Justice Everywhere

a blog about justice in public affairs

Category: General (Page 1 of 2)

Political Theory Podcasts

Political theory hasn’t been neglected by the podcast boom, but it’s not always easy to know where to go. Here, I list (with links) the best political theory/philosophy related content in the podverse. (There are also some iTunes U courses and related suggestions below).

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Conference call: A Post-liberal World?

The Centre for the Study of Global Ethics at Birmingham is pleased to announce its 4th annual conference, on the theme of A Post-liberal World? 

Conference website: globalethics2018.weebly.com

 

  • Where and when: University of Birmingham, 31 May-1 June 2018
  • Already confirmed keynote speakers: Alison Jaggar (Birmingham & Boulder) and Jonathan Wolff (Oxford)
  • Public lecture: Jonathan Wolff will deliver a public lecture on Social Inequality and Structural Injustice (please visit the event page for more info and registration)


Call for Papers: 

The conference will specifically focus on the question whether we are on our way to a post-liberal world. We welcome abstract submissions addressing this theme as well as abstract submissions on a wide range of topics within global ethics.

Abstracts should be 500 words maximum and include three to five keywords. They should be send to globalethicsevents@contacts.bham.ac.uk. The deadline for submissions is 10 February 2018.

For more information on the Call for Papers, please visit the CFP section on the conference website: http://globalethics2018.weebly.com/cfp.html

Why are you more angry about Trump’s state visit to the UK than about visits from the leaders of China and Saudi Arabia?

The petition against Donald Trump’s ‘state visit’ to the United Kingdom has gathered over 1.8 million signatories. (I am one of them). Of particular concern to many of these signatories has been Trump’s ‘Muslim ban’, and its perceived infringement of international human rights law. But there is a curiosity, one that has been seized upon by those more positively disposed to Trump. Trump’s actions to date are surely less objectionable, from a human rights perspective, than the historical actions of Saudi Arabia and China, and the leaders of both of those countries have enjoyed recent state visits to the United Kingdom with (relative to Trump) little outcry. Can these differing scales of public reaction be justified? I suspect not; only explained.

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John Rawls and contemporary political philosophy

Last week, I was invited to say some introductory words at a non-academic event dedicated to the work of John Rawls. As the main speaker would tell more about the content of Rawls’ theory, I decided to focus on the following question: why is Rawls seen as the most important contemporary political philosopher? Robert Nozick’s claim of 1974, that contemporary political theorists either have to work within Rawls’ framework or explicitly explain why they don’t, is still applicable today. For Jerry Cohen, Rawls’ masterpiece A Theory of Justice is the third most important book in the history of Western political thought. Only Plato’s Politeia and Hobbes’ Leviathan have a higher status, or so does Cohen claim. But what is it, precisely, that makes the work of John Rawls that significant?

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Call for Papers: Global Justice and Political Reality

A two-day workshop discussing direct normative responses to global realities

Durham University, 23rd-24th June 2016

Due to entrenched public opinion, vested interests among elites, global cooperation problems, and a host of other constraints existing systems impose on would-be reformers, there is currently a great distance between what should be done and what can be done. These limitations raise important questions about the role political philosophers can play in helping to guide decision-makers and the appropriate shape of short- and long-term moral and ethical thinking. To what extent should the constraints of political reality shape and/or constrain the way in which we theorise about moral problems? What kinds of normative recommendations can we offer on issues of pressing political import if we hope them to be realised in the foreseeable future? In short, what can demands of global justice require here and now?

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Good books for a ‘first read’ in political philosophy / ethics

Recently, I was asked a question I have been asked on a few occasions: ‘what books should I recommend to a friend who has never read any political philosophy or ethics, but is interested in taking a look at the subject?’ I reply to this question with assorted recommendations, but what I recommend almost certainly varies depending on my mood, what I am currently researching/teaching, and, most significantly, how my memory is functioning in that moment. My recommendations are also limited to the list of books that I have read. To rectify these deficiencies, I write this post with two aims in mind: first, to identify some of the books I often recommend and garner suggestions from others about suitable books; and, second, thereby, to provide a list of texts to refer people when they ask the question above.

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The Paris Agreement on Climate Change: A historical landmark or an empty box? (longread)

The Paris Agreement on Climate Change has been heralded as ‘a monumental success for the planet and its people.’ [1] However, others have also already expressed strong criticism. It remains up to the future to decide on the success or failure of the agreement. This post contains some reflections about this future, and I hope that the topicality of the issue justifies its length and unscheduled publication.

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Addressing “the social” in normative theorizing

CIMG4071

Normative theorists are not a species known for an oversupply of consensus. But one of the most heated debate of recent years has led to a kind of consensus: the debate about “situationism”, which was raised as a challenge to virtue ethics. With virtue ethicists referring to the character of virtuous agents for guidance about moral behaviour, situationists drew attention to the problem that human behaviour is greatly influenced by the situations they find themselves in. For example, they are more altruistic when exposed to the good smells of a bakery. They are more likely to cooperate in a game call “Community Game” than in one called “Wall Street Game” even if they payoffs are the same. And if they are told to play the role of “prison guards”, while others play the role of “prisoners”, the situation can easily get out of hand. Reading such accounts, one might think that all talk about individual agency and responsibility had been based on an illusion: on an account of a “Cartesian” or “Kantian” self, or on an “Aristotelian” notion of stable character, that simply do not exist. All that there is, it seems, are situational forces.

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Leaders and their responsibility for knowledge

This article in the Guardian, which some members of our team have shared on Facebook, suggests that the British prime minister David Cameron may have (had) no clue about what his policies did to local services. If we assume that this is true, it raises a moral question of great importance for today’s societies: how can leaders make sure that they know enough about the consequences of their decisions to make decisions at all?

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Political Philosophy and Political Change

ivorytowerIn a memorable sequence in his book, Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy depicts the young dog, “George’s son” who works for the farmer, Oak, as a sheepdog. The main job of George’s son is to run after the sheep to make sure that they stay together and do not run away. Tragically, however, the sheepdog being under the impression that the more he runs after the sheep, the better, one day drives all the sheep off a cliff. George’s son, thinking that he has done an exceptional job, returns happily to Oak, who is now left with nothing. Hardy writes that George’s son met the “untoward fate which so often attends dogs and other philosophers who follow out a train of reasoning to its logical conclusion, and attempt perfectly consistent conduct in a world made up so largely of compromise. “

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