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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

OUP Philosophy Creast

Test your knowledge of G.E.M. Anscombe

This January, the OUP Philosophy team has chosen Gertrude Elizabeth Margaret (G.E.M.) Anscombe as their Philosopher of the Month. G.E.M. Anscombe (1919 – 2001) was a British analytical philosopher best known for her contributions in the fields of philosophy of the mind, action, language, logic, and ethics. Test your knowledge of this famous female philosopher.

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No time to think

On leaving school, my advisor reminded me to always take time to think. That seemed like a reasonable suggestion, as I trudged off to teach, write, and, of course, think. But the modern academy doesn’t share this value; faculty are increasingly prodded to “produce” more articles, more presentations, more grant applications, and more PhD students.

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9780199669608

Lying, belief, and paradox

The Liar paradox is often informally described in terms of someone uttering the sentence: I am lying right now. If we equate lying with merely uttering a falsehood, then this is (roughly speaking) equivalent to a somewhat more formal, more precise version of the paradox that arises by considering a sentence like: “This sentence is false”.

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Religious belief, fundamentalism, and intolerance

Religious belief has been allied, for centuries, with fundamentalism and intolerance. It’s possible to have one without the other, but it requires a degree of self-criticism that is not easily acquired. When Calvin endorsed the execution of Michael Servetus in 1553, he justified his decision by appeal to the certainty of his own religious faith.

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10 surprising facts about atheism

Atheism is the absence of belief that God, and other deities, exist. How much do you know about this belief system? Julian Baggini, author of Atheism: A Very Short Introduction, tells us the ten things we never knew about atheism.

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Thomas Paine’s Common Sense turns 240 years old

Some writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins. Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first a patron, the last a punisher.

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OUP Philosophy Creast

Philosopher of the month: Gertrude Elizabeth Margaret Anscombe

The OUP Philosophy team have selected Gertrude Elizabeth Margaret Anscombe as their January Philosopher of the Month. Anscombe was born in Limerick, Ireland, and spent much of her education at the University of Oxford and University of Cambridge. An analytical philosopher, Anscombe is best known for her works in the philosophy of mind, action, language, logic, and ethics.

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9780199658015

Generations of asylum seekers

With this family history behind me, questions of immigration are never far from my mind. I owe my existence to the generosity of the UK in taking in generations of refugees, as well as the kindness shown by one wealthy unmarried Christian woman – who agreed to foster my father for a few months until his parents arrived, but as that never happened, becoming his guardian until adulthood.

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The traumatising language of risk in mental health nursing

Despite progress in the care and treatment of mental health problems, violence directed at self or others remains high in many parts of the world. Subsequently, there is increasing attention to risk assessment in mental health. But it this doing more harm than good?

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A world with persons but without states

Kantian ethical anarchism is ethical anti-statism. It says that there is no adequate rational justification for political authority, the state, or any other state-like institution, and that we should reject and exit the state and other state-like institutions, in order to create and belong to a real-world, worldwide ethical community, aka humanity, in a world without any states or state-like institutions.

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OUP Philosophy Creast

Test your knowledge of Baruch Spinoza [quiz]

This December, the OUP Philosophy team has chosen Baruch Spinoza as their Philosopher of the Month. The seventeenth century philosopher was seen as a controversial figure due to his views on God and religion, leading to excommunication from the Amsterdam Jewish community and his books being banned by the Church.

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White and Baker-Economics and the Virtues

The Big Picture and The Big Short: How Virtue helps us explain something as complex as the Financial Crisis

The star-studded new film The Big Short is based on Michael Lewis’s best-selling expose of the 2008 financial crisis. Reviewers are calling it the “ultimate feel-furious movie about Wall Street.” It emphasizes the oddball and maverick character of four mid-level hedge fund managers in order to explain what it would take to ignore the rating agencies’ evaluations and bet against the subprime industry—that is, their own industry.

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9780199315628 Debating Brain Drain

Debating the brain drain: an excerpt on emigration

While there has been considerable normative theo­rizing on the topic of immigration, most analyses have focused on the relation between the migrant or prospective migrant and the society she will join—issues of admission, accommodation, integration, and so forth.

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Surfing Uncertainty

Predictive brains, sentient robots, and the embodied self

Is the human brain just a rag-bag of different tricks and stratagems, slowly accumulated over evolutionary time? For many years, I thought the answer to this question was most probably ‘yes’. The most tantalizing (but least developed) aspect of the emerging framework concerns the origins of conscious experience itself.

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Talk is cheap: diverse dignities at the centre of mental disorder

It may be fairly easy to say that the dignity of a person in the domain of psychiatry should be respected. Justification is easy to find. For example, the South African Constitution proclaims ‘everyone has inherent dignity and the right to have their dignity respected and protected.’

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9780199669608

The paradoxes of Christmas

While most of you probably don’t believe in Santa Claus (and some of you of course never did!), you might not be aware that Santa Claus isn’t just imaginary, he is impossible! In order to show that the very concept of Santa Claus is riddled with incoherence, we first need to consult the canonical sources to determine what properties and powers this mystical man in red is supposed to have.

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