Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Philosophers don’t often write about the heart

The Heart and Its Attitudes illuminates interpersonal phenomena that are as local and commonplace as heartfelt connections and their rupture between friends and lovers, on the one hand, or as nationally or internationally significant as the emotional injuries of racial and gender oppression and war, on the other.  It is a work of philosophy that aims for rigor and analytical depth, but one that is unusual in its relevance to so much of ordinary life.

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Awkward? We’d better own it

We live in a golden age of awkwardness. Or so we’re told, by everyone from The Washington Post to Modern Dog Magazine. But we always have. A 1929 Life Magazine contributor writes, “These are awkward times, and I sympathize with the teashop waitress who approached a customer from behind and said brightly, ‘Anything more sir, I mean madam; I beg your pardon sir.’” What’s new isn’t awkwardness itself, but our upbeat attitude towards it; headlines tell us that post-Covid, “We’re all socially awkward now,” and public health campaigns urge us to “embrace the awkward” and talk openly about issues like mental health.

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Beyond God and atheism

One of the most remarkable findings of recent science is that the fundamental constants of nature appear to be fine-tuned for the existence of life. Some think the fine-tuning of physics points to a God, who set the numbers to ensure life comes about. Others think it points to a multiverse: if there are enough universes with enough variety in their laws of nature, then it becomes statistically likely that at least one with be right for life. I think there are big problems with both these options, and we may need more radical solutions.

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Title cover of "Understanding Human Time", edited by Kasia M. Jaszczolt, published by Oxford University Press

Flow of time: reality or illusion?

Real time of space-time is one of the dimensions on which we comprehend and describe reality. Time neither flows, nor flies, or drags on; it doesn’t run out and is not a commodity that can be wasted.

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Title cover of "Aesthetic Dimensions of Modern Philosophy" by Andrew Bowie, published by Oxford University Press

The art of philosophy

The “philosophy of art” in Anglo-American analytical philosophy has had barely any influence on the main epistemological, ethical, and metaphysical concerns of that philosophy.

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Title cover of "Analysis" journal, published by Oxford University Press

Should animals have the right to vote?

Suppose it were suggested that animals’ interests would be even better protected if we recognized a right of political participation to animals. One way to do that would be to have human representatives cast votes on behalf of animals with respect to different legislative proposals.

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Title cover for "Camus's The Plague: Philosophical Perspectives" edited by Peg Brand Weiser, published by Oxford University Press

Pandemic? What pandemic?

Three months after the official US government “end” of three years of monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic that took over 1.1 million American lives, we are back to “new normal.”

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"Language, Science, and Structure: A Journey into the Philosophy of Linguistics" by Ryan M. Nefdt, published by Oxford University Press

Real patterns and the structure of language

There’s been a lot of hype recently about the emergence of technologies like ChatGPT and the effects they will have on science and society. Linguists have been especially curious about what highly successful large language models (LLMs) mean for their business.

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