Digest Week 7 Trinity Term 2023

TT23, Week 7 (4th-10th 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. 

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


Philosophy of Mathematics Reading Group

The reading will be 'Aristotelian Continua' by Geoffrey Hellman, Oystein Linnebo and Stewart Shapiro https://doi.org/10.1093/philmat/nkv024.

Ravi Jain will be leading the session.

There will be a virtual option for those who cannot attend in person. Please email daniel.rowe@philosophy.ox.ac.uk 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 between 4.30-6pm in the Ryle Room



Hegel Reading Group

We shall be meeting Tuesdays 6-7.30 pm on Skype; please email susanne.hermann-sinai@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 aiming to get to the end at para 412 so we will not read the Zusätze in the sessions (these can be read on your own). The reading is posted each week on hegelinoxford.wordpress.com.


Oxford Forum Event

Dr Elodie Boublil (Associate Professor of Philosophy, the University of Paris Est Créteil (UPEC, Paris XII), France): 'What makes us human? Ethical perspectives on health and vulnerability'


Chair: Dr Roxana Baiasu, Tutorial Fellow and Senior Lecturer, Stanford University Centre in Oxford; Associate Member of the Philosophy Faculty, University of Oxford; Wellcome Trust Fellow, University of Birmingham

The event will take place on Tuesday 6 June 2023 between 4:30-6pm (UK time) in the Ryle Room, at the Philosophy Faculty, University of Oxford.

The contemporary emphasis on vulnerability and interdependence stresses the ethical necessity of a critical care concept to undermine the individualistic paradigm of autonomy and the modern understanding of well-being regarding individual self-achievement and world mastery. In this talk, Dr Boublil analyses how the philosophical investigation of vulnerability has led to an existential, social, and ethical reflection that brought to light a fundamental interdependence among living beings, and examines the nature of this interdependence and the type of relations involved in these dynamics. Dr Boublil argues that caring for the living involves a holistic approach to the human being that considers not only the plurality of her interpersonal relations but also her relation to the environment and her relation to her "self" as a person with rights and responsibility. Moreover, speaking of interdependence also implies examining the philosophical understanding of our modern concepts of nature and culture along the lines of a philosophical critique of the immunity paradigm and cultural biology anew. Drawing on phenomenological ethics, this analysis shows that the concept of responsibility that stems from this renewed understanding of interdependence implies a responsive ethics that articulates the dignity of human beings as persons with the care for the living they demonstrate in the "forms of life" they inhabit with others. It bears consequences for contemporary issues in bioethics, such as caring for vulnerable people or determining our moral standing.

The event is organised with the support of Stanford University in Oxford and the Philosophy Faculty, University of Oxford. For more information contact: roxana.baiasu@philosophy.ox.ac.uk

Conveners: Dr Roxana Baiasu and Professor Stephen Mulhall

This event is free to attend and open to all.


Oxford Socratic Society

Professor Peter Millican and Professor Richard Swinburne debate: 'Do we have immaterial souls?'

Tuesday 6 June, 7.30pm, Tsuzuki Lecture Theatre at St Anne’s College

Do human beings have immaterial souls? Are humans made of nothing more than matter? Join the Socratic Society as we invite Prof. Richard Swinburne and Prof. Peter Millican to debate this timeless issue, and to take your questions!

Prof. Peter Millican is Gilbert Ryle Fellow and Professor of Philosophy at Hertford College. He has written on the philosophy of religion, and Hume. He is also an International Correspondence Chess Grandmaster, and helped to develop the Computer Science and Philosophy degree at Oxford.

Prof. Richard Swinburne is an Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Oxford, and is best known for his work on the philosophy of religion, and his argument for a metaphysically-necessary God. Swinburne has also written on substance dualism, and is a defender of Cartesian dualism and libertarian free will.

Facebook event page


Oxford University Chabad Society

Symposium on Jewish Medical Ethics 

A showcase of presentations from leading rabbinic and ethical experts on Jewish medical ethics

The event takes place on Tuesday 6 June at 7pm in the Slager Jewish student centre, 61 George Street, Oxford, OX1 2BQ.


7pm Reception

7.45pm Rabbi Dr. Akiva Tatz: 'Coercion and consent in Jewish medical law'
Rabbi Dr. Tatz studied medicine at the University of Witwatersrand, and is founder and Director of the Jerusalem Medical Ethics Forum. He is the author of the textbook Dangerous Disease and Dangerous Therapy in Jewish Medical Ethics – Principles and Practice. He has written a number of books on the subject of Jewish thought and philosophy: Anatomy of a Search, which documents the process of transition from secular to observant lifestyles among modern Jews, Worldmask, The Thinking Jewish Teenager’s Guide to Life, Living Inspired, Will, Freedom and Destiny, and most recently, As Dawn Ends the Night.

8.10pm Professor David Katz
David Katz is Emeritus Professor of Immunopathology at University College London (UCL). His research interest has been in antigen presentation, in particular the role of dendritic cells in induction of immune responses in health and disease. His joint research group (with Professor Benny Chain) was recognised for original work investigating how these cells function, and how they can be injured, leading to immunopathology. He edits the International Journal of Experimental Pathology and for 16 years has served on Fitness to Practice Panels, chairing Tribunals for the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service. He is currently a deputy chair of the British Medical Association’s Medical Academic Staff Committee (MASC).

8.35pm Professor Charles Foster: 'Issues of identity in medical ethics'
Charles Foster is Fellow of Exeter College, a member of the Oxford Law Faculty (where he is a Visiting Professor), a Senior Research Associate at the Uehiro Institute for Practical Ethics (within the Faculty of Philosophy), and a Research Associate at the Ethox Centre and the Helex Centre (both within the Faculty of Medicine). From 2011-2018 he served as the legal adviser to the Royal College of Physicians Committee for Ethics in Medicine, and is currently on the Steering Group of the Fiction and Human Rights Project.

8.50pm Nechama Tatz-Wieder: 'Current Ethical Issues in Clinical Genetic Testing'
Nechama is a DPhil Candidate in Clinical Medicine, University of Oxford, and is a fellow at the Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics. She uses computational methods to research non-coding variants role in rare disease. Nechama gained a BSc in Biomedical Sciences (Genetics) at Brunel University London and then an MRes at UCL in Biosciences (Genetics).

9.05pm Dr. Alberto Giubilini: 'Freedom of conscience and medical professionalism: an impossible marriage?'
Alberto Giubilini is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Oxford, based at the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics and Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities. He has a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Milan, and prior to joining Oxford he worked in Australia at Monash University, University of Melbourne, and Charles Sturt University. He has published a book on The Ethics of Vaccination (Palgrave MacMillan 2019) and one in Italian on the ethics of end of life decisions (Morals in the Time of Bioethics, Le Lettere 2011), and he co-edited a book on The Ethics of Human Enhancement (Oxford University Press 2016).

9.20pm Dr. Brian D. Earp: 'Should doctors perform religious rituals? The new debate on 'female circumcision'
Brian is a Senior Research Fellow in the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics at the University of Oxford, Associate Director of the Yale-Hastings Program in Ethics and Health Policy at Yale University and The Hastings Center, and Associate Editor of the Journal of Medical Ethics. Brian’s work is cross-disciplinary, following training in philosophy, cognitive science, psychology, history and sociology of science and medicine, and ethics. A co-recipient of the 2018 Daniel M. Wegner Theoretical Innovation Prize from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Brian was also one of four named finalists for the 2020 John Maddox Prize for “standing up for science” (awarded by Sense about Science and Nature). 

9.35pm Closing remarks

RSVP for buffet reception: info@oxfordchabad.org

The seminar will be in person and also viewable on Zoom: Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 814 4705 1460
Passcode: 402887

All are welcome!



Seminar in Indian Philosophy and Religion followed by Drinks

This series of regular seminars brings together scholars and students working on Indic philosophies and religions. It focuses on topics of current research: in each session, two people will present a context they are investigating for 20min, and then open it for discussion on key questions. All researchers, graduates and finalists in all areas are welcome to join.

Professor Jan Westerhoff: ‘The Double Moon (Dvicandra) Example, Solipsism, and the Private Languarge Argument’

Kassandra Dugi: ‘Like Grain Springing up in a Well Cleaned Field: Self-Attachement, Meditative Absorption and Wisdom in Śāntideva’s Bodhicaryāvatāra'

Wednesday 7 June at 4.30pm in the OCHS Library. 

In his commentary on Śāntideva’s Bodhicaryāvatāra, Prajñākaramati explains that ‘like grain springing up in a well cleaned field, wisdom appears in the mental continuum completely purified by mental calm.’ Taking this analogy as a starting point, this presentation will question the standard interpretation of the Bodhicaryāvatāra’s most famous passage (8.90-103) as defending a particular ethical stance on the basis of anātman and/or emptiness, by re-examining the relationship between self-attachment, meditative absorption and wisdom within the Bodhicaryāvatāra.

For further information regarding the event please email: alice.winham@lmh.ox.ac.uk


Risk, security and democracy: A public conversation
Charles Vincent, Greta Krippner, Émile P. Torres, Mikkel Vedby Rasmussen, Andrew Stirling & Suzanne Schneider

Wednesday 7 June, 4.30pm–6pm

Criss-crossing the disparate realms of healthcare and global finance, war and national security, climate and personal safety, the language and logic of risk have become pervasive in the twenty-first century.

This public conversation invites the panel of speakers to consider the relationship between democratic governance and risk as a form of social and political rationality. Examining attempts to manage risk in the contexts of healthcare, national security, science and technology, finance, and human sustainability, each speaker will ask: What challenges does the 'risk society' present to democratic governance? How might shared risks be truly mitigated, rather than offloaded to those with less structural advantage? And what might a democratic theory of risk management look like?

This is a joint event with the Calleva Centre at Magdalen College.

To attend in-person in Oxford: https://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/events/risk-security-and-democracy/

To watch live online: https://www.crowdcast.io/c/risk-security-and-democracy

To watch later: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-bADo2eCXEg



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 8 May 2023 between 4:30 and 6:30pm at Worcester College

To register please click here.


Screening of The Super 8 Years, followed by a Q&A with director David Ernaux-Briot

8 June 2023, 4pm at the Curzon Oxford Cinema, Westgate Shopping Centre

Admission is free. Registration required here.

Organised by Professor Ève Morisi (St Hugh’s College, Oxford), in collaboration with Professor Élise Hugueny-Léger (University of St Andrews) and Professor Lyn Thomas (University of Sussex)

With the support of St Hugh's College, the Institut Français de Londres, and the Maison Française d'Oxford.


Exhibition 'Annie Ernaux, Nobel Laureate: Class, Gender, and Life-Writing'

Begins on 8 June and runs until 8 November 2023, Monday - Friday between 10am-4pm.

At the Library of St Hugh's College

Free. All welcome

Curated by Professor Ève Morisi (St Hugh's College, Oxford) and Professor Lyn Thomas (University of Sussex), in collaboration with Nora Khayi (St Hugh's College, Oxford)  

With the support of St Hugh's College



The Critical Theory Reading Group

This term we will be reading Capitalism: A conversation in critical theory, by Nancy Fraser and Rahel Jaeggi Cambridge.

Meetings will be 1.30–3.00pm on Fridays in the Le May Room, Worcester College.

For more details, please email either Rachel Fraser (Philosophy) or Ben Morgan (German).


The Lockwood Memorial Lecture

The Lockwood Memorial Lecture and medal presentation commemorate the life and work of Dr Michael Lockwood, recognising in an annual event both senior figures and rising stars in practical ethics.  Dr Lockwood worked both in the Faculty of Philosophy and the Dept. for Continuing Education, and it is appropriate to celebrate his commitment to both through a joint endeavour. The medal has been designed by Dr Lockwood’s son, and has been gifted by his wife, Dr Gillian Lockwood.

The inaugural honouree is Professor Heather Widddows, who will speak on the topic of ‘Naming and Shaming: Responding to Lookism’.

The event will take place between 6-7pm in the Lecture Theatre at the Department for Continuing Education.

The talk will be recorded and made available online after the event. Read more about the event and book your place here.


International Colloquium 'Annie Ernaux: Writing, Politics'

9 June 2023 between 9:30am-4:35pm at St Hugh's College, Oxford.

Free. All welcome* 

Papers delivered in French and in English

Organised by Professor Ève Morisi (St Hugh’s College, Oxford), in collaboration with Professor Élise Hugueny-Léger (University of St Andrews), Prof. Ann Jefferson (New College, Oxford) and Professor Lyn Thomas (University of Sussex)

With the support of St Hugh's College, the Oxford Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages, the Society for French Studies, and the Maison Française d'Oxford

* We regret that no hybrid option is available for this event.


Screening of Happening, by Audrey Diwan

9 June 2023, 7pm at the Maison Française d'Oxford (2-10 Norham Rd, Oxford).

Admission is free. Registration required here

Organised by Prof. Ève Morisi (St Hugh’s College, Oxford)

With the support of St Hugh's College and the Maison Française d'Oxford