Digest Week 8 Hilary Term 2022

HT22, Week 8 (6th-12th 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

Presocratic Philosophy Reading Group | 1:00 pm | Old Library, Hertford College

We will be meeting weekly to informally read and discuss various presocratic texts over lunch every Sunday. Everyone is welcome to bring their own food (not provided) and meet us in Hertford’s old library at 13.00 on Sundays. We will be welcoming you at Hertford’s main entrance in Catte Street until 5 past, but if you arrive after then please ask the porters to show you the way to the old library (which provides plenty of space and ventilation). 

The Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society | 5:30-7:15pm | Online via Zoom

Title: Reflecting, Registering, Recording and Representing: From Light Image to Photographic Picture 
Speaker: Dawn Wilson (Hull)
Chair: Robert Stern (Sheffield)

Due to the Covid-19 situation, The Aristotelian Society will be holding its meetings online via Zoom until further notice. To join the presentation and discussion period for each talk you will need to follow this link. If you have any problems or concerns about the software, please contact mail@aristoteliansociety.org.uk. You do not need to have a Zoom account or to download anything in advance but we have found that the software works better on Google Chrome or Firefox, rather than other browsers. Please log into the “waiting room” at least 5 minutes in advance of each talk.

Free of charge and open to all!

View the Draft Paper | View the 2021/22 programme

Joseph Butler Society | 8:15pm | Large Senior Common room, Oriel College

Speaker: Robert Audi (Notre Dame)

Title: 'Reframing the Problem of Evil: Axiological, Theological, and Epistemological Dimensions' 

Faraday Institute Seminars | 1:00pm | In person and online

Speaker: Revd Joanna Collicutt (Oxford University)

Title: 'Psychosis and Religious Experience' 

The event is free, and all are welcome. See faraday.institute/seminars for more details.

Hegel Reading Group | 6:00-7:30pm | Online via Skype

The Hegel Reading Group continues to meet by Skype on Tuesdays 6:00-7:30pm. We are reading 'The Phenomenology of Spirit' (any translation). We are now in Section 6 B: Self-Alienated Spirit. Culture II a 'The struggle of the Enlightenment with superstition'. New Readers please contact either susanne.herrmann-sinai@philosophy.ox.ac.uk or louise.braddock@philosophy.ox.ac.uk for the Skype link. Details of each week's reading are posted on: hegelinoxford.wordpress.com.

A Spirit of Trust Reading Group | 9:00-11:00am | Ryle Room, Radcliffe Humanities, Woodstock Road

Written over the course of 40 years, Robert Brandom’s highly-anticipated 2019 book A Spirit of Trust presents a novel reading of Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit. It translates the Phenomenology into the idiom of contemporary Anglophone philosophy, demystifying the Phenomenology’s notoriously impenetrable prose and rendering it transparent to contemporary philosophical analysis

The reading group would be of direct relevance for anyone with an interest in Hegel and German Idealism. However, the work is only partially interpretative. The majority of Brandom’s effort is spent on making a host of contributions to contemporary philosophical debates, meaning that the reading group would also be relevant for anyone with an interest in the determination of conceptual content, pragmatist semantics, the social metaphysics of normativity, the metaphysics of agency and intentionality, the relationship between mind and world, and the historical groundedness of our discursive practices. As today's flag-bearer of linguistic pragmatism (following in the footsteps of Dewey, Quine, and Rorty), the reading group is a great opportunity to find out about Brandom’s own thought too, namely his theory of inferentialism, and its advantages and disadvantages over more traditional semantic schemas.

David N. Lyon Speaker Series | 5:00-6:15pm | Harris Lecture Theatre, Oriel College

Title: "Unconditional Equals"

Speaker: Anne Phillips

 This is a free event but you need to book a place in advance here

Seminar Series by the OxAI Safety Hub | 6:00-7:00pm | Lecture Theatre A, Department of Computer Science, OX1 3QD

'A Framework for AI Governance' by Richard Ngo (OpenAI)

Advanced AI systems have the potential to transform our world – how can we ensure they’re beneficial for humanity? Join us this Wednesday, 9th March, to hear Richard Ngo (OpenAI) present a framework for AI governance. His talk will be livestreamed in Lecture Theatre A, Department for Computer Science, and followed by a social with free pizza, books, and further resources. The talk will assume only basic familiarity with deep learning.

Richard Ngo works as a Research Scientist at OpenAI, the laboratory at the forefront of AI research. They are responsible for GPT-3 (described by David Chalmers as "one of the most interesting and important AI systems ever produced"), DALL-E and CLIP, and Codex (which powers Github’s Copilot). 


The field of AI governance is currently in a pre-paradigmatic state; there's a lot of disagreement about even basic strategic and conceptual questions. I introduce a framework for directing research in the field, premised on three working assumptions:
1. There will be increasingly leveraged opportunities to shape attitudes towards AI over the coming decades.
2. Historical case studies are a valuable default research direction for understanding how to make advanced AI go well.
3. Impactful governance interventions will often require a mix of political and technical progress.

If you have any accessibility requirements, please contact catherine@aisafetyhub.org

Facebook page.

Weekly reading group on the occasion of the centenary of Ludwig Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus | 6:30-7:30pm | Colin Matthew Room, Radcliffe Humanities

We are delighted to announce that this term we will be hosting a reading group, open to all members of the University and the public, to mark the centenary of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus.

One of the defining texts of the 20th century, Wittgenstein’s first work is notoriously difficult for first-time readers. By working through it together, the problems that baffle us alone or leave us stranded can be solved through discussion, drawing on our individual readings and backgrounds. This is the perfect opportunity to cover a text often sidelined, or marginalised as an eccentricity in the history of ideas.  

The TLP is composed of 7 core propositions. We will endeavour to finish the text by the end of Michaelmas Term (first week of December). We will play it by ear together and see how far we get each session, though we will try to finish one proposition a week where realistic, with a few exceptions where more time is required. 

Every Friday from January 21st, 18:30, at Radcliffe Humanities Building, Woodstock Road.

Please message us at jack.franco@queens.ox.ac.uk or ph21251@bristol.ac.uk to let us know you’re coming, and to receive a copy of the text. We will be using the newly published (Anthem Press) centenary edition, by Luciano Bazzocchi and PMS Hacker (more on this choice in the first session!)

We will offer suggested further reading at the end of sessions. All welcome, students, staff and public. 

Webinar: John Locke's Library | 10:00am-4:00pm | Online

John Locke’s Library is examined in a webinar.

Speakers: Teresa Bejan, Mark Goldie, Scott Mandelbrote, John Milton, Will Poole, Jacqueline Rose, Felix Waldmann, JC Walmsley, Bill Zachs

The Bodleian Library preserves the world's largest collection of manuscripts and books belonging to John Locke (1632-1704). This workshop considers developments in the study of Locke's books and manuscripts since John Harrison and Peter Laslett's The Library of John Locke (1971), and in the light of the ongoing Clarendon Edition of the Works of John Locke, and it examines several recent discoveries about Locke's practices as a reader, writer, and book owner. A selection of Locke's books and manuscripts will be shown.

Registration is required for this webinar.