Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Oxford Companion to Food

Nine types of meat you may have never tried

Sometimes what is considered edible is subject to a given culture or region of the world; what someone from Nicaragua would consider “local grub” could be entirely different than what someone in Paris would eat. How many different types of meat have you experienced? Are there some types of meat you would never eat? Below are nine different types of meat, listed in The Oxford Companion to Food, that you may not have considered trying.

Read More
9780199539543

What exactly is intelligence?

Ask anybody that question and you will probably get a different answer every time. Most would argue that intelligence is limited to mankind and give examples of brainy people like Einstein or Newton. Others might identify it as being clever, good in exams or being smart, having a high IQ. But was Einstein particularly intelligent or Newton?

Read More
9780199364954

Does political development involve inherent tradeoffs?

For years, social scientists have wondered about what causes political development and what can be done to stimulate it in the developing world. By political development, they mean the creation of democratic governments and public bureaucracies that can effectively respond to citizens’ demands.

Read More
9780199661183_450

When tragedy strikes, should theists expect to know why?

My uncle used to believe in God. But that was before he served in Iraq. Now he’s an atheist. How could a God of perfect power and perfect love allow the innocent to suffer and the wicked to flourish? Philosophers call this the problem of evil. It’s the problem of trying to reconcile two things that at first glance seem incompatible: God and evil. If the world were really governed by a being like God, shouldn’t we expect the world to be a whole lot better off than it is?

Read More
9780199919802

Plato and contemporary bioethics

Since its advent in the early 1970s, bioethics has exploded, with practitioners’ thinking expressed not only in still-expanding scholarly venues but also in the gamut of popular media. Not surprisingly, bioethicists’ disputes are often linked with technological advances of relatively recent vintage, including organ transplantation and artificial-reproductive measures like preimplantation genetic diagnosis and prenatal genetic testing.

Read More
9780198702344_450

Recurring decimals, proof, and ice floes

Why do we teach students how to prove things we all know already, such as 0.9999••• =1? Partly, of course, so they develop thinking skills to use on questions whose truth-status they won’t know in advance. Another part, however, concerns the dialogue nature of proof.

Read More
9780199642489

Rheumatology through the ages

Today rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases affect more than 120 million people across Europe, but evidence shows that people have been suffering for many thousands of years. In this whistle-stop tour of rheumatology through the ages we look at how understanding and beliefs about the diseases developed.

Read More
9780198719427_450

The need to reform whistleblowing laws

“Why didn’t anyone in the know say something about it?” That’s the natural reaction of the public when some shocking new scandal – financial wrongdoing, patient neglect, child abuse – comes to light. The question highlights the role of the whistleblower.

Read More
9780198717522_450

The Second Vatican Council and John Henry Newman

The fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council fell two years ago in October 2012. In December next year it will be the fiftieth anniversary of the end of the Council. There is bound to be much discussion in the coming months of the meaning and significance of the Council, its failures, its successes, its misinterpretations, its distortion and exaggerations, its key seminal texts, its future developments.

Read More
9780199695102

The history of Christian art and architecture

Although basilisks, griffins, and phoenixes summon ideas of myth and lore, they are three of several fantastic beings displayed in a Christian context. From the anti-Christian Roman emperor Diocletian to the legendary Knights of the Templar, a variety of unexpected subjects, movements, themes, and artists emerge in the history of Christian art and architecture.

Read More
Backpacking with the Saints

Fire in the night

Wilderness backpacking is full of surprises. Out in the wilds, the margin between relentless desire and abject terror is sometimes very thin. One night last fall, I lay in a hammock listening to water tumbling over rocks in the Castor River in southern Missouri. I’d camped at a point where the creek plunges through a boulder field of pink rhyolite. These granite rocks are the hardened magma of volcanic explosions a billion and a half years old…

Read More
9780199685431

A Halloween horror story : What was it? Part 2

Last we left off the narrator had moved into a reported haunted boarding house. After a month of waiting for something eerie to happen, the boarders were beginning to believe there was nothing supernatural at all in the residence…

Read More
9780199973668

The anti-urban tradition in America: why Americans dislike their cities

Another election season is upon us, and so it is time for another lesson in electoral geography. Americans are accustomed to color-coding our politics red and blue, and we shade those handful of states that swing both ways purple. These Crayola choices, of course, vastly simplify the political dynamic of the country. Look more closely at those maps, and you’ll see that the real political divide is between metropolitan America and everywhere else.

Read More
Alexander the Great VSI

How much do you know about Alexander the Great?

Alexander the Great died more than two-thousand years ago, yet his name lives on as a reminder of his innumerable conquests and incredible leadership. Born in 356 bc, Alexander was tutored in his early years by Aristotle before succeeding his father Philip as King of Macedonia and the mainland of Greece. How much do you know about one of history’s greatest leaders?

Read More
9780199944552

A spike in “compassion erosion”

For over thirty years my primary specialty has been the prevention of secondary stress (the pressures experienced in reaching out to others.) During these three decades, I have experienced periods during which the situation has become more difficult for those in the healing and helping professions.

Read More
9780199947935

Monastic silence and a visual dialogue

Recently, a journalist asked me how I convinced the Poor Clare Colettine nuns, back in 2005, to let me write a book about their lives, and how I convinced them to help me in that endeavor. I explained that was not my approach. I asked the Mother Abbess if I could undertake a long-term project about their lives; I said that although I did not know the outcome, I would keep the community apprised.

Read More