Past Events

Global Philosophy Graduate Workshop (Programme)

11 December 2019, 9am-5pm

Lecture Room, Faculty of Philosophy (Radcliffe Humanities)

We are delighted to announce the Programme for the Global Philosophy Graduate Workshop! Six graduate speakers from four different Faculties (Oriental Studies, Theology, DPIR, and Philosophy) will be presenting their work-in-progress research. The aim is to provide a platform for graduate students working on under-represented traditions in philosophy to present and develop their research across departmental divides, and to receive constructive feedback from a receptive audience.

REGISTRATION: Everyone is welcome to attend (lunch will be provided free of charge), but registration is required. Sign up here.

Organisers: Robin Brons, Lea Cantor, and Justin Holder

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is global-philosophy-programme-poster-1.jpeg

Global Philosophy Graduate Workshop (Call for Abstracts)

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is philim-global-phil-workshop-poster.jpeg
Philiminality Oxford invites graduate students from all faculties at the University of Oxford to present their ongoing research in non-Western or comparative philosophy at a work-in-progress workshop. The aim is to provide a platform for graduate students working on under-represented traditions in philosophy to present and develop their research across departmental divides, and to receive constructive feedback from a receptive audience.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES: Paper presentations should be between 30 and 45 minutes long, to be followed by a Q&A with attendees. Please note that presentations need not be polished or fully written out. They can be: a paper based on a thesis chapter, a close reading of a passage and preliminary interpretation thereof, or simply a self-contained paper you would like to get feedback on. If you would be interested in presenting, please email with your institutional affiliation in Oxford, a tentative title, and, if you have one, a brief abstract.

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: Sunday, 10 November 2019

Organisers: Robin Brons, Lea Cantor, and Justin Holder

Q&Tea: So you want to study non-Western philosophy?

12 November 2019, 6-7pm

Common Room, Faculty of Philosophy (Radcliffe Humanities)

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is qtea-with-grad-students.jpg

This event jointly organised with PWIP (People for Womxn in Philosophy) is a chance for students Interested in non-Western thought not explored in their curriculum to seek advice about studying non-Western Philosophy at graduate level. As we start to broaden our curriculum, four graduate students will be available to chat over tea and treats to answer questions about the study of non-Western philosophy:

Robin Brons is doing a DPhil in Philosophy, with supervisors in the Philosophy and Theology/Religious Studies departments. He is researching Madhyamaka Buddhism and Pyrrhonian septicism, and what we can learn from dialogue between them.

Lea Cantor is a DPhil Student in Philosophy, with supervisors in the Philosophy and Oriental Studies Faculties. Her primary research interests are in classical Chinese philosophy (especially the Zhuangzi), early Greek philosophy (particularly Parmenides and Heraclitus), and comparative methodology.

Sihao Chew has a Bachelor’s degree in Chinese and Master’s degree in Philosophy. Currently, he likes to think of himself as studying Chinese Philosophy in the Faculty of Oriental Studies. He employs analytic tools in logic, philosophy of science, and philosophy of language to form an interpretative framework to analyse Neo-Confucian metaphysics.

Justin Holder is reading for a DPhil in Theology and Religion. His research focuses on the Madhyamaka school of Buddhist philosophy in the context of contemporary naturalism.

Follow the event on Facebook:

South Asian Philosophy Reading Group: Aesthetics

Wednesdays on Even Weeks, 5:10-6:30pm

Ryle Room, Faculty of Philosophy (Radcliffe Humanities)


The South Asian Philosophy Reading Group jointly organised with Minorities and Philosophy (MAP) meets biweekly to read and discuss a short selection from a work by a philosopher of South Asia, ancient or contemporary. Michaelmas Term 2019 will focus on philosophers who worked in the field of aesthetics. Questions which concerned the ancient thinkers whom we will read include: What makes something, like a drama or a poem, aesthetic? How and why do we respond to literature in the way that we do? What is the nature of our aesthetic experience? Is all art pleasurable? In Week 8, we will depart from the ancient debates to read a contemporary Dalit essayist on aesthetics and social change. All faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students are welcome— no prior knowledge necessary.


Attendees are encouraged to do the readings before the meeting. If interested, please email Angela Vettikkal ( for readings.

Week 2. 23 October 2019

Selections from Ten Dramatic Forms of Dhanamjaya and Observations of Dhanika, c. 975

§4.1-4.5ab p. 157-160 in Sheldon Pollock, A Rasa Reader: Classical Indian Aesthetics. New York: Columbia University Press, 2016.

Week 4. 6 November 2019

Selections from Necklace for the Goddess of Language and Light on Passion of Bhoja, 1025-1055

§5.1-5.3, p. 115-116, and §1-12, p. 119-120 in Sheldon Pollock, A Rasa Reader: Classical Indian Aesthetics. New York: Columbia University Press, 2016.

Week 6. 20 November 2019

Selection from Mirror of Drama of Ramachandra and Gunachandra, c. 1200

§109 p. 241-242 in Sheldon Pollock, A Rasa Reader: Classical Indian Aesthetics. New York: Columbia University Press, 2016.

Week 8. 4 December 2019

D.R. Nagaraj, “Social Change in Kannada Fiction: A Comparative Study of a Dalit and Non-Dalit Classic,” in Flaming Feet and Other Essays, 232- 243. Calcutta: Seagull Books, 2011.

Follow the event on Facebook:

Comparative Methodologies Discussion Group

Tuesdays in Odd Weeks (Michaelmas Term 2019), 7-9pm

 Ryle Room, Faculty of Philosophy (Radcliffe Humanities)

Picture 2

This discussion group jointly organised with Minorities and Philosophy (MAP) aims to explore what comparative philosophy is, and how to do it. There is an increasing awareness of the value of dialogue between different traditions on a wide range of philosophical topics. However, there is a lack of consensus on what the aims of comparative philosophy are, and how it ought to be conducted.  Worries have been raised about the potential pitfalls of comparative work, such as a tendency to assume the primacy of one tradition over the other. But what would it mean to take a “balanced approach” in response to this worry? Is there an external standpoint from which we can do comparative philosophy? What, if anything, is global philosophy? The reading group will centre on four readings covering a range of traditions that will address these questions.

Readings list

Attendees are strongly encouraged to complete the readings before each meeting.

Week 1. 15 October 2019

Wimmer, Franz; et al. 2015. Symposium: How Are Histories of Non-Western Philosophies Relevant to Intercultural Philosophizing? Available at:

Week 3. 29 October 2019

Krishna, Daya. 2011. Comparative Philosophy. In Contrary Thinking: Selected Essays of Daya Krishna. Available on SOLO.

Week 5. 12 November 2019

Shun, Kwong-loi. 2009. Studying Confucian and Comparative Ethics: Methodological Reflections. Available on SOLO.

Week 7. 26 November 2019

Bello, A.G.A. 2004. Some Methodological Controversies in African Philosophy. In Kwasi Wiredu (ed.), A Companion to African Philosophy. Available on SOLO.

Organisers: Robin Brons, Lea Cantor, Sihao Chew, and Chong-Ming Lim

Follow the event on Facebook: block selected.

Body, Mind and Spirit in Early China with Lisa Raphals

Monday 22 July 2019, 4 – 5pm

Lecture Room (2nd Floor), Radcliffe Humanities Building, Woodstock Road, Oxford

Raphals event.jpg

Lisa Raphals (瑞麗) is a Professor of Chinese/Comparative Literature at the University of California, Riverside, with a focus on comparative philosophy, religion, history of science, and gender, as approaches to the cultures of early China and Classical Greece. (

This July, she will be delivering a talk on “Body, Mind, and Spirit in Early China: Perspectives from Medicine and Excavated Texts”. After Professor Raphals’ paper, there will be time for questions and discussion.


Recent debates over a perceived antimony between Chinese ‘holism’ and ‘Western’ dualism have renewed interest in questions of mind-body dualism in early Chinese thought. This talk attempts to address several problems in current discussion by turning to the evidence of medical literature and excavated texts. It argues against a problematic ‘mind-body’ binary that ignores the very separate roles of xin 心 (mind or heartmind) and shen 神 (spirit).

This paper uses medical and excavated texts to argue for a largely tripartite model of the self in early Chinese texts, at least up to the Han dynasty. In this tripartite model, the self is composed of body (shen 身, ti 體, xing 形), mind or heartmind (xin) and spirit (shen). I argue that there is a broad divergence between two views of a tripartite relation between body, mind and spirit in Warring States texts. One closely aligns mind and spirit, often in a hierarchically superior relation to the body. The other problematizes the relation between mind and spirit, and in some cases even aligns body and spirit in opposition to mind.”

[Cover Image: Lü Shoukun 呂壽琨, Zen (Chan 禪), ink on paper, 1972]

*Mini-Conference Announcement*

Queer Solidarity: Community, Minorities, and Role Models

Monday 13 May 2019

Sultan Nazrin Shah Centre, Worcester College, Oxford, OX1 2HB, UK

Queer Solidarity Cover photo

Registration is now open for a mini-Conference on ‘Queer Solidarity: Community, Minorities, and Role Models’ jointly organised the Worcester College MCR and Philiminality Oxford. The event will begin at 5pm and end at 6:30pm, followed by an optional reception until 7:30pm.

Our three speakers will discuss the issue of queer solidarity, in particular the theoretical and practical issues surrounding the place of women and ethnic minorities within the queer community, the value (if any) of community itself, and the role (if any) of queer allies and role models.

– Taz Rasul (Director of Programmes of the LGBT+ national charity Just Like Us)
will give a perspective on the importance of queer role models within society and the queer community. Her experience with schools and young people will bring a practical focus to the discussion, talking about the organisation’s mission and the in-school Ambassador Programme. She’ll also bring her perspective as a minority ethnic woman in a field which is white male-dominated but changing.
– Rebecca Duke (Rhodes Scholar, University of Oxford Department of Politics and International Relations) is an MPhil Candidate in Political Theory with an academic background in psychology and philosophy. She is an advocate for the primary prevention of gender based violence and promotes the recognition of LGBTIQ+ rights. She has worked as a policy advisor in state and federal government in Australia, focusing on family violence and mental health policy. Rebecca will present a paper on the place (if any) that the theoretical notion of intersubjective respect has to say about solidarity in the queer community, both in terms of the theoretical and practical issues regarding the place of women and ethnic minorities within the queer community.
– Jared Field (Charles Perkins Scholar, University of Oxford Mathematical Institute)
is a member of the Gomeroi clan of the Kamilaroi nation reading for a D.Phil in Mathematical Biology at Balliol as a Charles Perkins scholar. Outside his studies, he has written for the Guardian and the Oxonian review on race and queerness. He will talk about the non-neutrality of silence in the face of racism, with a focus on the Oxford queer experience.

**The event is free, but REGISTRATION is required.**
To sign up, please complete the following Google Form:

Please note that we will be raising funds for the Worcester College MCR Charity Fund, which supports local, national, and international charities — among which Just Like Us. (Please bring cash if you wish to donate!)

The mini-Conference is organized with the generous support of the Worcester College MCR.

We look forward to seeing many of you!

Sam Brustad
LGBTQ+ Co-Officer and Equality & Diversity Rep
Worcester College, Oxford

Matteo Parisi
LGBTQ+ Co-Officer and Charity Rep – Worcester College, Oxford
Executive Officer, Science and Mathematics – Philiminality Oxford

Johann Go
Executive Officer, Political Philosophy – Philiminality Oxford
Worcester College, Oxford

Lea Cantor
President – Philiminality Oxford
Worcester College, Oxford

*Symposium Announcement*

Pluralising Philosophy: Learning From the Case of Chinese Thought 

Sunday 23 June 2019

Lecture Room (2nd Floor), Faculty of Philosophy, Radcliffe Observatory Quarter 555, Woodstock Road, Oxford, OX2 6GG

pluralising phil big font cover

There are increasing calls to pluralise philosophy: to look beyond the parochial, the colonial, the exclusive. This one-day symposium jointly organised by Minorities and Philosophy Oxford and Philiminality Oxford brings together three leading philosophers to explore the tensions within “canonical”/”Western” philosophy regarding the status of “non-Western” philosophies, with a particular focus on the case of Chinese thought.

Our speakers will address a number of questions – drawing on meta-philosophical, methodological, as well as historical considerations – to shed light on some of these tensions, and identify ways of moving forward. For instance, in what sense might “Western” philosophy be deemed parochial, and how recent is this phenomenon? What forms do attempts to pluralise philosophy take, and what are their payoffs and pitfalls? Moreover, how do philosophers pluralise philosophy in ways that do not further contribute to the marginalisation of both the traditions they draw upon and other traditions which they do not engage with? What are the assumptions made or rejected by those who debate the “legitimacy” of Chinese Philosophy? What are some of the concrete ways in which Chinese thought can shed new light on problems in contemporary “Western” philosophy?

The morning session will consist of three lectures (with time for questions) by our three invited speakers:

Prof. Robert Bernasconi – “Narrowing the Philosophical Canon around 1800: The Exclusion of Chinese Philosophy in Context”: The study of the history of the formation of the philosophical canon within European Universities has gained momentum over the last few years. Scrutiny has tended to focus on the first quarter of the nineteenth century during which time there was, especially in Germany, an intense debate over the place of Indian philosophy. Here the influence of Kantian and post-Kantian philosophy and of a certain Eurocentrism in narrowing the philosophical canon is much in evidence. In this paper I shift the focus to Chinese philosophy which follows a somewhat different pattern in part because its reception into scholarly discussion had taken place somewhat earlier. By contrasting the reception of Chinese and Indian philosophy, this paper offers a broader view on how philosophy came to be understood as specifically a Western enterprise.

Prof. Carine Defoort – “The Exclusion of Chinese Philosophy: “Ten Don’ts”, “Three Represents,” and “Eight Musts””:  The legitimacy of Chinese philosophy is a thorny topic that has returned in waves during the last decades. While it has been discussed from a wide variety of viewpoints, most debates focus either on the nature and quality of early Chinese master-texts or on contemporary Chinese scholarship in the field. One side of the issue usually remains out of view: the Western philosophers themselves, who lay the burden of proof almost exclusively with the Chinese masters or scholars. Instead of adding philosophical arguments to these debates, this contribution focuses on the backside of the moon. It addresses a variety of related topics in the form of fixed formulations: the “Ten Don’ts” warn against deep-grained tendencies that have often steered the legitimacy debate and are not innocent; the “Three Represents” accommodate a threefold typology of positions rejecting Chinese philosophy; and the “Eight Musts” insists on eight points that might be more relevant for the study of the Chinese masters than the label “philosophy.”

Prof. Bryan Van Norden – “Learning from Chinese Philosophy”: When Europeans first encountered Chinese Confucians, Daoists, and Buddhists, they immediately recognized them as serious philosophers. However, this attitude changed due to the influence of imperialism and pseudo-scientific racism, so that (beginning with Kant) Chinese philosophy was dismissed and banned from academic philosophy in the West. Recently, works like my Taking Back Philosophy: A Multicultural Manifesto have challenged the status quo and demanded that we return to the cosmopolitan ideal of multicultural philosophy. This lecture provides several examples of the profound and distinct philosophical debates that existed in China on issues such as consequentialism, human nature, ethical egoism, relativism, and skepticism.

The afternoon session will bring together our three speakers in a moderated panel discussion, with plenty of time for Q&A.

*Lunch and coffee/tea will be provided free of charge, but registration is required.*

To register, follow the following link:

The Symposium is organized with the generous support of All Souls College, University of Oxford; Nanyang Technological University of Singapore; and the Aristotelian Society.

About our Speakers 

Robert Bernasconi is Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Philosophy and African American Studies at the Pennsylvania State University. He is the editor of three journals: “Critical Philosophy of Race”, “Levinas Studies”, and “Eco-Ethica”. He has written two books on Heidegger and one on Sartre, as well as numerous papers including a number that raise questions about the role of such canonical philosophers as Locke, Kant, and Hegel with the development of new forms of racism.

Carine Defoort is Professor of Sinology at the University of Leuven (KU Leuven) in Belgium. She is the editor of Contemporary Chinese Thought (Taylor & Francis, since 1997) and corresponding editor for Europe of China Review International (University of Hawaii, since 1994). She co-edited The Mozi as an Evolving Text: Different Voices in Early Chinese Thought (2013), and earlier volumes on Mencius, Xunzi, and Mozi in Dutch. Her research is focused on topics such as regicide, the power of naming, abdication, benefit, and the weighing metaphor. Another field of interest is the modern period in which early Chinese thought was interpreted, and its influence on our current understanding of the masters-texts. Research topics in this field have been debates concerning “legitimacy of Chinese philosophy,” Fu Sinian, and the modern portrayals of Mozi and Yang Zhu.

Bryan W. Van Norden is Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple Professor at Yale-NUS College (Singapore). He is also James Monroe Taylor Chair in Philosophy at Vassar College (USA), and Chair Professor in Philosophy in the School of Philosophy at Wuhan University (China). A recipient of Fulbright, National Endowment for the Humanities, and Mellon fellowships, Van Norden has been honored as one of The Best 300 Professors in the US by The Princeton Review. Van Norden is author, editor, or translator of nine books on Chinese and comparative philosophy, including Introduction to Classical Chinese Philosophy (2011), Readings in Later Chinese Philosophy: Han to the 20th Century (2014, with Justin Tiwald), Readings in Classical Chinese Philosophy (2nd ed., 2005, with P.J. Ivanhoe), and most recently Taking Back Philosophy: A Multicultural Manifesto (2017).

The Organisers,

Lea Cantor and Sihao Chew
Philiminality Oxford

Maya Krishnan and Chong-Ming Lim
Minorities and Philosophy Oxford 

*Conference Announcement*

 Curing through Questioning: Philosophy as Therapy Across Ancient Traditions and Modern Applications

Friday 1st June & Saturday 2nd June 

Worcester College, Sultan Nazrin Shah Centre, Oxford, OX1 2HB, ​United Kingdom

zen cover photo

Looking back to the ancient world, a common thread connecting a wide range of traditions is an inherent link between theoretical questioning and therapeutic practices. The aim of this Conference is twofold. First, to bridge the purported gulf between theoretical philosophy and its corresponding practical aspects either in leading a good life in general or in specific therapeutic applications. Secondly, to highlight the transformational power of philosophical practices, and to illustrate how such practices have been deeply embedded in a wide variety of traditions throughout history.

This conference calls for an interdisciplinary approach. By drawing on ideas from different academic fields that traditionally do not engage with one another—including Philosophy, Classics, Oriental Studies, Theology, and Psychology—we will tap into the cultural and historical resources necessary to examine the philosophical foundations of therapy from various perspectives. As rigorous comparative studies are starting to show, bringing together ideas from around the globe can be eye-opening, insofar as such ideas can be mutually illuminating. We thus hope to reconnect the development of therapeutic practices to their theoretical underpinnings across different cultures.

Our invited speakers are: Amber D. Carpenter (Yale-NUS College), Jessica Frazier (University of Oxford), Barbara Jikai Gabrys (Zen Master in the Hakuin-Inzan line of the Rinzai tradition; University of Oxford), Christopher Gill (University of Exeter), Livia Kohn (Boston University), Karyn Lai (University of New South Wales), Graham Parkes (University of Vienna), Graham Priest (City University of New York), and Katja Vogt (Columbia University).

To consult the full programme, see

The invited speakers’ abstracts can be found here:

To register for the Conference:

Follow this link: This will take you to the Oxford Store conference page – to register click the ‘book course’ button. The 15 pound registration fee will include coffee & tea, light refreshments and lunch on both days.

*Call for Abstracts* (The Deadline has now passed)

Looking back to the ancient world, a common thread connecting a wide range of traditions across the globe is an inherent link between theoretical questioning and the development of therapeutic practices. We welcome abstracts which address either of the following themes: 

  •   Theoretical inquiry and its implications for practical life in any ancient tradition, addressing questions such as: 
    •  What can ancient traditions across the world teach us about the impact of philosophical questioning on leading a good life?
    •  How is challenging common beliefs or apparent theoretical certainties conducive to human flourishing? 
  •       The ancient theoretical foundations of contemporary therapeutic practices, including (but not restricted to) psychotherapy, cognitive therapy, yoga, meditation, Tai-Chi, Chinese Medicine as well as traditional healing practices more generally. 

We invite abstracts from graduate students and early career researchers (within five years of completion of their degree) suitable for 20-minute presentations. Please submit abstracts as email attachments to by 1stMarch 2019. Abstracts should be submitted as .pdf files and should not exceed 500 words. Please write ‘Conference Abstract Submission’ in the subject line of your email and include your name, departmental affiliation, email address, and the title of your paper (as well as the year in which your PhD was awarded in the case of early career researchers) in your email. Abstracts should be prepared for blind review, so please ensure that your abstract is free from any identifying personal details.

The Conference is organized with the generous support of the Hinton Clarendon Fellowship, Worcester College, the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Oxford, the Marc Sanders Foundation and Minorities and Philosophy (MAP).

More information can be found on the conference website: 

The Conference Organizers

Robin Brons, Lea Cantor, Sihao Chew, Sybilla Pereira and Alesia Preite.

Trinity Term Social

Thursday 17th May at 8pm at The Grapes

We hope you’ve enjoyed our panel events this term! Do you have any feedback you would like to share with us? Do you want to know more about how to get involved? Come join the committee for a few drinks, some stimulating exchange of ideas, and the inevitable discussion of the current state of academic philosophy. As ever, we welcome your thoughts and suggestions on the mission of Philiminality!

View the Facebook event here.

Should Water Have Rights?

Tuesday 8th May at 5pm – 7pm

Lecture Room, Radcliffe Humanities Building

water rights

This panel discussion will explore the “nature” and status of water in relation to the concepts of water security and water governance. Practitioners and scholars in the fields of Geography, Law, Political Philosophy and Theology will address relevant aspects of development discourse, environmental ethics and the theory of justice.

Our confirmed speakers:

  • Alice Evatt (DPhil Candidate, Faculty of Philosophy, Oxford) will provide conceptual background about the possibility that water can have rights.
  • Prof. David Bradley (Ross Professor of Tropical Hygiene, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of London; Department of Zoology, University of Oxford) has extensive experience as a physician, communicable disease epidemiologist and zoologist in East Africa, Asia as well as the UK, which has informed his advisory roles on public health and research policy. His contribution to the panel will focus on water as an entity in relation to water security and the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Dr. Kevin Grecksch (British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, Oxford) will give a socio-legal perspective on whether water should have rights. He will argue that our relationship with water is primarily one of rights and regulations. For millennia, humans have created rights and regulations around water, either to protect it and/or to use it. Yet, by doing so we treat water merely as a property. However, recent cases in New Zealand, India and Australia have seen granting rights of personhood to rivers, i.e. rivers can act as a person in court. This could potentially hold wide-ranging consequences for how we manage water resources and how we value water in general. touch on water governance, climate change adaptation, governance of societal transformation processes, property rights and the governance of natural resources, sustainability and ecological economics.
  • Stevan Veljkovic (DPhil Candidate, Faculty of Theology and Religion, Oxford) will ask “Why rights?” and argue the following: Human rights trump – liberal order rests upon them, and no alternatives exist within the pale of Western sensibilities. Historical contingency is to thank for this consensus, although it is thought to be something natural and its arising to have been foregone. The very idea of recognizing water’s rights suggests the historical trajectory on which the order consensus lies – and its tensions.

Each speaker will speak for ten minutes. This will be followed by a moderated panel discussion and Q&A.

View the Facebook event here.

Grounding: Notions of Essence and Dependence Across Traditions

Friday 4th May at 6pm – 8pm

TORCH Seminar Room, Radcliffe Humanities Building


What is/are the logical form(s) for grounding claims? What theoretical work is grounding asked to do (what are its applications)? How diverse are the concepts of grounding? Does it make sense to gather them under one title, or are there natural distinctions to be drawn between uses in different traditions and contexts? This talk will seek to shed light on all of these questions, drawing on perspectives from Buddhist, Hindu, Greek and contemporary metaphysics.

Our panelists:

  • Ben Brast-McKie (DPhil Candidate, Faculty of Philosophy, Oxford) will present elements from a contemporary development of grounding, inspired primarily
    by Kit Fine. He will contrast relational and operational accounts of ground, focusing on the latter. He will then draw on some simple examples in order to clarify the theoretical role which grounding may aim to serve. He will conclude by situating ground within the historical development of logics for material and strict implication, comparing the corresponding accounts of propositions.
  • Prof. Michail Peramatzis (Faculty of Philosophy, Oxford) will briefly discuss passages from Aristotle’s Categories and Metaphysics, having in mind a possible objection arising from Jessica Wilson’s recent work, i.e. that there is no theoretical work to be done by any general notion of grounding. Specifically, if Aristotle thinks that there is a generic notion of priority or grounding, then he might be vulnerable to this sort of objection. He will attempt to reply to Wilson by claiming that even if Aristotle has a generic notion or priority/grounding, still there is some work (if not the whole work) to be done by it.
  • Dr Jessica Frazier (Centre for Hindu Studies; Faculty of Theology and Religion, Oxford) will consider the treatment of the idea of an ultimate ground for everything the world contains in the Vedanta school of Indian thought. After presenting how initial rough conceptions of ground led to implicit differences about what constitutes ontological dependence and independence, she will consider the way notions of substance and inherence gave way to recognition of the problematic character of ‘ontological substrate’ notions, pointing to cases in which ‘ontological ground’ was refined into something more like ‘necessary precondition’ – generating a very different ontological model of reality.
  • Prof. Jan Westerhoff (Professor of Buddhist Philosophy, Faculty of Theology and Religion, Oxford) will discuss anti-foundationalism in Madhyamaka, with a special focus on the fact that this is not just an ontological anti-foundationalism (no ultimately real things) but also a semantic anti-foundationalism (no ultimately true propositions).

Each speaker will give a concise presentation. This will be followed by a moderated panel discussion and Q&A.

View the Facebook event here.

Perspectives on Democracy

Friday 27th April 2018 at 5:30pm – 7:30pm

Seminar Room (Third Floor), Radcliffe Humanities Building

philim democracy cover

How is democracy conceived in different traditions, and how is it valued in each of them? This panel discussion will attempt to shed light on these questions, honing various strands of global intellectual history, postcolonial theory and contemporary politics.

Our confirmed panelists are:

  • Prof. Jonathan Wolff (Blavatnik Professor of Public Policy, Oxford) will consider democracy and Marxism;
  • Prof. Nicholas Bunnin (Institute for Chinese Studies, Oxford) will focus on the relevance of Chinese political philosophy (especially Xunzi) to democratic theory;
  • Prof. Karma Nabulsi (Associate Professor in Politics and International Relations, DPIR, Oxford) will discuss relevant aspects of political theory in relation to Palestine;
  • Puneet Dhaliwal (DPhil candidate, Department of Politics and International Relations, Oxford) will address democracy and (anti)Eurocentrism, and consider postcolonial inflections of Marxist theory in relation to global democratic politics.

Each speaker will give a concise presentation. This will be followed by a moderated panel discussion and Q&A.


View the Facebook event here.

Descartes and Beyond: On the Mind-Body Problem

Friday 9th March 2018 at 5pm

Seminar Room (Third Floor), Radcliffe Humanities Building

descartes event

How should we understand Descartes’ mind-body dualism? Can the scientific and technological advancements of his day shed light on his metaphysical assumptions? How did Leibniz, Stahl and Amo challenge his dualism? Who was the West African-born Anton Amo, and how did he come to play a role in key debates of the German Enlightenment?

Join us for our first panel discussion to hear responses to all of these questions. The event will gather speakers from four different universities, and engage with perspectives from the history of science, theology as well as philosophy.

  • Prof. Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra (University of Oxford) will discuss René Descartes’ (1596-1650) account of the distinction between the mind and body.
  • Prof. Hanoch Ben-Yami (Central European University) will argue that technology in Descartes’ day shaped much of his thought, including key aspects of his mind-body dualism.
  • Prof. Justin Smith (University of Paris 7 – Denis Diderot) will address German responses and reactions to Cartesian dualism, with specific reference to Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716) and Georg Ernst Stahl (1659-1734).
  • Victor Emma-Adamah (University of Cambridge) will discuss the important contributions of the West African-born Anton Wilhelm Amo (1703-1756) to the Leibniz-Stahl debates regarding the mind-body problem.

Each speaker will give a concise presentation. This will be followed by a moderated panel discussion and Q&A.

View the Facebook event here.

Launch Party

Join us on Thursday 1st February at 7:30 pm to celebrate our launch at The Grapes, Oxford. Come and meet the committee for a few drinks, some stimulating exchange of ideas, and discuss the current state of academic philosophy. We welcome your thoughts and suggestions on the mission of Philiminality!

Past Events at Philiminality Cambridge:

A Meta-philosophical Discussion on Form, October 2017

This talk gathered speakers from four different faculties, covering thinkers from three continents and spanning 2500 years. How can we use form to achieve our philosophical goals? How have aphorisms and fragments been used in different philosophical traditions? What makes all of this work philosophical? Would these thinkers have used Twitter?

Conceptions of human nature from Latin America to the Middle East, March 2017

What does being part of nature mean for humanity, and for how we approach the environment? Can we both be part of the world and remove ourselves from it in thinking about it? What ethical issues arise from our relationship to nature?

Essence and Existence from Antiquity to ModernityFebruary 2017

This panel discussion explored the distinction between essence and existence from Antiquity (especially Aristotle) through to the Twentieth-Century (in e.g. French existentialism). Questions of translation and transmission were also considered, honing philosophical traditions in Ancient Greek, Latin, Persian, Classical Arabic and French.

Ancient conceptions of being and becoming in India, China and Greece, November 2016

What is the nature of ultimate reality according to philosophies in ancient China, India, and Greece? Dr Barua and Dr Hedley of the Divinity Faculty, Prof. Betegh of the Classics Faculty, and Prof. Sterckx of the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies discussed the concepts of unity, being and becoming in the global ancient context.

Perspectives on Existentialism, October 2016

An inaugural event which explored the seemingly disparate perspectives on existentialism of a theologian, an expert on Twentieth-Century French thought, and postgraduate students researching feminism and post-colonialism.