Chris Jarvis will give a talk on Oxford’s Swift City: The natural history and conservation of our screaming summer visitors and Daniel K H Yoo on Plato's Quietist Streak - Knowledge and the Purpose of Philosophy
Oxford’s Swift City: The natural history and conservation of our screaming summer visitors
Each year Oxford’s summer is introduced by the screams of the common swift as these remarkable migrants make their way back from Southern Africa to briefly land and nest. The breeding colony at Oxford’s Museum of Natural History has been the site of the longest running continuous study of any bird population on
Earth, and added immensely to our scant knowledge of this most avian of dinosaurs. Swifts have declined by 47% over the last 10 years, and over the last two years, the Museum has partnered the RSPB and others within the city as part of the ‘Oxford Swift City’ project -to raise awareness of and try and halt this decline.
Find out about these amazing birds, the incredible migration they make, and the conservation issues they face in this illustrated talk.
Chris Jarvis has been an amateur naturalist since he could walk and an Education Officer at Oxford’s Museum of Natural History for 16 years, and is currently in charge of adult and primary school education. Chris led the museum’s involvement in the Swift City project.
Plato's Quietist Streak - Knowledge and the Purpose of Philosophy
Daniel K H Yoo
This talk is meant for a general audience, particularly aimed at those who have ever said to themselves, "Yeah, philosophy is pretty cool, but honestly who cares?" I will give both an exegesis of Plato's thought, and also situate my interpretation within the context of contemporary metaphilosophy (the philosophy of philosophy).
To be precise, Plato has made several monumental contributions to philosophy, with his Theory of Forms being one of the most famous. Something that most people fail to appreciate, though, is that it isn't clear how beholden Plato was to his famous doctrine. Contra his stereotype as a more lofty, abstraction-prone philosopher (compared to his protege, Aristotle), I give a reading of a few passages which may reveal a pragmatic streak in Plato. Our first aim, then, is to try and appreciate an underrated aspect of Plato's epistemology.
The second aim is to take this interpretation of Plato and examine it under the light of philosophical quietism, one of the extensions of a pragmatic metaphilosophical outlook. Quietism (generally holds) that philosophers do not contribute groundbreaking positive thesis about our reality that can shake up our ordinary view of things. Rather, philosophy, for quietists, performs more of a therapeutic function. It is, in a way, philosophical modesty. In this second portion of my talk, I will first clarify quietism, try to see if Plato might fit the label, and close with what all this might mean for us, philosophers and non-philosophers alike. My general position is this: the anxiety of philosophy, that it doesn't really do much, is real, but we should do it anyways.
Daniel is a Korean-American student currently undertaking the MSt in Ancient Philosophy at Oxford. He pursues equal parts philosophy and literature, and thinks Bach's Chaconne is humanity's greatest achievement, besides the domestication of cats. When he was a child, he frequently asked his mother, often in rapid succession, "What are we having for dinner?" and "Why does time never stop?" To this day, he still really likes dinner and poses inconsequential questions.