Digest Week 5 Trinity Term 2019

TT19, Week 5 (26th May - 1st June) 

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 - Events taking place elsewhere in the university and beyond

Reading Group - Philosophers Discuss Current Events | 19.00 - 20.00 | Ryle Room, Radcliffe Humanities

A group for discussing topics in current events and international relations 'through the lens of philosophy'. Contact tena.thau@philosophy.ox.ac.uk to be added to the mailing list.


Mereology Reading Group | 17.00 - 19.00 | Ryle Room, Radcliffe Humanities

This reading group will focus on some recent work on mereology. Our focus will be on how the notion of parthood and other mereological principles can be extended to apply beyond the realm of material objects. The group will meet each Tuesday from 17.00 - 19.00. Please e-mail sabine.bot@philosophy.ox.ac.uk if you would like to attend.


Set Theory Reading Group | 19.00 - 21.00 | Ryle Room, Radcliffe Humanities

Our reading group welcomes anyone interested in Set Theory. We shall discuss topics such as large cardinals, forcing, and inner models. No prerequisites are required. Organised by Wojciech Woloszyn.

WEH/Ethox | Beyond Hype: Opportunities and Challenges in mHealth | 11.00 - 12.30 | Seminar Room 0, Big Data Institute

Speaker: Tereza Hendl, Institute of Ethics, History and Theory of Medicine, Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich

Mobile Health (mHealth) technologies are increasingly becoming an essential part of healthy lifestyles, disease prevention and disease management. The field is developing at a rapid pace, with emerging mHealth technologies being met with enthusiasm and promoted as tools to revolutionize healthcare. We believe that a wide implementation of mHealth technologies can have a transformative impact on health care provision and that it can significantly shape health care systems and public health outcomes. In this paper, we interrogate the major challenges accompanying such developments. Considering the hopes associated with mHealth technologies, we find it important to open a discussion about their challenging aspects, including the emphasis on self-monitoring, -management and -responsibility for health (implicit in and reinforced by mHealth) algorithmic biases, technological risks, increasing influence of the private IT-sector and new roles for health care professionals. The overall aim of our analysis is to support responsible, socially sustainable and user-centric innovation in mHealth.


Philosophy and Literature Reading Group | 14.30-16.00 | Seminar Room A, English Faculty

Session 1:

· Goethe’s Faust, Part 1 (1808) translated by David Luke in the Oxford World Classics edition.

· George Santayana’s chapter on Faust in Three Philosophical Poets: Lucretius, Dante, Goethe (1910).

For PDFs of the shorter pieces, please email harry.daniels@ball.ox.ac.uk


Seminar on Boethius’ De Consolatione Philosophiae | Boethius on Relatives and Relation | 17.00 - 18.30 | Seminar Room, Corpus Christi College

Speaker: John Marenbon (Cambridge)

Website: http://www.power-structuralism.ox.ac.uk/weekly_seminars/invited_speakers.html

The Wilde Lectures in Natural Theology: God, Human Nature and Mathematics | Lecture 4: Did God make the natural numbers? | 17.00 | Harris Lecture Theatre, Oriel College

This year’s Wilde Lectures in Natural Theology will be delivered by Alexander Pruss, Professor of Philosophy at Baylor University, USA.

Alexander Pruss holds PhD degrees in both mathematics and philosophy. In addition to many peer-reviewed articles, his publications include the following academic monographs: Infinity, Causation and Paradox (OUP 2018), Necessary Existence, (with Joshua Rasmussen, OUP 2018), One Body: An Essay in Christian Sexual Ethics (Notre Dame 2012), Actuality, Possibility and Worlds (Continuum 2011), The Principle of Sufficient Reason: A Reassessment (CUP 2006).


Is the human species slowing down? | 17.00 - 18.00 | Oxford Martin School 

Speaker: Danny Dorling, Halford Mackinder Professor in Geography

In Origin of Species, Charles Darwin described how a population explosion occurs and called the time of population explosion “ favourable seasons", he was not to know it, but such circumstances arose for his own species at around the time of his own birth. However, the favourable seasons for human population growth were not experienced favourably, with times of great social dislocation from small scale enclosure to global colonisation. Now those seasons are over, we have experienced the first ever sustained slowdown in the rate of global human population growth. This has been the case for at least one human generation. However, we are not just slowing down in terms of how many children we have, but in almost everything else we do, other than in the rise in global temperatures that we are recording and that we have to live with. It can be argued that there is even a slowdown in such unexpected areas as debt, publishing, and in the total amount useful information being produced.

If this is true - that humanity is slowing down in almost everything that we do – what does this mean? What measurements suggest that slowdown is true? And if so much is still rising, albeit at slower and slower rates - is that such a great change? Finally how might the slowdown impact on economic thought. In many ways economics was the science of the great acceleration; a science that makes most sense when markets are expanding and demand is rising. What kind of an economics is needed in a world where enormous and accelerating growth has stopped being the normality?.

To register (recommended): https://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/event/2704


Appeals to Nature Seminar | Synthetic Biology and the Human Relationship to Nature: Toward Middle Ground | 17.00 | Hovenden Room, All Souls College

Speaker: Gregory Kaebnik (The Hastings Center, New York). All are welcome. 


InParenthesis Reading Group | 20.00 - 21.30 | Ryle Room, Radcliffe Humanities 

Women in Parenthesis (www.womeninparenthesis.co.uk) is a research collaboration between Clare Mac Cumhaill and Rachael Wiseman. The project is dedicated to the study of the lives and friendships of four women philosophers: Iris Murdoch, Phillipa Foot, Elizabeth Anscombe, and Mary Midgley. For questions, please contact sasha.lawson-frost@philosophy.ox.ac.uk  

Science - Post-Normal Perspectives | Jerry Ravetz at 90 | 09.30 - 18.00 | Oxford Martin School

The workshop will explore several themes that have long concerned Jerry Ravetz: the future of science, of post-normal science, and of policy-related mathematics.

How will the essential fiduciary status of science be preserved, when it is absorbed into STEMM, and threatened internally by the ‘irreproducibility crisis’ and externally by the populist rejection of elitist expertise? As Post-Normal Science becomes a movement of ‘informed critical resistance’, how will it distinguish between real science done by good citizens and pseudo-science done by bad populists? Policy-related mathematics is infected by fallacious statistical inferences, patently unfalsifiable simulation models, spuriously quantified indicators of quality, and sorcerer’s-apprentice algorithms. How can our scientific culture be weaned from its teddy-bear numbers?

Jerry will post brief statements on each theme on the workshop website, together with links to background literature.  Members of the workshop are invited to contribute their comments, either before or at the event. 

For queries please contact: enquiries@insis.ox.ac.uk. To register visit: https://science-post-normal-perspectives-ravetz-at-90.eventbrite.co.uk. For more information visit https://www.insis.ox.ac.uk/.


The Meaning of Life Reading Group | 11.30 | St Peter’s College  

Oragnised by Tim Mawson. This small reading group/seminar will be arranged during weeks 1-8 on (mainly recent) contributions to the literature on ‘the meaning of life’, broadly construed, as given by philosophers, theologians, scientists, psychologists and others. Readings will be circulated in advance each week. The seminar is aimed at graduate students and faculty members; anyone wishing to attend should email tim.mawson@philosophy.ox.ac.uk to be included on the circulation list for further information. Suggestions for suitable readings are most welcome.

Two-day conference | Curing Through Questioning: Philosophy as Therapy Across Ancient Traditions and Modern Applications | 1st - 2nd June | Sultan Nazrin Shah Centre, Worcester College

The Conference is organized with the generous support of the Hinton Clarendon Fellowship, Worcester College; the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Oxford; the Davis Fund Grant, Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Oxford; the Marc Sanders Foundation; Minorities and Philosophy (MAP); the Balliol College Interdisciplinary Institute; and the All Souls Academic Purpose Committee. The conference is organised by Robin Brons, Lea Cantor, Sihao Chew, Sybilla Pereira and Alesia Preite.

The conference includes speakers from worldwide universities, including Jessica Frazier and Elisabeth Huh from Oxford University. For the full programme and conference abstracts, see: https://curingthroughquestioning.weebly.com/programme.html

Please register for the conference here. The registration fee will include coffee & tea, light refreshments and lunch on both days.