Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

A Q&A with composer Malcolm Archer

Malcolm Archer’s career as a church musician has taken him to posts at Norwich, Bristol, Wells Cathedrals, and St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. As a composer, Malcolm has published many works; his pieces are widely performed, recorded and broadcast and are greatly enjoyed for their approachable nature and singability. We spoke with Malcolm about his writing, his inspiration, and his career ambitions besides being a composer.

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Philosopher of the month: Mary Wollstonecraft [infographic]

This September, the OUP Philosophy team honors Mary Wollstonecraft (1759–1797) as their Philosopher of the Month. Wollstonecraft was a novelist, a moral and political philosopher, an Enlightenment thinker and a key figure in the British republican milieu. She is often considered the foremother of western feminism, best known for A Vindication of the Rights of […]

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The three principles of democracy [excerpt]

Whether or not true democracy can ever be achieved remains uncertain. Historian James T. Kloppenberg argues that while democracy can be defined as an ethical ideal, the practical definition of democracy is too contentious to be adopted as a political system. The following shortened excerpt from Toward Democracy analyzes three contested principles of democracy: popular sovereignty, autonomy, and equality.

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Can narcolepsy research help solve one of the greatest medical mysteries of the 20th century?

In late 1916, while the world was entrenched in the Great War, two physicians on opposing sides of the conflict started to encounter patients who presented with bizarre neurological signs. Most notably, the patients experienced profound lethargy, and would sleep for abnormally long periods of time. One of the physicians, Constantin von Economo, was at the Psychiatric-Neurological Clinic at the University of Vienna.

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A mission to Saturn and its discoveries

Cassini was the NASA-developed Saturn orbiter, and Huygens was the European-built probe that sat on-board, which would eventually descend on to the surface of Saturn’s biggest moon, Titan. Cassini will come to an end on 15th September 2017, when it makes its final approach to Saturn, diving in to the atmosphere (sending data as it goes), and finally burning up and disintegrating like a meteor.

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Strategy challenged, part 2

An overlooked aspect of the conductor’s rehearsal procedure is the precise planning of any given rehearsal and of the rehearsal trajectory, from first reading to final dress, toward the end of “peaking” at the concert.

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What do we call our children?

In the Indo-European languages, most words for “mother,” “father,” “son,” and “daughter” are very old—most (rather than all), because some have been replaced by their rivals. Thus, Latin filia “daughter” is the feminine of filius “son,” and filius has nothing to do with son, which is indeed ancient.

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What are the moral implications of intelligent AGI? [excerpt]

The possibility of human-level Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) remains controversial. While its timeline remain uncertain, the question remains: if engineers are able to develop truly intelligent AGI, how would human-computer interactions change? In the following excerpt from AI: Its Nature and Future, artificial intelligence expert Margaret A. Boden discusses the philosophical consequences behind truly intelligent AGI.

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Will the real Robinson Crusoe please stand up?

It is difficult to think of a literary narrative, other than Robinson Crusoe, that economists have so enthusiastically appropriated as part of their cultural heritage. The image of Robinson, shipwrecked, alone, and forced to decide how to use his finite resources, has become almost emblematic in the teaching of the problem of choice in economics.

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Back to physics: a reading list

Back to university means picking out the best textbooks to use for your studies. If you’re just starting out in your first year of studies or are pursuing further degree in a more specialized field, we have some great resources to explore. From the basics of fundamental physics to the intricacies of understanding light-matter interaction, this list provides the best starting point for under-graduates and post-graduates alike.

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Moses Mendelssohn’s Hebrew politics

How tolerant and diverse should a society be? Are there limits to the views that a society should accept? Can individuals from diverse backgrounds join together to contribute to the common good, and what happens when tensions arise between different groups? Given the events of 2016-2017, such questions stand at the forefront of American civic life. Questions relating to diversity and tolerance loomed large in Mendelssohn’s life.

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Racist medicine: a history of race and health

In 1999, the human genome project declared race a biological fiction with no basis in the genetic code. Despite this position, many physicians and medical scientists continue to use race in genetic studies, drug tests, and general practice. Since racial medicine persists, the question emerges: what’s the historical relationship between the medical profession and race? […]

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Which reptile are you? [quiz]

Reptiles have inspired some of the most recognizable characters in popular fiction including the gold-hoarding Smaug, the iconic dragon trio from Game of Thrones, and the mascot of Hogwarts’ most infamous house, Slytherin. How do your personality traits match up to those of our reptilian comrades? Find out which reptile you most closely resemble!

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Infrequently asked questions: The Monologic Imagination

In the online age, a tried and true method of conveying a lot of information succinctly is the “Frequently Asked Questions” portion of a webpage. In the spirit of honesty and forthrightness, we’re naming our contribution to this blog “Infrequently Asked Questions.”

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Taxing or exempting the church

Religious entities pay more taxes than many people believe. Moreover, churches and other religious organizations are treated quite diversely by different taxes and by different states. Sometimes churches and other religious entities are taxed in the same fashion as secular organizations and persons are.

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Five fascinating questions physicists are seeking to answer

From Copernicus to Einstein, the field of Physics has changed drastically over time. With each new theory, further hypotheses appear that challenge conventional wisdom. Today, although topics such as the Big Bang Theory and General Relativity are well-established, there are still some debates that keep physicists up at night. What are your thoughts on the five of the biggest current debates in Physics?

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