Posts Tagged ‘Oxford’

A Renaissance in Economics by Simon Mee

In academia, economics, North America, social sciences, universities on June 6, 2013 at 20:23

From: A Renaissance in Economics by Simon Mee, Adbusters,

For, in its current form, the economics curriculum at Oxford and other Anglo-Saxon universities is far too detached from reality. Demand curves, utility maximization equations and abstract mathematical models serve only to distort the worldview of undergraduate students.

Why does this matter? It is simple. Oxford in particular has a firm grip on the British establishment. These bright young things will soon be entering the top echelons of corporate, finance and government circles. And as soon as they step into those offices, the same tired way of thinking about economics will perpetuate.

Oxford University has a proud history. Look at the origins of Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE), for instance, a course that schooled generations of leading politicians. The course traces its origins back to 1920, a time when economics was studied closely alongside its two brothers, politics and philosophy. Now, however, PPE students study the subject in complete isolation. There is little, if any, overlap with its erstwhile siblings.

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Reposted with permission from: Adbusters


A Romp Through the Philosophy of Mind with Marianne Talbot

In audio, humanities, philosophy, theory on March 21, 2013 at 12:28

From: A Romp Through the Philosophy of Mind with Marianne Talbot, University of Oxford Podcasts,

The mind is a fascinating entity. Where, after all, would we be without it? But what exactly is it? These days many people believe the mind simply is the brain. Descartes would have disagreed profoundly. He recommended a dualism of substance. Modern philosophers are again finding various forms of dualism attractive because the problems with physicalism are so intractable. One such problem is whether the mind, like the brain, is located in space (specifically inside the head). But does philosophy have anything sensible to say about the mind? Surely today it is scientists we should be listening to? Come and find out why this is – and always will be – false.

Marianne Talbot was thrown out of school at 15. She came back to education at 26 when she took an Open University Foundation course during which she discovered philosophy. Transferring to London University Marianne took First Class Honours then went to Oxford University to do graduate work. She taught for Pembroke College, Oxford from 1987 – 1990, for Brasenose College, Oxford from 1990-2000, and has, since 2001, been director of studies in philosophy at Oxford University’s Department for Continuing Education. Two of Marianne’s podcasts (A Romp Through the History of Philosophy, and The Nature of Arguments) have been global number one on iTunes U. Her podcasts have received over 3 million downloads.

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Reposted with permission from: University of Oxford Podcasts

The Difficult Art of Prose by Thomas Wright

In academia, Europe, history of art, literature, universities, writers on November 1, 2012 at 14:00

From: The Difficult Art of Prose by Thomas Wright, The Oxonian Review,

Wilde made another extravagant advance at Oxford—in the art of English prose. It was Walter Pater, the Brasenose Classics tutor, and sinless master of purple aesthetic prose, who influenced him in this context, as in so many others. “Why do you always write poetry?” the diffident don asked the Magdalen undergraduate at their first meeting, “Why do you not write prose? Prose is so much more difficult”. Wilde later confessed that he “did not quite comprehend what Mr. Pater really meant,” having always supposed, from his reading of Carlyle and Ruskin, that prose sprang “from enthusiasm rather than from art. I did not [know],” he admitted, “that even prophets correct their proofs.” “And it was not,” he remembered, “until I carefully studied [Pater’s own] beautiful and suggestive essays on the Renaissance that I fully realised what a wonderful self-conscious art the art of English prose-writing really is. Pater’s essays became to me ‘the golden book of spirit and sense, the holy writ of beauty’.”

Pater’s Studies in the History of the Renaissance (1873)— the book that, as Wilde famously remarked, had “such a strange influence over [his] life”—contains essays on philosophers, poets, and artists of the Renaissance such as Leonardo, Botticelli, and Michelangelo. Pater enters into a work of art imaginatively, elucidating the impression it makes on him and defining its especial character. He calls this the “true truth” about an artwork, next to which the factual truths concerning its production and history are insignificant. Pater developed a distinctive impressionistic, and unashamedly subjective style, in which he could at once convey these ‘true truths’, vividly evoke the works of art under discussion, and also celebrate the ecstasy of the “aesthetic experience”, art offering, in his view, a heightened form of sensual and spiritual pleasure rather than moral or intellectual instruction. The baroque prose poems Pater carved with such fastidious care were aimed at a cultivated general readership, rather than at scrupulous Oxford scholars, who were not slow to point out their inaccuracies.

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Reposted with permission from: The Oxonian Review

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