Monday, July 11, 2011

Newcastle philosophers have "Big Ideas for the Future"

The Research Councils UK (RCUK) report Big Ideas for the Future presents the top 100 future "big ideas" in British universities.

Newcastle University has four academics named in this report -- and two are members of the Newcastle Ethics, Legal, and Political Philosophy Group that I launched a few years ago. NELPP member Jan Deckers is included for his pioneering research into the ethics of farmed animal products.

The second NELPP member is Thom Brooks and I have previously noted the report's inclusion of my work on the unified theory of punishment, a new alternative to retributivist, deterrence, expressivism, and other theories.

This is very good news for philosophy and for multidisciplinary research. NELPP is a research group with members in all three faculties and a wide diversity of subjects. The group engages in regular seminars and conferences, as well as reading groups. NELPP helps facilitate new multidisciplinary research across faculties. There is much more to come with ambitious future schedules and research activities in preparation. In the meantime, it is good news to see NELPP perform so well for the university in this report.

UPDATE: The Newcastle University press release is here and the School of Geography, Politics, and Sociology press release is here with my statement:

"I am delighted to see my work on theories of punishment receive this important recognition as a future 'Big Idea'. My work has tried to resolve a stand-off between key positions in the debate with a clear view towards informing public policy, especially sentencing guidelines. The unified theory of punishment I have developed offers much promise as a model framework of interest to theorists and practitioners alike. While there remains more work to do, it is very satisfying to have my research identified by RCUK in this way."

UPDATE: The Journal (Newcastle) has an article on the report here noting Durham and Newcastle successes.

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