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.

If you would like to present a paper to the society please send a title and abstract of 150 words maximum to Sean Costello (sean.costello@philosophy.ox.ac.uk). Oxford DPhil Philosophy students are highly encouraged to present at the DPhil Seminar.

The society ordinarily meets on Fridays 13.00 - 14.30 in the Radcliffe Humanities Building, Ryle Room. 

Ockham Society Convenors: Sean Costello | Ockham Society Website 

Past Terms

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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"