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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Home: A Very Short Introduction

Why is home so important to us?

“Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home.” “Home is where the heart is.” These well-known expressions indicate that home is somewhere that is both desirable and that exists in the mind’s eye as much as in a particular physical location. Across cultures and over the centuries people of varied means have made homes for themselves and those they care about.

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Christmas on the radio

Back in 1944 the Archbishop of York, Cyril Garbett, wrote in the Radio Times that “the wireless and the English tongue are means by which God’s message of love and peace can spread through the world”. We may find it difficult these days to construe the BBC’s output over Christmas as taking on such a missiological flavour, but certainly in its early days Lord Reith, saw religion as one of the four principal pillars.

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What does myth have to do with the Christmas story?

There are two contrary ways of characterizing myth. By far the more common way is negative: a myth is a false or delusory belief or story. Here the aim is to expose the myth and be done with it. To take an innocuous example, the story that young George Washington was so honest that he could not deny to his father that he, the son, had chopped down the cherry tree is a myth because it never occurred.

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Cook_Yablo Paradox

The logic of unreliable narrators

In fiction, an unreliable narrator is a narrator whose credibility is in doubt – in other words, a proper reading of a narrative with an unreliable narrator requires that the audience question the accuracy of the narrator’s representation of the story, and take seriously the idea that what actually happens in the story – what is fictionally true in the narrative – is different from what is being said or shown to them.

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When is a revolution not a revolution? Edmund Burke and the new America

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) was an Irish statesman, author and orator, chiefly remembered for his championing of various causes such as Catholic emancipation, reform of the government of India and preserving the balance of the British constitution. It is commonly assumed that Edmund Burke took up incongruous positions on the American and French Revolutions…

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The paradoxical intellectualism of Gershom Scholem

Gershom Scholem (1897-1982) is widely known as the founder of the academic study of Jewish mysticism or Kabbalah. In the nearly thirty-five years since his death, Scholem’s star has continue to shine brightly in the intellectual firmament and perhaps even more brightly now than in his lifetime.

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Are we responsible for our lifestyle diseases?

Within the last couple of decades more and more research has shown a number of diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, to be associated with particular lifestyle characteristics such as smoking, lack of exercise, and over-eating. Confronted with such research, it is timely to raise questions about individual responsibility for getting those diseases (or the increased risk thereof), and to think closer about issues such as blame, stigma, and economic burdens.

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Voltaire’s love letters

Voltaire had numerous passionate affairs, and engaged in an enormous amount of private correspondence with his lovers, much of which has been kept for posterity. Providing a fascinating insight into Voltaire’s inner-most emotions, his letters give a glimpse of his friendships, sorrows, joys, and passionate desires…

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OUP Philosophy Crest

How many famous philosophy quotes do you know? [quiz]

This November, the OUP Philosophy team celebrates UNESCO’s World Philosophy Day! We’ve highlighted a selection of some of our most popular philosophy research across various disciplines, and created a quiz to test your knowledge of some of the world’s best known thinkers.

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The Yablo Paradox

Lying, tells, and paradox

The idea that many, if not most, people exhibit physical signs – tells – when they lie is an old idea – one that has been extensively studied by psychologists, and is of obvious practical interest to fields as otherwise disparate as gambling and law enforcement. Some of the tells that indicate someone is lying include:

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On Hokusai’s woodblock prints

Sometimes when looking at some piece of reality, puzzling choices have to be made when describing it as ‘one’, as ‘many’ or perhaps as neither ‘one’ nor ‘many’. Three woodblock prints of the artist Hokusai can illustrate the issue.

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