Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

The Mysterious Case of the Disappearing Existentialist

At the end of the second world war, Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre launched the “existentialist offensive,” an ambitious campaign to shape a new cultural and political landscape. The word ‘existentialism’ was a popular neologism with no clear meaning. They wanted to profit from its media currency by making their philosophy its definition. Sartre’s talk “Existentialism is a Humanism” was an instant legend.

Read More

Philosopher of The Month: William Godwin [timeline]

This October, the OUP Philosophy team honours William Godwin (1756–1836) as their Philosopher of the Month. Godwin was a moral and political philosopher and a prolific writer, best-known for his political treatise ‘An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice’ and ‘Things as they were or Caleb Williams’, a political allegorical novel.

Read More

It Keeps Me Seeking

Sometimes spouses will look back on the time of their getting to know one another and say, half-jokingly, that on a given occasion one was putting the other to the test.

Read More

Oxford Think Festival: 10th – 18th November 2018

Oxford University Press is delighted to once again partner with Blackwell’s Oxford to host a weekend of talks and discussions. After three successful years as the Oxford Philosophy Festival, the event returns this year as the Oxford Think Festival.

Read More

How well do you know Arthur Schopenhauer? [quiz]

This September, OUP Philosophy honors Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 – 1860) as the Philosopher of the Month. Schopenhauer was largely ignored by the academic philosophical community during his lifetime, but gained recognition and fame posthumously.

Read More

Dignified debates: a better way to argue about politics

Rebecca Roache expressed a common feeling when in 2015 she blogged, “I am tired of reasoned debate about politics.” Many people today find arguments unpleasant and useless. That attitude is both sad and dangerous because we cannot solve our social problems together if we know that we disagree but do not understand why. Luckily, arguments can help us accomplish a lot even in extreme cases.

Read More

Consent on campus [podcast]

As students head back to university to start their fall semester, the conversation of consent will no doubt surround them on campus. But what can actually be defined as consent? Where do students learn what consent actually means? From the time of adolescence, students are taught the notion of consent, which impacts how they view the term in their later life.

Read More

Not your grandmother’s women’s lib movement: Femen’s uncivil disobedience

Oksana Shachko died on 23 July 2018. She co-founded the feminist socialist collective Femen in her native Ukraine ten years ago, to fight against patriarchy’s three central forms—dictatorship, the sexual exploitation of women, and established religion. One of Femen’s first protests was a guerrilla theater performance protesting sexual harassment at the university.

Read More

What would Margaret Cavendish say?

Margaret Cavendish (1623-1673) was a philosopher, poet, essayist, and fiction writer, and she had opinions. Lots of them, on topics from the cause of thunder, to the qualities of a good book translator, to the value of diverse opinions themselves (her assessment on this last point: “Several Opinions, except it be in Religion, do no harm.”).

Read More

Fake news: a philosophical look at biased reasoning [excerpt]

In the search for moral truth, when we learn what is “right,” we in turn learn what is “wrong.” But how can we know whether our conclusions are sound, or the result of biased reasoning? In the following shortened excerpt from On Truth, Simon Blackburn examines how our minds move, and questions whether or not we’re capable of seeking out “truth.”

Read More

The dilemma of ‘progress’ in science

Most practicing scientists scarcely harbor any doubts that science makes progress. For, what they see is that despite the many false alleys into which science has strayed across the centuries, despite the waxing and waning of theories and beliefs, the history of science, at least since the ‘early modern period’ (the 16th and 17th centuries) is one of steady accumulation of scientific knowledge. For most scientists this growth of knowledge is progress. Indeed, to deny either the possibility or actuality of progress in science is to deny its raison d’être. 

Read More

How well do you know Saint Thomas Aquinas? [quiz]

This August, the OUP Philosophy team honours Saint Thomas Aquinas (1224/5-1274) as their Philosopher of the Month. Aquinas is a well-known figure in theology and his ideas are becoming increasingly studied within the discipline of philosophy. His work on Aristotle and his two major texts Summa contra Gentiles and Summa Theologiae have gained him the reputation of being one of the greatest philosopher-theologians of his time.

Read More

Philosopher of the month: Saint Thomas Aquinas [timeline]

This August, the OUP Philosophy team honours Saint Thomas Aquinas (1224/5-1274) as their Philosopher of the Month. The Italian philosopher, theologian, and Dominican friar is regarded by many as the greatest figure of scholasticism. Thomism and Neo-Thomism are both popular schools of thought related to the philosophical-theological ideas of Aquinas.

Read More