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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Philosopher of the month: Sir Karl Raimund Popper [timeline]

This August, the OUP Philosophy team honours Sir Karl Raimund Popper (1902–1994) as their Philosopher of the Month. A British (Austrian-born) philosopher, Popper’s considerable reputation comes from his work on the philosophy of science and his political philosophy. Popper is widely regarded as one of the greatest thinkers of the twentieth century.

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What sorts of things are the things we believe, hope, or predict?

It is part of our everyday life that we ascribe beliefs, desires, hopes, claims, predictions and so on to other people and ourselves, and the ascription of such propositional attitudes, as they are called, generally takes a canonical form, of the sort John believes that Macron is president of France, Mary hopes that Macron is president of France, and Joe predicted that Macron would become president of France.

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I Don’t Recommend Parenthood

Recently a friend of mine expressed an aversion to the screaming kids who were attending a summer camp in classrooms close to her campus office. With a laugh, she said she was happy to have further support for her choice not to have children.

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On the value of intellectuals

In times of populism, soundbites, and policy-by-twitter such as we live in today, the first victims to suffer the slings and arrows of the demagogues are intellectuals. These people have been demonised for prioritising the very thing that defines them: the intellect, or finely reasoned and sound argument. As we celebrate the 161st birthday of Bernard Shaw, one of the most gifted, influential, and well-known intellectuals to have lived, we might use the occasion to reassess the value of intellectuals to a healthy society and why those in power see them as such threats.

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How well do you know Hegel [quiz]

This July, the OUP Philosophy team honors Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770–1831) as their Philosopher of the Month. Although Hegel was a hugely successful philosopher in his own right–described as “the most famous modern philosopher” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe–his legacy remains the influence he had on later philosophers.

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Attention, or how to organize the mind

Sometimes our mind is a mess. Thoughts and experiences pile up, and our mind flips from one thing to another: I need to buy milk, I have an important meeting tomorrow, and, no, the bills have still not been paid; it’s my friends birthday, the face of that person reminds me of someone I met in college, and the advertisement blaring from the loudspeakers tells me that a new shampoo will change my life.

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Pride 2017: a reading list

Happy Pride Month from the OUP Philosophy team! To celebrate the LGBT Pride 2017 happening in cities across the world, including the New York City and London Prides this summer, OUP Philosophy is shining a spotlight on books that explore issues in LGBTQ rights and culture.

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Philosopher of the month: Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel [timeline]

This July, the OUP Philosophy team honors Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770–1831) as their Philosopher of the Month. Although Hegel was a hugely successful philosopher in his own right–described as “the most famous modern philosopher” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe–his legacy remains the influence he had on later philosophers.

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Unity without objecthood, in art and in natural language

What makes something we see or something we talk about a single thing, or simply a unit that we can identify and that we can distinguish from others and compare to them? For ordinary objects like trees, chairs, mountains, and lakes, the answer seems obvious.

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How well do you know Swami Vivekānanda [quiz]

This June, the OUP Philosophy team honors Swami Vivekānanda (born Narendranath Datta, 1863–1902) as their Philosopher of the Month. Born in Calcutta under colonial rule, Vivekānanda became a Hindu religious leader, and one of the most prominent disciples of guru and mystic Śri Rāmakṛṣṇa.

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Abstract objects: two ways of introducing them, in the core and the periphery of language

One of the most striking features of natural language is that it comes with a wealth of terms for abstract objects, or so it seems, and to a great extent they can be formed quite systematically and productively. First, we can form nominalizations from expressions that normally serve as predicates, for example adjectives, and the nominalizations can be used, it seems to refer to abstract objects.

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9 facts about hermeneutics

Hermeneutics is the art of understanding and of making oneself understood. But what does ‘hermeneutics’ mean? Where did the term originate and how is it used in day-to-day life? Jens Zimmermann, author of Hermeneutics: A Very Short Introduction, tells us 9 things everyone should know about hermeneutics.

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Philosopher of the month: Swami Vivekānanda [timeline]

This June, the OUP Philosophy team honors Swami Vivekānanda (born Narendranath Datta, 1863–1902) as their Philosopher of the Month. Born in Calcutta under colonial rule, Vivekānanda became a Hindu religious leader, and one of the most prominent disciples of guru and mystic Śri Rāmakṛṣṇa.

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Wilfrid Sellars and the nature of normativity

Wilfrid Sellars would have been 105 this month. He stands out as one of the more ambitiously systematic philosophers of the last century, with contributions to ethics, metaphysics, epistemology, and philosophy of language, alongside incisive historical examinations of Kant, and several others. We can read him as a philosopher in a classical mode, always in conversation with figures from the past.

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