Inference to the Loveliest Explanation?

November 3, 2009

David Hume statue, Edinburgh
This week, we have Dominic Hall of St Hilda’s College, and SocSoc Secretary, talking about:

Why grue isn’t lovely

The old problem of induction has puzzled philosophers since Hume, and with Goodman’s development of the ‘new problem’ can we have any basis to make inductive inferences at all. In this talk I’ll explain the new problem and then outline my theory as to how it can be avoided, using the technique of Inference to the Loveliest explanation.

Date: Wednesday of 4th week // November 4th, 2009
Time: 2000-2200
Venue: Canada Room, St Hilda’s College (ask at the lodge if you cannot find it)

You can get membership at the meeting. It’s £2 for a meeting’s worth of wine, £5 for a term’s worth, and £10 for a lifetime’s right to imbibe.

I hope to see you on Wednesday.

Nakul Krishna
President, Oxford Socrates Society


Socrates, tutor?

October 26, 2009

Socrates teaching

First meeting of Michaelmas Term: the 28th of October at 8 pm in the Fraenkel Room in Corpus Christi College. 

Nakul Krishna, Corpus Christi College, will be talking about…


Why Socrates would make a lousy Oxford tutor (and not just because he was smelly)

The Socratic method — learning by question and answer — is often taken to be the appropriate model for the Oxford tutorial system. But is this right? With its emphasis on testing the person rather than the philosophical position, Socrates’ alarming penchant for passing off implausible theses off onto his callow young interlocutors, and potential allegations of what we might now call sexual harassment, one wonders if the model is quite the right one for tutors to aspire to…

Meet you there!

15th of June, Film Showing of ‘Waking Life’

June 8, 2009

On Monday, the Society will be screening ‘Waking Life‘, a film about someone who has a dream, with dramatic consequences. Or possibly no consequences. It definitely involves talking about philosophy, including such highly-esteemed isms as existentialism, situationism, and post-humanism.

The film will be shown in Pembroke college at 8.00, in the Boro room, and wine will be served, as usual. Following the film, we will talk about what it all means, and any thoughts or non-thoughts stimulated by it.

21st May: How do we know what we know?

May 10, 2009

The Society’s next meeting will be held on  Tuesday 19th EDIT: Thursday 21st (4th week), in the Old Law Library, Magdalen college, on the topic:

“How do we know what we know?”kant

Is the way we know about the world ‘distorted’ by the limitations of our mental faculties?

We see the world in a limited way because of the limitations of our eyes – we don’t see the full range of colours, we can only see objects at a macroscopic level, only from one angle, only relative to a source of illumination etc.

Can an analogy by drawn from our optic systems to our cognitive systems?

Thursday 7th: Philosophy and Society

May 5, 2009

Our first meeting this term is at 7.30, Thursday the 7th of May, in the Old Law Library, Magdalen College.

In this meeting, held jointly with the PPE Society, will discuss the relationship between philosophy and the society it arises in.


How are philosophers conditioned? Do certain theoretical positions reflect certain sorts of society or certain sorts of social positions? What is the role of economics, politics, demographics, linguistics, and culture?

Philosophy is often supposed to deal with timeless a priori truths. But if its subject-matter is timeless, then why does it change so much over time? Can an understanding of its relationship to the rest of society help to answer this question?

What are the implications if it does? If philosophy reflects society, then can we adopt any philosophy as true without implying the superiority of a certain society? If we can’t, should we care?

The meeting will begin with a short talk suggesting a link between changes in mainstream philosophy of mind and changes in the dominance of difference social classes. After that the discussion will be open to all and our topics will be limited only by where the argument leads us!

Wine will be served.

Meetings This Term

March 18, 2009

Term is over. No meetings for a while.