a violation of the terms themselves.”
Rhythmed by the progression of The Unavowable Community, of which we will close-read small portions each session, as well as context-providing readings and filmic excursions, we hope to come to an understanding of community as exposure to loss. Along the way, we will, too, problematize the idea’s articulation in the work’s structure: how to posit a loss without betraying it? If community is exposure to loss, how, indeed, are we to come together and read it? Picking up yet another of Blanchot’s gloves, we will continue some of the discussions on the self-loss of the One in relation to the Other initiated during last term’s Autofiction & Blanchot reading group. If my relation to the Other can only emerge as a relation without relation, would our community not be a matter of holding the hands that never hold?
The event takes place on Thursday 18 May 2023 between 4.30-6.30pm at Worcester College.
To register please click here.
Oxford Philosophy Society
Reading Group on Jeremy Waldron 'Homelessness and the Issue of Freedom'
Time: 7pm - 8pm (society executives will be at Keble's Porters' Lodge ten to fifteen minutes prior to the start of the event)
Venue: Stafford Crane Room, Keble College