Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Cook_Yablo Paradox

The television paradox

Imagine that we have a black and white monitor, a black and white camera, and a computer. We hook up the camera and monitor to the computer, and we write a program where, for some medium-ish shade of grey G.

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9780198732716

Prejudice you aren’t aware of (what to do about it)

Employment, education, healthcare, justice, housing. These are some of the central services in society because they help people live the best life they can. But it will come as no surprise to most people that access to these services and treatment at their hands differs greatly depending on whether you are a man or a woman, the way you are racialized, your sexuality, whether or not you have a disability, and so on.

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9780198777984 Boden - AI

On the Singularity, emotions, and computer consciousness

The term ‘artificial intelligence’ was coined as long ago as 1956 to describe ‘the science and engineering of making intelligent machines’. The work that has happened in the subject since then has had enormous impact. Margaret Boden is Research Professor of Cognitive Science at the University of Sussex, and one of the best known figures in the field of Artificial Intelligence. We put four common questions to her about this exciting area of research.

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9780198767039

Ten under-appreciated ancient thinkers [timeline]

The influence and wisdom from ancient philosophers like Socrates, Aristotle, and Plato is undeniable. But how well do you know the life and works of Macrina, Philo of Alexandria, or Gorgias? Although known for his work in botany, did you know Theophrastus was a pupil of Plato?

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OUP Philosophy Creast

Philosopher of the month: Bertrand Russell

Considered among the most distinguished philosophers of the 20th century, Russell’s style, wit, and contributions to a wide range of philosophical fields made him an influential figure in both academic and popular philosophy. Among his best known philosophical works, the History of Western Philosophy demonstrates the scope of Russell’s curiosity and understanding, and highlights the interrelation of seemingly disparate areas of philosophy.

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9780198755333

Believing the unlikely

We often want to know how likely something is. There seems to be close link between likelihood and belief – if something is likely, you would be justified in believing it, and if something is unlikely, you would not be justified in believing it. That might seem obvious, and the second part might seem especially obvious – surely you can’t be justified in believing something that’s unlikely to be true? I will suggest here that, sometimes, you can.

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OUP Philosophy Creast

How well do you know Thomas Hobbes? [quiz]

This May, the OUP Philosophy team honors Thomas Hobbes (April 5, 1588 – December 4, 1679) as their Philosopher of the Month. Hobbes is remembered as the author of one of the greatest of books on political philosophy ever written, Leviathan, in which he argued with a precision reached by few other thinkers.

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9780199930401

Caring about human rights: the case of ISIS and Yazidi women

Mass sexual violence against women and girls is a constant in human history. One of these atrocities erupted in August 2014 in ISIS-occupied territory and persists to this day. Mainly targeting women and girls from the Yazidi religious minority, ISIS officially reinstituted sexual slavery.

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9780198707592

How to be good

Recently philosophers and scientists have tried to identify how to make the world better by making people more likely to do good rather than evil. This same problem has also faced those interested in artificial intelligence. As Giuseppe di Lampedusa had Tancredi say in The Leopard, “If we want things to stay as they are things will have to change”… and that goes for people also!

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9780198749561

Hilary Putnam and the mind of Aristotle

Aristotle’s ideas had been dismissed in many quarters of the philosophical world as expressions of a bygone pre-scientific age. But Putnam saw through the dismissive haze to the empirically- and philosophically-respectable core of Aristotle’s philosophy: hylomorphism.

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9780199385072

A brief history of corpuscular discoveries [timeline]

Philosophers of science are in the business of explaining the special features of science, like the unifying power of scientific explanation and the wonderful sense of understanding it produces. We try to explain the amazing success of modern scientific theories, the structure of inductive inference in the science, and extract systematic positions – like realism, constructivism, and empiricism – from the evidence of theoretical success.

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OUP Philosophy Crest

Philosopher of the month: Thomas Hobbes

Hobbes is remembered as the author of one of the greatest of books on political philosophy ever written, Leviathan, in which he argued with a precision reached by few other thinkers. He was famously a cynic, holding that human action was motivated entirely by selfish concerns, notably fear of death.

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9780190264451

What is really behind Descartes’ famous doubt?

Insofar as Descartes’ philosophical project is an attempt to overcome self-doubt, it doesn’t seem successful. His original reason for self-doubt was a clash between theology and experience. It is hard to see why, if this clash gave him good reason to doubt himself, the clash between providence and freedom would not do so as well. He seems to disagree with himself about the ultimate lessons to learn from disagreement!

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OUP Philosophy Crest

How well do you know Immanuel Kant? [quiz]

This April, the OUP Philosophy team honours Immanuel Kant (April 22, 1724 – February 12, 1804) as their Philosopher of the Month. A teacher and professor of logic and metaphysics, this Enlightenment philosopher is today considered one of the most significant thinkers of all time. But how much do you really know about this Enlightenment thinker? Test your knowledge of Kant with our quiz below.

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9780198754862

Is Buddhism paradoxical?

Buddhist literature is full of statements that sound paradoxical. This has led to the widespread idea that Buddhism, like some other religions, wants to point us in the direction of a reality transcending all intellectual understanding.

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