OUDCE Summer Schools

Come and stay in beautiful Oxford for a week and study at one of OUDCE’s summer schools

Rewley House Bedroom

Rewley House Bedroom

Rewley House is not just a place of learning. It is also a place of comfortable study bedrooms. The participants at our summer schools will usually stay will eat, drink and sleep their philosophy during the week they are here. They will have tutorials, writes essays and participate in classes. There is plenty of time for socialising and for visiting the sites of beautiful Oxford.

These are our summer schools for 2016. All have now finished but it will give you some idea of what is available. I will put up next year’s courses as soon as I have them

Philosophy of Art: Sun 17 to Sat 23 Jul 2016 (Tutor: Andrea Lechler)

People often disagree on whether a particular object or performance deserves the label ‘art’ and if so whether it is good art. What are we to make of such disagreements? Is it all just a matter of personal opinion or are there more objective standards for what constitutes (good) art? We will explore different features that have been proposed as defining characteristics of art or as reasons for valuing it: its beauty, its ability to provide us with aesthetic experiences, its expressiveness, its originality, and the fact that we can learn from it. We will discuss a wide variety of examples from visual art, literature, film and music, including art on display in Christchurch College and elsewhere in Oxford.

 An Introduction to Philosophy: Sat 23 to Sat 30 Jul 2016 (Tutor: Andrea Lechler)

 Philosophers raise questions about the fundamental nature of ourselves, the world around us, and the relationship between the two, as well as questions about how to best live our lives. They doubt common opinions and try to find answers on the basis of strict reasoning. This course will introduce you to some of the most important questions in different areas of philosophy, as well as the answers given by various philosophers. Students will also be taught basic philosophical methods and concepts. The classes will involve presentations by the tutor, group work and general discussion, with plenty of opportunity for questions.

Do We Have A Soul? Perspectives from Religion, Science and Philosophy Sat 16 to Sat 23 Jul 2016 (Tutor: Martin Ovens)

Do souls exist? Have science and secularism eliminated the soul? Why does belief in the soul persist? From Christianity and Islam to recent scientific developments, we explore ideas, arguments and theories about the nature and existence of the soul. Beginning with the Presocratics, Plato, Aristotle and Hellenistic schools, we will engage modern western philosophy and non-western traditions such as Buddhism, Daoism and Hinduism. By considering the impact of progress in sciences such as biology and neuroscience, the course will involve critical discussion of relations between philosophy, science and religion.

What Makes Us Human? Sat 30 Jul to Sat 6 Aug 2016 (Tutor: Julia Weckend)

What if anything sets us apart from other living creatures on this planet? Are we bundles of genes or a product of culture and environment, or both? If we are essentially rational then why are we so often irrational in our judgments and decisions? If we are social or moral animals why do we so often find ourselves at war or in conflict with one another? In this course we look at nine historical attempts by philosophers and thinkers to define human nature, and juxtapose these with contemporary findings in cognitive psychology and behavioural economics.

Are We Alone in the Universe? Sat 9 to Sat 16 Jul 2016 (Tutor: Martin Ovens)

Is there life beyond Earth? How do we search for extraterrestrial intelligence? What are the philosophical implications and potential cultural impact of extraterrestrial contact? In this course we explore and discuss our understanding of the origin, nature and evolution of life on Earth and debate the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe. Our chief focus will be the relations between philosophy, astrobiology and cosmology. Among themes and topics pursued will be cosmic pluralism, panspermia, the Fermi paradox, the Rare Earth Hypothesis, the Drake equation, the fine-tuned universe, Ufology and alien language and intelligence.