Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Philosophy: Eternal topics, evolving questions

Philosophers are famous for disagreeing on the issues that interest them. Is morality objective? Is the mind identical to the body? Are our actions free or determined? Some professional philosophers will say no to these questions—but an almost equal number will say yes. Moreover, empirical data bears this out.

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For the people, by the people: democracy in the US and India [excerpt]

India is the world’s largest democracy. However, despite its shared political system with the United States, India’s approach to human rights and foreign policy differs greatly from its Western counterparts.
The following excerpt from Our Time Has Come highlights the key differences between the American and Indian democratic systems.

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Going back to instrumental lessons

Three existential questions are useful to all of us: “Who am I? Where do I come from? Where am I going?” The publication of The Integrated String Player got me thinking about these questions in regards to my trajectory as a cellist. I decided to go back to school, so to speak. This is my report.

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No-impunity as a global constitutional principle

One of the fundamental principles of global law is to prohibit the impunity of those responsible for serious violations of human rights. The no-impunity principle is part of the founding principles of the global community, norms of a public nature, protecting the supreme values of the world community as a whole, including the fundamental rights of individuals and peoples.

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The 12 challenges of social work [slideshow]

The Grand Challenges for Social Work Initiative (GCSWI), spearheaded by the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare (AASWSW), represents a major endeavor for the entire field of social work. We have identified 12 of the most persistent social issues, such as homelessness, social isolation, mass incarceration, and economic inequality, as well as generating interventions that can be taken to scale in the slideshow below.

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A five-day guide to resiliency in the New Year

In a world that values busyness, it is often easy to prioritize personal responsibilities over personal fulfillment. Phrases like I wish I had the time and once things settle down justify an all-too-common postponement of happiness and self-care. In the following excerpt from Night Call, acclaimed psychologist and author Robert Wicks details a five-day guide to self-care designed to fit even the busiest of schedules.

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Catching someone by the toe

From time to time I receive questions too long for my monthly gleanings. The same happened last week. A reader wanted to know the origin of the eena, meena (or eenie, meenie) rhyme. Although not much can be said with certainty about this matter, a few facts have been established. The Internet devotes a lot of space to this “jingle.”

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The massacre at Paris

When the church bells rang out in Paris on Saint Bartholomew’s Day, 24 August 1572, they heralded a massacre. At dawn, on royal orders the Catholic civic militia assassinated the admiral Gaspard de Coligny and other Protestant leaders. Their cry that “the king wills it!” preceded thousands of killings of Protestants in cities across France during the month that followed.

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Four ways to improve your career in the New Year

With the New Year underway, many are in the process of evaluating their career trajectories for 2018. However, establishing obtainable objectives can be overwhelming if you’re unsure of your long-term goals. Using insights from An Intelligent Career, we’ve pulled together a list of ways that you can make sense of your career and set your objectives for 2018.

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Beethoven’s Ninth at the G-20

The world leaders who had gathered in Hamburg, Germany, this summer for the twelfth G-20 summit on 7 July 2017 found an unusual item on their itinerary: a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth symphony.

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Taxation and religion in 2018

2018 will be an interesting year for those concerned about the intersection of taxation and religion. Two important issues – the constitutionality of the parsonage allowance and the future of the Johnson Amendment – are primed for further controversy in the year ahead. Several months ago, Judge Crabb agreed with the FFRF that Section 107(2) is unconstitutional.

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Communication in palliative care [reading list]

Palliative care is now a cemented service offered by health care services globally, and in the United Kingdom the hospice care sector provides support to 200,000 people each year. The care given to the terminally ill, as well as their family and friends is vital in supporting individuals through what is, for most, the most challenging time of their lives. This care ranges from clinical medical practice to spiritual support, and aims to put individuals in as much comfort as is possible.

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Life after death: posttraumatic growth after the loss of a loved one [video]

Can trauma lead to positive change? Posttraumatic growth is a phenomenon experienced by those who have undergone trauma. After facing a traumatic event, those who experience posttraumatic growth endure a period of psychological struggle before eventually finding a sense of personal growth. The process can be long and difficult, and isn’t experienced by everyone who survives a traumatic event.

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What you can learn at a writing retreat

Recently I attended a writing retreat for faculty at my university. It was a three-day weekend break from email, grading and meetings. A dozen academic writers from a variety of disciplines gathered under the roof of a spacious rental home near a lake to talk about their projects, share strategies and concerns, and write for long stretches at a time.

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Global health as equity

Images of a Loa Loa worm crawling across a woman’s eye, a man’s leg swollen, unrecognizability from filariasis, a child comatose from malaria: these are the images often used to start a lecture on global health. The people suffering from these exotic maladies are undoubtedly of people of color who hail from communities and countries impoverished by a succession of geopolitical forces in direct opposition to human rights.

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Organisms as societies

In the 19th century, biologists came to appreciate for the first time the fundamentality of the cell to all life. One of the early pioneers of cell biology, Rudolf Virchow, realized that the discovery of the cell brought with it a new way of seeing the organism and described it as a ‘cell state’. In the 20th century, this metaphor fell out of favour, but recent trends in biology suggest a revival.

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