Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Scientific Testimony

Pursuing deliberative democracy through scientific testimony

Science skepticism is a central threat to deliberative democracy. Generally speaking, scientific investigations based on collaboration between scientific experts are far more reliable than individual efforts when it comes to finding the truth about complex matters. So, since public deliberation is better off when it rests on science, deliberative democracy requires a reasonably high degree of public uptake of science communication.

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Analysis

The return of Humpty Dumpty: who is the ultimate arbiter of meaning?

In philosophy of language, as well as in many court opinions (e.g., Liversidge v. Anderson, 1942), Humpty Dumpty is held up as an example of how not to think about meaning. Contrary to his claim that the meaning of his words is determined solely by his intentions, there is broad agreement that what words mean is not solely up to us—we can change their meanings over time, but that requires a group effort, and something like consensus.

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Analysis

Delegitimising “reverse racism”

“Affirmative action? That’s just reverse racism!” We’ve all heard claims like this; the term “reverse racism” used to attack some progressive project. If you’re anything like me, something about it strikes you as fundamentally misguided.

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The Rules of Rescue

When can you refuse to rescue?

At what point are you morally permitted to refuse to rescue distant strangers? How much must you give over the course of your life? Theron Pummer explores these extremely difficult questions.

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Why We Hate: Understanding the Roots of Human Conflict

Why we hate (and whether we can do something about it)

Human nature is a paradox. On the one hand, thanks to our evolution in the five million years since we left the jungle, we are a highly social species. On the other hand, as the last centuries show only too well, we can be truly hateful towards our fellow human beings—on a group level, war, and on an individual level, prejudice.

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One True Logic

Infinite potential: logic, philosophy, and the next tech revolution

About a century ago, then, our world was transformed by a logical revolution, which may broadly be called philosophical. This transformation was the key to the technological advances of the past century. What about today’s logic? Could current advances in logic or its philosophy lead to the sort of computer-driven technological change we’ve seen in the past hundred years?

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Epiphanies: An Ethics of Experience

Epiphanies: an interview with Sophie Grace Chappell

Sophie Grace Chappell is Professor of Philosophy at the Open University, UK, and her new book “Epiphanies: An Ethics of Experience” has just been published by OUP. In this interview, Sophie speaks with OUP Philosophy editor Peter Momtchiloff on exploring the concept and experience of epiphanies.

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Perspectival Realism

Public trust in model-based science: moving beyond the “view from nowhere”

Never more than during the COVID-19 pandemic, the public has been reminded of the importance of science and the need to trust scientific advice and model-based public health policy. The delicate triangulation among scientific experts, policymakers, and the public, which is so central to fight misinformation and mistrust, has shone a light on a well-entrenched “view from nowhere” that science is often identified with. Why trust experts and their model-based policy anyway?

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Saving Animals, Saving Ourselves Why Animals Matter for Pandemics, Climate Change, and other Catastrophes

Why does justice for animals matter?

Recent health and environmental crises have taught us that our lives are increasingly connected. Many of us now appreciate pursuing health and climate justice requires pursuing social and economic justice too. And in the same kind of way, I believe, pursuing justice for humans requires pursuing justice for animals too.

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