Digest Week 7 Hilary Term 2023

HT23, Week 7 (26th February - 4th March)

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. 

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


General Linguistics Seminar

Hosted by Víctor Acedo-Matellán and Daniel Altshuler

Title: Language is iconic to the core

Speaker: Marcus Perlman (University of Birmingham)

The seminar will take place at 5:15pm in Room 2 of the Taylorian Institute


Philosophy of Mathematics Reading Group

The reading will be from a chapter of Alex Paseau's draft textbook What is Mathematics About? 

We have the privilege of the session being led by Alex himself.

As the book is under contract, the reading is not for circulation, so it won't be posted here. If you are planning on coming and would like to read a copy in advance please email daniel.rowe@philosophy.ox.ac.uk

There will also be a virtual option for those who cannot attend in person. Please email the above address for details of how to join virtually.

Everyone is welcome. Reading the paper would be strongly encouraged but people are welcome even if not. 

The group will meet on Monday 27th February, 4.30-6pm in the Ryle Room



Fiction and Other Minds Seminar

Title: 'Towards a Co-Modelling of Cognition: Beckett, Introspection by Simulation, and the Predictive Self'

Speaker: Dr Marco Bernini (Durham University)

Tuesday, February 28, 2023: 17:15 to 19:00

Contemporary scientific debate about the self can be qualified as an arena opened by a Cartesian orphanage. For long, as Gallagher and Spear note, Descartes’ “thesis that self is a single, simple, continuing, and unproblematically accessible mental substance resonated with common sense, and quickly came to dominate European thought”.  The growing number of books by foremost philosophers of mind and neuroscientists on the “illusion of self” is the most tangible sign of how the current dominating theory is rather that we are not who we feel or think we are. The new debate on the self has led to a vital a variety of competing or complementing explanatory models attempting to account for what is illusory about the self, for what is not, and for how this illusion is generated. These models will be progressively reviewed throughout this talk, as the theoretical ground against which to understand and analyze Beckett’s own variety of modeling solutions in exploring what he also called, in a letter to George Duthuit, “the illusion of the human and the fully realised”.  This talk is based on the first chapter of my monograph Beckett and the Cognitive Method, which sets forth a theoretical argument for Beckett’s relevance to the scientific study of the mind. It will present an exemplification of a practice I am describing throughout the book as ‘introspection by simulation’ (ie, introspection scaffolded by extended creative practice in different media). It will begin by introducing the kind of triangulation between narrative theory, cognitive sciences, and narrative works that I am envisaging as necessary to what I term a ‘co-modelling’ of cognition.

The seminar is convened by Professor Ben Morgan (ben.morgan@worc.ox.ac.uk) and Dr Naomi Rokotnitz (naomi.rokotnitz@worc.ox.ac.uk). 

Location: Seminar Room 7, St Anne's College

The talk will be followed by drinks for all attendees


Hegel Reading Group

We shall be meeting on Tuesdays 6-7.30 pm on Skype; please email louise.braddock@philosophy.ox.ac.uk for the Skype link.

This term and the next we are reading Hegel’s Anthropology, in the ‘Philosophy of Mind’ (translation is by Wallace and Miller) but we will work from the Michael Inwood revision (OUP 2007). We are starting (in 1st Week) from para 377, eventually getting to the end at para 412 (we will not read the Zuzatse in the sessions).

The reading is posted each week on hegelinoxford.wordpress.com


Gadfly Reading Group

focusing on the writings of Plato

Meet on Tuesdays during term time, 7:30pm at St John’s College

Reading: TBC

“I am the gadfly of the Athenian people” - Socrates, in Plato’s Apology 

The Gadfly Club was founded because we believe that dialogue is the principal and most effective method of understanding ourselves and the world around us. We thus read Plato’s dialogue not just as a model of dialogue, nor only for his philosophical insights; we use his dialogues as a springboard to discuss the real and living problems they present. This is why, after an hour or more of live-reading, we head to the only place friends and philosophers must go – the pub!

We encourage all – especially those who don’t consider themselves ‘students of philosophy’ – to come and join us, hoping to remain true to the main desire of the OSM – that of stimulating inter-disciplinary engagement. 



Aristotle and the Philosophical Foundations of Neuroscience

Wednesday 7th Week (1st March), 19:30, Worcester College, £3 entry or £10 for annual membership

We are excited to be having Dr Daniel De Haan give a lecture on ‘Aristotle and the philosophical foundations of neuroscience’.

Dr De Haan is a Research Fellow of the Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion and is the principal investigator for the ‘Conceptual Clarity Concerning Human Nature’ project. His research interests include philosophical anthropology, philosophy of religion, medieval philosophy and theology, and philosophy of psychology and neuroscience.

Dr De Haan co-authored the article ‘Aristotle and the Philosophical Foundations of Neuroscience’ for which he was awarded the Young Scholar’s Award from the American Catholic Philosophical Association. This is but one of many of his publications on the philosophy of neuroscience and psychology, so we are excited to hear him speak on the topic.



Joseph Butler Society

Charles Taliaferro (St Olaf College): 'The Meaning of Life; The revival of this field in philosophy from the perspective of Christian Platonism'

Thursday 2 March, 8:30 to 10 pm

Harris Seminar Room, Oriel College

For further details, see: http://josephbutlersociety.weebly.com/



Applied Ethics Graduate Discussion Group

Convenor:  Dr Becky Brown

Venue: Oxford Uehiro Centre, Seminar Room, Suite 1 Littlegate House, 16-17 St Ebbes St. OX1 1PT

Part 1: Methods in Applied Ethics: Dr Joanna Demaree-Cotton on ‘Medical Decision-Making

Required Reading: 

  1.  Reyna, V. F., Nelson, W. L., Han, P. K., & Pignone, M. P. (2015). Decision Making and Cancer. American Psychologist, 70, (2), 105-118.
  2. Savulescu, J., & Momeyer, R. W. (1997). Should Informed Consent Be Based On Rational Beliefs? Journal of Medical Ethics, 23, 282-288

Part 2: Work in Progress

Student Presenting: TBC

Student Responding: TBC

Those joining via Zoom should login here using the following Meeting ID: 876 7288 0056 and Passcode: 676270.


Jaeggi Reading Group

Text: Rahel Jaeggi, Alienation, trans Neuhouser/Smith (Columbia UP, 2014). German editions 2005/2016: Entfremdung.

The English text is available electronically via SOLO.

Friday 1.30-3.00pm HT 2023 Weeks 1 to 8

Venue: Worcester College, Le May Seminar Room


Campion Hall Research Seminar
Institutions: Understanding and Evaluating Them

Edward Hadas (Blackfriars, Oxford): Financial Institutions 

3pm - 4.30pm, Campion Hall

Major institutions have failed society. Banks and the Financial Markets have failed us in the 2008 credit crisis. The FA, the BBC, the Churches, British Gymnastics have all failed the victims of sex abuse. The Police and the CPS have failed the victims of sexual violence and rape. The NHS and Care Services continue to fail many patients. The British Government, its regulatory and supervisory bodies, and the building industry have failed the residents of Grenfell Tower, and the residents of similar high-rise blocks, whether social housing or privately owned.

Multiple institutional failure provokes the question whether we have the intellectual resources to understand institutions, to critique them, to repair them, or to construct and operate them appropriately. The hermeneutics of suspicion (Marx, Freud) has trained us to suspect hidden agenda in the exercise of institutional power. People espouse spirituality and reject institutional religion. Voters abandon established political institutions and seek an alternative politics. What prospects are there for a different experience of institutions?

The seminar will explore available analyses of institutions, the intellectual resources for dealing with them, possible remedies, and will test their application in various domains such as the law, the economy, the Church, public administration.

For more information and to register: https://www.campion.ox.ac.uk/events/campion-hall-research-seminar-institutions-understanding-and-evaluating-them


Asian Philosophy Drinks

Do you study Asian philosophy but find few people to discuss Asian philosophical ideas with at Oxford? Maybe you already discuss Asian philosophy with a community and just want to discuss it more! Dr Jessica Frazier and MPhil student Alicehank Winham are creating a regular social group that seeks to bring together those who study Asian philosophy from different departments to one place for communal exchanges of ideas and community. If you are interested, you are welcome to attend our first buy your own drinks (any sort!) at the Wine Café on Friday 3 March (Week 7) at 5:30pm to meet and discuss Asian philosophies! Please also send your email and WhatsApp to alice.winham@lmh.ox.ac.uk for regular communication about future events. Open to anyone at any stage in their degree and career.