Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

9780199689545

The literature and history of Chaucer

To read Chaucer today is, in some measure, to read him historically. For instance, when the poet tells us in the ‘General Prologue’ to the Canterbury Tales that the Knight’s crusading experiences include service with the Teutonic Order in ‘Lettow’ (i.e. Lithuania), comprehension of the literal sense or denotation of the text requires some knowledge of fourteenth-century institutions, ideas and events.

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9780199942251

Six questions with Amy DeRogatis

In her new book, Amy DeRogatis explores a bit of an untouched topic: evangelicals and sexuality. While many may think that evangelicals are anti-sex, DeRogatis argues that this could not be further from the truth. We sat down with the author of Saving Sex: Sexuality and Salvation in American Evangelicalism to learn more about her research into the topic.

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9780199925193

Ivan Pavlov in 22 surprising facts

An iconic figure of 20th century science and culture, Ivan Pavlov is best known as a founding figure of behaviorism who trained dogs to salivate at the sound of a bell and offered a scientific approach to psychology that ignored the “subjective” world of the psyche itself. While researching Ivan Pavlov: A Russian Life in Science, I discovered that these and other elements of the common images of Pavlov are incorrect.

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Understanding placebo effects: how rituals affect the brain and the body

In a typical prehistoric scene, say in 4000 BC, a wounded warrior is dragged to the shaman tent. The respected shaman takes a look at the wound and assures the warrior that he will be healed with the proper prayers and ritual dances. He then prepares a strong-smelling mixture of herbs and seeds, and as the whole tribe chants rhythmically around the campfire [...]

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9780198702696 - Philosophy Bites Again

World Philosophy Day reading list

World Philosophy Day was created by UNESCO in 2005 in order to “win recognition for and give strong impetus to philosophy and, in particular, to the teaching of philosophy in the world”. To celebrate World Philosophy Day, we have compiled a list of what we consider to be the most essential philosophy titles. We are also providing free access to several key journal articles and online products in philosophy so that you can explore this discipline in more depth. Happy reading!

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9780199606726

Luciano Floridi responds to NYROB review of The Fourth Revolution

John Searle’s review of The Fourth Revolution – How the Infosphere is Reshaping Human Reality (OUP 2014) is astonishingly shallow and misguided. The silver lining is that, if its factual errors and conceptual confusions are removed, the opportunity for an informed and insightful reading can still be enjoyed.

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El Sistem: Orchestrating Venezuela's Youth

The other side of El Sistema: Music education, discipline, and profit

The Venezuelan youth orchestra scheme El Sistema is perhaps the world’s most famous music education program today. It’s lauded as a revolutionary social program that has rescued hundreds of thousands of Venezuela’s poorest children. Simon Rattle has called it “the most important thing happening in music anywhere in the world.” Classical music education is back in vogue, now aligned with the rhetoric of social justice.

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Word Origins And How We Know Them

The ayes have it

The ayes may have it, but we, poor naysayers, remain in ignorance about the derivation of ay(e) “yes.” I hope to discuss the various forms of assent in December, and we’ll see that that the origin of some synonyms of ay(e) is also enigmatic.

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9780199336760

Put the debate about slacktivism to rest

The term slacktivism is based on a question that should never have been asked: are digital activists doing anything worthwhile, or are they mere “slacktivists,” activists who are slacking off?

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9780199898381

Slacktivism as optical illusion

Slacktivism is a portmanteau, bridging slacker and activism. It is usually not intended as a compliment. The term is born out of frustration with the current state of public discourse: signing an e-petition, retweeting a message, or “liking” something on Facebook seems too easy.

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9780199982707

Slacktivism, clicktivism, and “real” social change

Like its corollary clicktivism, slacktivism is a term that unites entrenched technosceptics and romantic revolutionaries from a pre-Internet or, more precisely, a pre-social media age as they admonish younger generations for their lack of commitment to “real” social change or willingness to do “what it takes” to make the world around them a better place.

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9780199937196

The rise of electronic cigarettes and their impact on public health

A new report from the US Centers of Disease Control and Prevention shows that use of e-cigarettes among high schools students has tripled in two years. The finding raises the question is vaping—the use of tobacco-free electronic cigarettes—an important tool for helping smokers quit or a ploy by Big Tobacco to addict another generation of young people to nicotine?

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9780199300914

What do we love about new words?

The lexicographers at Oxford Dictionaries keep watch on our collective neology and select a word—or words–of the year: a word that is both forward-looking and reflects the culture of the current year. From 2004 we’ve had chav, podcast, carbon-neutral, locavore, unfriend, refudiate, squeezed middle, the verb GIF, and selfie.

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Swanson

The future of systems neuroscience

How does the brain work? It’s a question on a lot of people’s minds these days, especially with the launch of massive new research efforts like the American BRAIN Initiative and the European Human Brain Project.

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Pagan

Chemical warfare in terrestrial flatworms

Biologically-produced toxins include some of the most interesting substances in nature. As advanced as the chemical sciences are, nothing beats nature in terms of the wide variety of structures with specific biochemical properties.

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