Letters & Essays
In this country, and probably others as well, there are very effective social and academic mechanisms which allow only the most fashionable points of view to be expressed, and research to be carried out only in a few selected areas. This state of affairs can easily pass unrecognised. People who are exposed to constant expositions of certain aspects of things may easily come to assume that no other ways of looking at them are possible.
The first book that was published under the Oxford Forum imprint, The Power of Life or Death by Fabian Tassano, provides a good example of this. Serious criticism of the medical profession is, by now, almost unheard of in this country. Such debate as there is takes it for granted that by passing a medical exam people are transformed into paragons of benevolence and altruism, not to mention infallibility of judgement, high IQ, efficiency, forethought and responsibility. So no one seriously objects to the idea that doctors should make decisions about all sorts of things on behalf of other people. The debate is only about the fine tuning of the guidelines to which they should be expected nominally to adhere.
There are many other topics which demonstrate a similar state of affairs, in that the conventional debate concerns itself with detail. Meanwhile the basic assumptions — which can seem unobjectionable, merely through habit — remain unchallenged. The debate about the fundamental principles involved in (for example) whether taxation to finance a welfare state is morally justified, receives no hearing, neither in academic nor in popular publications.
There is a need for a forum which permits genuine analysis of the underlying issues, not merely variations on existing themes. Oxford Forum was set up to meet these needs, as well as to provide an institutional environment for academics unable to get ahead in the current university system because of ideological bias.
Oxford Forum needs funding. Intellectuals need an environment which frees them from day-to-day problems. Although this is implicitly accepted for large organisations (the average cost of a researcher at major universities is around £200,000 per annum) there is often an unrealistic assumption that individuals can do research on a shoestring budget.
Members of staff at Oxford Forum
Dr Celia Green won the Senior Open Scholarship to Somerville College Oxford in 1955, and holds a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Oxford.
Dr Green pioneered the scientific research of hallucinatory phenomena in normal subjects with her studies of lucid dreaming and out-of-the-body experiences.
She is also the author of several iconoclastic books in philosophy and psychology, including The Human Evasion, which has been translated into five languages.
Dr Green is an Honorary Research Fellow of the University of Liverpool.
Dr Charles McCreery was educated at Eton and New College, Oxford. In 1993 he became the first person to be awarded a doctorate by the University of Oxford in the field of out-of-the-body experiences.
He has authored, and contributed to, several books in the field of psychology, including the 1975 study of hallucinatory experiences in normal subjects, Apparitions (co-authored with Celia Green).
From 1996 to 2000 Dr McCreery was Lecturer in Experimental Psychology at Magdalen College, Oxford.
Christine Fulcher holds a BSc in Psychology from the Open University.
She has a Diploma in Counselling from the Institute of Counselling.
Dr Fabian Wadel studied Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge, winning the Bronowski Prize. He received his doctorate in economics from the University of Oxford.
From 2000 to 2002 he worked as a senior economist with PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Dr Wadel (writing as Fabian Tassano) is known for his publications on medical ethics, and for his web articles appearing under the caption mediocracy: inversions & deceptions.