Digest Week 8 Trinity Term 2023

TT23, Week 8 (11th-17th 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


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.


Leverhulme Lecture & Book Launch

Professor Valentina Calzolari (Geneva and Leverhulme Visiting Professor, Oxford): 'The Reception of Neoplatonism in Armenia (ca. 6th -20th century)'

Tuesday 13 June at 5pm, Pembroke College, Mary Hide Eccles Room

This fifth Leverhulme Lecture will stress how late ancient Neoplatonism was received and transmitted in Armenia over the centuries. Special emphasis will be placed on the corpus of the Armenian translations of the Greek commentaries on Aristotelian logic by David, a Neoplatonist who taught at the School of Alexandria in the sixth century. Moreover, it will examine the construction of the legend of David, called the “Invincible”, in the Armenian tradition. The Armenian reception of Greek thought is part of a collective volume recently published by V. Calzolari on the liberal arts – including philosophy – in Armenia: Les arts libéraux et les sciences dans l’Arménie ancienne et médiévale (Textes et Traditions 36), Paris, Librairie Philosophique J. Vrin, 2023. This volume’s publication will be celebrated with a book launch following the presentation.

Valentina Calzolari is Professor in Armenian Studies at the University of Geneva and Leverhulme Visiting Professor at the University of Oxford (January-July 2021 and May-July 2023).

Les arts libéraux et les sciences dans l’Arménie ancienne et médiévale | Collection Textes et traditions | Librairie Philosophique J. VRIN



Oxford Maimonides Seminar

Anna Marmodoro (Durham University): 'The thought of God’ as the Liar Paradox: Maimonides on the Absolute Oneness of God'

5pm, Corpus Christi College, Oxford (Rainolds Room)

Maimonides claims something surprising – that we cannot affirm anything of God without rendering God complex. How can language impact on a referent’s constitution? Commentators have seen this as a theological commitment of Maimonides; I will show that his stance is philosophical, with a long and important ‘pedigree’, going back to Parmenides through Plato and Aristotle. 

 I contend that Maimonides assumes a position that I called elsewhere Parmenidean Essentialism, according to which substances are kath’ auto f (f in themselves), rather than essentially f (with some of their properties essentially predicated of them, as ‘traditional’ essentialism claims). I here argue that Maimonides’ metaphysical challenge, of divine affirmations undermining the ‘absolute oneness’ of God, was first discovered by Plato in his Third Bed Argument (in the Republic); from which the Third Man Regress followed (in the Parmenides), which Plato blocked by fiat (in the Timaeus). Aristotle subsequently faced and addressed the same problem in his Essence Regress (in Metaphysics VII.6), and blocked it by fiat, tooIn his response to the problem, I claim that Aristotle takes the (rare to find in the history of philosophy) view, that thinking about something a as kath’ auto f does not have the logical form ‘f(a)’. Can there be such thoughts, where essential predication is identity? Is this a new type of Liar Paradox, when attempting to think of a, which is kath’ auto f, as f(a), ad infinitum? This is the problem Maimonides argues we face, when trying to think of God as divine.

Conveners: Judith Schlanger, Anna Marmodoro, and Elad Uzan. The seminar will be followed by a drinks reception. All welcome!

Online participation is also possible, email us to ask for the zoom link: anna.marmodoro@philosophy.ox.ac.uk.


Department of Philosophy, King’s College London

A celebration of the life and work of Maria Rosa Antognazza (1964 – 2023) Professor of Philosophy, KCL, 2003-23

All are welcome to join us for a celebration of the life and work of Maria Rosa Antognazza (1964 – 2023), Professor of Philosophy, KCL, 2003-23.

Wednesday 14 June 2023, 5:30pm in the Chapel, followed by a reception in the Great Hall.

King’s College London, The Strand, London WC2R 2LS.

Please register here to attend.


Book Launch

Howard Robinson (CEU) will launch his new book Perception and Idealism (OUP)

with comments by Mike Martin

The event will take place on Wednesday 14 June, 5-7pm at The aula, Blackfriars (St Giles).



Joseph Butler Society

Philip Goff (Durham): 'Christianity and a God of Limited Power'

Thursday, 8:30 to 10 pm, Oriel College

For further details please see: josephbutlersociety.weebly.com


Oxford Work in Progress Political Theory Seminar

Cole Phelps: 'Aristotle On Disability in the Polis' Comments by Simeon Goldstraw

Maria-Jose Gomez Ruiz: 'From the Formal to the Substantive Right to Candidacy: Who has a Real Opportunity to run for Office?' Comments by Max Klinger

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 (theo.hickfang@wolfson.ox.ac.uk) and we will ensure you can join online.


Oxford Forum

Professor Lisa Bortolotti (University of Birmingham): 'Expertise as Perspectives in Dialogue'

12:30pm, 15 June, in the Lecture Room at the Philosophy Faculty, University of Oxford

In this paper, we examine the notion of expertise by experience within mental health research, discussing some of the objections commonly raised against its legitimacy. The best way to characterise the integration of different forms of expertise is to describe the process as a case of perspectives in dialogue, where a perspective is a way of referring to how something appears from a particular standpoint, which acknowledges the relevance of that standpoint to what is foregrounded; and a dialogue is a means of sharing insights, carried out to support reciprocal understanding. Co-design and co-production approaches encourage perspective taking and use group processes and facilitation to support community consensus building. It is through such collaborative and relational processes that common objections against the legitimacy of expertise by experience can be addressed.

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

Click here to join the meeting remotely. The Meeting ID is: 365 071 061 394 and the Passcode: xEknFA.



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).


Shreya Atrey (Associate Professor of International Human Rights Law, University of Oxford): 'The structure of racism and the mould of common law'

Friday 16 June 2023 between 3pm to 4.30pm at the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics (Suite 1, Littlegate House, 16-17 St Ebbe’s Street, Oxford, OX1 1PT (Buzzer no. 1))

This talk explores the reception of claims of racial discrimination at common law. It takes off from the perspective that, if racial discrimination is only partially addressed in equality law, where else can we locate claims of racial discrimination? The talk thus bypasses the statutory guarantees under the Equality Act 2010 and moves towards the broader realm of common law. It traces the lineage of cases involving race in judicial review cases including, relatedly, those under the Human Rights Act 1998 and shows that even though, as the Supreme Court has now confirmed in its 2018 Gallaher decision, that there is no common law principle of equality, there appears to be a clear prohibition of racial discrimination at common law. This can be discerned as a principle cutting across the independent grounds of review, especially the grounds of reasonableness and proportionality. Further, because of the nature of judicial review cases where the state is the respondent and the matters concern questions of general importance, this principle seems to emerge in the type of cases best understood as cases of structural discrimination. The talk hopes to show the radical possibility of addressing structural discrimination at common law, while addressing the limitations which yet exist in claiming this possibility in fact.


'Beyond Ourselves: How do experiences of wonder, awe & transcendence (re)shape our lives?'

Brunch & discussion event Friday 16 June 10-11.30am, Somerville College.

In a time of disconnection and self-creation, there is an increasing appetite for experiences which help us feel rooted in, and connected to, a bigger reality. Philosophers, psychologists and those working within the arts have also noted the importance of experiences of wonder, awe or transcendence in prompting moral reflection, formation and human flourishing.

Postgraduates and Early Career Researchers in all relevant disciplines, are invited to join a roundtable discussion on these themes of wonder, awe and transcendence. Using the art of John Ruskin as a lens, we’ll explore a series of questions including: What prompts feelings of wonder, awe or transcendence? How do these experiences shape or reshape our lives? Can we consciously cultivate or make space for these experiences, or do they just happen upon us?

Dr Joanna Collicutt, a clinical psychologist and theologian, will introduce these themes drawing on her recent research on John Ruskin and aesthetics.

A light brunch of pastries, fruit, tea and coffee will be provided at this free event.

Register here: Beyond Ourselves: wonder, awe & transcendence via the art of John Ruskin Registration, Fri 16 Jun 2023 at 10:00 | Eventbrite