The Ockham Society

The Ockham Society provides a forum in which graduate students in philosophy (particularly BPhil, MSt, and PRS students) may present their ideas to their peers at the University of Oxford. Our aim is to provide every Oxford graduate student with the opportunity to present their ideas in a friendly environment at least once during their time in Oxford. It is an ideal opportunity to gain feedback on your essays, and to gain first experiences in academic presenting. Small, experimental and unfinished papers are just as welcome as more advanced ones.

The Ockham Society is meeting on Thursday afternoons during term at the Radcliffe Humanities building on Woodstock Road. 

Ockham Society Convenors: Nathan Johnston and Lang Ming Ockham Society Website 

Past Terms

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Week 1 (28 April)

Kiran Lloyd

Sometimes you should take the lower expected value, riskier bet 

Week 2 (5th May)

Amy Thompson 

Dignity in the Market and Dignity in Society

Week 3 (12th May)

Martin Schlombs

Is Speaker-Meaning without Common Ground Uptake Possible?

Week 4 (19th May)

Ockham x Womxn’s Week


Week 5 (26th May)

Matt Hitchens and Niklas Welsch


Week 6 (2nd June)

Jingyi Yang

Plato on memory and anticipatory pleasure: reinterpreting the “mind-book simile” in the Philebus

Week 7 (2nd June)

Marta Bielinska

Leibniz and Kant on the nature of space. Forgotten context of “Von dem ersten Grunde des Unterschiedes der Gegenden im Raume”

Week 8 (16th June)

Kida Lin



Week 1 (20th January) 

Becky Clark

Would a Universal Basic Income (UBI) promote gender justice?

Week 2 (27th January)          

Fionn Kennedy

Are there Good Dogs? Conceptual barriers to the possibility of Moral Agency in non-human animals 

Week 3 (3rd February)

Leo Schneider

Reasons as Evidence and the Asymmetry Charge

Week 4 (10th February)  

Hal Willis

Give Me Virtue, or Give Me Death: Problems and Prospects for Contemporary Virtue Ethics

Week 5 (17th February)



Week 6 (24th February)

Michael O'Connor


Week 7 (3rd March)

Jules Desai

Wittgenstein and the possibility of worldmaking

Week 8 (10th March)

Kabir Bakshi

On Halpern and Hitchcock's Account of Actual Causation


Week 1 (14th October)           

Steven Diggin (Merton College)

'Towards a post-post-Gettier Epistemology'
Week 2 (20th October)

Sophie Nagler (New College)

'Proof-theoretic pluralism: co-determination on two levels'
Week 3 (28th October)

Val Borba (Regent’s Park College)

'A feminist reading of Parmenides'
Week 4 (4th November)

Hallam Willis (Wolfson College)

'The Ethical Normativity of Perception'
Week 6 (18th November)

Kimon Sourlas-Kotzamanis (Wolfson College)

'Epistemic Injustice and its Place in Epistemology and Ethics'
Week 7 (25th November)

Katie Prosser

'The Harm of the Pornography of Meat'
Week 8 (2nd December)

Sebastian Sanchez-Schilling

'Must an ethics founded on human good be political?'


Week 1 (24th January)                 

Sasha Arridge (Mansfield College)                                       

Moral Responsibility as a Necessary Presupposition of Action: A Solution to the Problem of Constitutive Moral Luck

Week 2 (31st January)

Sam Williams (New College)

Supervaluationism and Higher-Order Vagueness; or, Supersupervalutionism

Week 3 (7th February)

Abigail Whalen (Magdalen College)

Does Justification of Political Authority Entail Political Legitimacy?: Contra Simmons’ Philosophical Anarchism

Week 4 (14th February)

Richard Roth (New College)

Preservation + Anti-Moore = KK
Week 5 (21st February)

Maurice Grüter (Lincoln College)

How to ground Stoic ethics without appealing to providence – and why we perhaps shouldn’t
Week 6 (28th February)               

Alexander Read (St Hilda’s)                                                                        

Debunking De Se Content
Week 7 (6th March)

Amy Thompson (St Anne’s)

Alessio Vaccari (St Peter’s College)                                           

'Recht oder Unrecht – Mein Vaterland': Is patriotism a virtue?

David Hume on Resentment 

Week 8 (13th March)                                   

Patricia Elena Cipollitti (Wolfson College)

Towards an account of vulnerability in social relations


Week 1 (18th October)                Kacper Kowalczyk (St Anne’s College)                          Transfinite transitivity / Irina Starikova (National University HSE, Moscow): Beyond diagrams: mathematical thought experiments
Week 2 (25th October) Abigail Whalen (Magdalen College) Locke’s Characterization of Consciousness in His Essay
Week 4 (8th November) Denis Kazankov (St Cross College) Context and Quantifier Domain Restriction
Week 5 (15th November)           John Fan (St Cross College)                     Eudaimonism Without Egoism: The Transformation of Practical Reason in Plato’s Republic
Week 6 (22nd November) Aglaia von Götz (Merton College) How to count with partial oranges
Week 8 (6th December) Richard Roth (New College) Hierarchies of senses in Frege’s semantics for attitude ascriptions



Week 1 (18th January) Simon-Pierre Chevarie-Cossette (University College) 'Excuses and Alternatives'
Week 2 (25th January) Kacper Kowalczyk (St. Anne’s College) 'A limited defence of limited aggregation'
Week 3 (1st February)

Paul de Font-Reaulx (Trinity College)

'Evidentialism and Why There Ain't No Such Thing as A Computationally Free Lunch'
Week 4 (8th February) Kiril Maltsev (St. Catherine’s College) 'Vacuum fluctuations in Quantum Field Theory, and Nothingness'
Week 5 (15th February) Christopher Benzenberg (St. Cross College) 'The Moral Fiction: Solving a Metaethical Dilemma'
Week 6 (22nd February) Aglaia von Götz (Merton College) 'A desideratum for a theory of definite descriptions'
Week 7 (1st March) Sara Chan (Blackfriars Hall) 'The Minority Mind: A Theory of Mental Disability and Disorder'
Week 8 (8th March)

Beatriz Santos (Lincoln College)

Richard Roth (New College)

'Armchair Modality'

'Abominable Junk'


Week 1 

No seminar


Week 2 

No seminar


Week 3 (26th October)

Kuizhi (Lewis) Wang (Hertford)

James Matharu (New)

'The Value of Authorial Connectedness'

'(Un)Natural Violation: The Human Forms and Poe's `Spirit of Perverseness''

Week 4 (2nd November)

Joseph Borges-Santos (Keble)

Christopher Benzenberg (St. Cross)

'Towards Internalism about Reasons as Such'

'Oops!... I did the right thing: The Moral Worth of Actions'

Week 5 (9th November)

Sasha Lawson-Frost (Keble)

James Kirkpatrick (University)

'Geach on Predicative Adjectives'

'The Acquisition of Generics'

Week 6 (16th November)

Joseph Chapa (Magdalen)

Daniel Kodsi (Balliol)

Ruby Shao (Exeter)

'A New Moral Equality of Combatants'

'Causation, Harm and the Non-Identity Problem'

'Not Moral Vagueness, but Mere Ignorance'

Week 7 (23rd November)

Franziska Poprawe (Exeter)

Jay Jian (Balliol College)

'Normativity & Reasoning'

'The Rational Irrelevance of Desire Strength'

Week 8 (30th November)

Sebastian Liu (Merton)

Joshua Pearson (Trinity)

'Fragile Epistemic States and Akrasia'

'Moral Contingent Epistemology'

Week 1 (Tuesday 24th April)

Thomas Mitchell (Worcester College)

Sebastian Liu (Merton College)

"Irrationality of Self-Doubt"

"A Fitch-like Paradox for Weak-KK"

Week 2 (4th May)

William Gildea (Keble College)

C. M. Lim (Corpus Christi College)

"A puzzle about killing"

"The communicative constraint on civili disobedience"

Week 3 (11th May)

Rhys Southan (Exeter College)

Sarah Chan (Blackfriars Hall)

"Why we can't appeal to the universe to explain the value of creating new lives"

"Teleological potentiality for rational agency as the grounds for moral rights"

Week 4 (18th May)

Weng Kin San (St Hilda's College)

Kieran Marray (St Catherine's College)

"Generalising Fitch's result"

"What Can Epistemology Do For Economics? The Radical Implications of Foundationalism in Economic Modelling"

Week 5 (25th May)

Simon Wimmer (Warwick)

Oliver Hurcrum (Worcester College)

"Knowledge-first belief: counterfactuals and variables"

"Composition as Identity and Temporal Counterpart Theory"

Week 6 (1st June)

Milena Bartholain (Regent's Park)

Raphaël Millière (Magdalen College)


"Are there degrees of self-consciousness?"

Week 7 (8th June)

Sean Costello (Blackfriars Hall)

Sasha Arridge (St Anne's College)

"The Difficulty of Aristotle’s ‘Connate Breath'"

"Deriving Basic Equality from Self-Respect"

Week 8 (15th June)

Alasdair Craig (Lady Margaret Hall)

Dabin Kwon (St Edmund's Hall)

"Experientialism and the problem of cognitive penetration"

"In what sense is technology a threat to Dasein? Heidegger’s philosophy of technology"