Book List – Michaelmas Term 2017

Oxford Study Centre
Book List for Michaelmas Term 2017

Our reading list changes from term to term, not only with the books but also with the other selections (chapters, essays, excerpts, etc.). New books are published, others seem less pressing, and there is a steady stream of articles and chapters on subjects that beg to be included. Sometimes the core content of such publications makes its way into my presentations or becomes the centerpiece for a discussion session and an entire book no longer is necessary. This term has more changes than usual. The readings promise to be very engaging and enlightening.

For the upcoming coming Michaelmas Term (29 August – 17 December)—in addition to a selection of articles, essays, and other items that are not listed here—we are using the nine books listed below. I have placed them roughly in the order we will discuss them. (I’ve provided links to Amazon for any who care to chase up the volumes.) Including biblical books, chapters and essays, as well as the following texts, the combined pages of reading will range upwards of 2500 pages for this autumn term.
Oxford Study Centre


Sexuality and Gender – A Special Report

Sexuality and Gender – A Special Report

I think this report is essential reading here at the beginning of 2017. I don’t say that lightly. Given the pressing nature of these and related subjects, and given the ongoing politicization and social threatenings, being ignorant of reigning academic, psychological, and political claims, as well as their critics, is to do a disservice to ourselves and others. Here is the online blurb (borrowed from their website) by the editor of The New Atlantis:

Questions related to sexuality and gender bear on some of the most intimate and personal aspects of human life. In recent years they have also vexed American politics. We offer this report — written by Dr. Lawrence S. Mayer, an epidemiologist trained in psychiatry, and Dr. Paul R. McHugh, arguably the most important American psychiatrist of the last half-century — in the hope of improving public understanding of these questions. Examining research from the biological, psychological, and social sciences, this report shows that some of the most frequently heard claims about sexuality and gender are not supported by scientific evidence. The report has a special focus on the higher rates of mental health problems among LGBT populations, and it questions the scientific basis of trends in the treatment of children who do not identify with their biological sex. More effort is called for to provide these people with the understanding, care, and support they need to lead healthy, flourishing lives.


10 Presentations You Must See

10 Presentations You Must See

Lists like this are a bit of a gimmick. “Click bait” is the term, I believe. But I’m listing them here out of a conviction that the presentations that follow are, in fact, worth your time. While other presentations surely are just as worthy of your time, these are ten that have impressed me as worth hearing here at the end of 2016 (and, no, these aren’t necessarily presentations made or posted in 2016).

Now, I struggled with even the thought of attempting to rank these, or even to put them here in any particular order. Different considerations would result in a different ordering. But I’m not ranking or ordering them in terms of importance. I feel like each is important is significant and notable ways. So, I offer you ten presentations I believe you’ll want to watch or hear.


The End of Summit Oxford • Launching the Oxford Study Centre

The End of Summit Oxford

(Telos: end, purpose.)

There are times when events present us with significant changes. As such, we have an important announcement to make – several, in fact – as well as much gratitude to express. But first things first.

As of 31 December 2016, Summit Oxford will come to an end. 


The Irrational Ethics of Ayn Rand

The following essay was written back in 1995 for a philosophy class at Denver Seminary. It has been online since around 2000. It is made available here in only slightly edited form. I have neither the inclination, nor the resources, nor the time to revise it, so I offer it for your reading in its current form. Enjoy!

The Ethics of Ayn Rand:
A Preliminary Assessment

Kevin James Bywater


Ayn Rand was a prolific and very popular author. Her engaging philosophy has captured the minds of many, students and professionals. To many readers’ imaginations, her novels — especially Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead — provide an inspiring vision of the world as it is and as it could be. Even after her death in 1982, her books continue to be read and admired by many. As J. Charles King comments:

Because Rand has written both fiction and philosophical essays, her influence has been felt in very different ways. For some she has provided an inspiring vision of a society of liberty and individualism through her fiction, particularly Atlas Shrugged. For others she has provided the main thrust of a philosophical justification for the advocacy of liberty and individualism.[1]