Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Debating the right to die

There are so many reasons why we value and promote choice and autonomy. The country and news media quite rightly protests with outrage when bad things happen to good people as their lives and civil liberties are destroyed by acts of terrorism and grievous crimes. But what about all those many people who are living a life in situations they didn’t want or anticipate?

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Managing stress: mind

Techniques such as mental imagery and meditation can be used to decrease your stress response. In mental imagery, relaxation is achieved by a few minutes of deep focus on a peaceful scene, often somewhere in nature. In meditation, relaxation is achieved by a few minutes of mental repetition of a word or phrase, usually in conjunction with relaxed breathing.

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Misogyny, cheap sweets, and daydreams

Some of the most startling expressions of misogyny over the last century have been directed at girls and young women enjoying themselves. By the 1900s women were reading novels in large quantities. Heavy, three-volume works of fiction were disappearing in favour of single volumes in light bindings: paper covers were beginning to sport colourful, inviting designs.

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Why banning the Jehovah’s Witnesses won’t work for Russia

The Supreme Court of Russia has a decision to make this week about whether to label the Jehovah’s Witnesses an extremist organization and liquidate its assets. This act would transform the religious community into a criminal network, and make individual Witnesses vulnerable to arrest simply for speaking about their faith with others.

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Still sinning, part 2

Today I am beginning where I left off last week. As we have seen, Old Icelandic sannr meant both “true” and “guilty.” Also, the root of this word can be detected in the word for “being” (Latin sunt, etc.).

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The best of all possible worlds

Voltaire is known today for Candide, a short novel published in 1779. The young hero Candide travels the world in a tale littered with rape, murder, pestilence, enslavement, and natural catastrophe. Amidst this apocalyptic nightmare, Candide’s tutor Dr Pangloss maintains a philosophical detachment, arguing against all evidence to the contrary that we live in the best of all possible worlds.

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Political intermediation for just sustainabilities

Present understanding of the relationship between environmental conservation and social justice – the two of the greatest challenges of our times – is fraught with multiple confusions, especially in the context of developing countries.

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Conor Gearty speaks to the Oxford Law Vox about human rights

In this episode of the Oxford Law Vox podcast, human rights expert Conor Gearty talks to George Miller about human rights in the UK. To hear the full interview with Conor Gearty, and to listen to a bonus podcast about his career and background, visit the Oxford Law Vox on SoundCloud.

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How green became green

The original Earth Day Proclamation in 1970 refers to “our beautiful blue planet,” and the first earth day flag consisted of a NASA photo of the Earth on a dark blue background. But the color of fields and forests prevailed, and today when we think of ecology and environmentalism, we think green not blue.

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Why are we all so frightened?

Knowing what you should fear, and quickly recognizing the biological changes in your body that indicate fear, can save your life. This critical task is processed by a small almond-shaped structure, the amygdala, which lies deep within the bottom of the brain, not far from your ears. The amygdala receives information from many brain regions, your internal organs, and external sensory systems, such as your eyes and ears.

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The power of globalization: Singapore’s economic rise

Singapore is a controversial subject, described as “The Big Apple of Asia,” or “Disneyland with Capital Punishment.” On the one hand, there are those who admire its efficient government and material accomplishments; on the other hand, there are those who deplore its antipathy to freedom of expression. We can all ask how much an authoritarian government stifles the creativity necessary to nourishing a productive society.

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The modern marvel of medicine

So, where does the future lie in the specialty of anaesthesia? Equipment and monitoring will become more sophisticated with the ultimate aim to minimise harm to patients. It is likely that robotics will be integrated within the patient’s surgical pathway to reduce human error and optimise efficiency of care. Newer drugs will be synthesized with fewer adverse effects and complications.

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Managing stress: perspective

Stress and anxiety are often partly a result of your perspective, or how you tend to think about challenging situations you face. You can learn to regulate stress and anxiety by changing the way you think. This is because excess worry and stress often come from overestimating the danger in a situation. This overestimation is referred to by psychologists as “catastrophizing” and can take one of two forms

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French politics at the crossroads

The outcome of France’s upcoming presidential elections may be the most difficult to predict in many years. The name of the anticipated winner has changed several times over the past few months. The conservative party’s primary election ejected several seemingly credible candidates from the race. The far-right populist party Front National has become the leading party in terms of vote share at the regional elections of 2015.

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