Beauty as a topic has been neglected in political philosophy and justice theorizing, but in this post I will try to convince you that it should be our concern. Beauty is not something trivial, but a major public issue which requires serious attention from all kinds of disciplines and stakeholders.
Category: General (Page 1 of 2)
Together with an amazing group of people, I have initiated Twelve Stars. Twelve Stars in Europe’s flag symbolize Europe’s unity in diversity. The Twelve Stars project brings together citizens and practical philosophers from all over Europe to discuss proposals for the future of the European Union. Twelve Stars is premised on two assumptions. First, that the ideas of political philosophers can make a real contribution to improving the European Union. Second, that political philosophers have much to learn from discussing their proposals and arguments with a wider audience.
In the past few years the ‘migration crisis’ has challenged the EU’s internal cohesion and has been instrumentally used by populist and nationalist movements to raise public concerns. At the same time, terrorist attacks have multiplied in Europe and some of them have been perpetrated by migrants of first or second generation claiming allegiance to Islamic fundamentalist groups.
Last April the Hungarian parliament approved a new law that regulates the operations of foreign (non-EEA) universities in Hungary. Among other things, the new law requires a bilateral agreement between Hungary and the country of the university’s origin, and they should also deliver education programs in the countries where they are accredited. Although ‘lex CEU’, as has been popularly referred to, was defended on purely administrative grounds it clearly is part of an orchestrated attack on free institutions—NGOs, independent media, and the judiciary. At the time, it seemed impossible for CEU to fulfil these conditions: deadlines were tight, the costs were enormous since CEU has no educational activity in the US where it is accredited, and securing a bilateral treaty with the US government was unfeasible since, American educational matters are regulated at State level rather than at the federal’s level.
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).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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
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.
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?
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?
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.