Saturday, December 29, 2012

MANCEPT Workshops in Political Theory 2013


MANCEPT Workshops in Political Theory 2013
Call for Convenors

The MANCEPT Workshops in Political Theory 2013 is an annual conference in political theory, organised under the auspices of the Manchester Centre for Political Theory, University of Manchester. This year’s conference will be the tenth event in the series and will take place on Wednesday 4th September until Friday 6th September 2013 at the Arthur Lewis Building, University of Manchester. Over the last nine years, participants from over twenty five countries have come together in a series of workshops concerned with issues in political theory/philosophy widely construed. Last year the workshops had more than 200 delegates attending, and the conference is now established as a leading international forum dedicated to the discussion of research in political theory.

Applications for convening a workshop are now being accepted and more information about the event can be found here:
http://manceptworkshops2013.wordpress.com/about/

The deadline for workshop proposals is Thursday 28th February 2013.

If you are interested in convening a workshop or require any further information please e-mail the Workshop convenor Chris Mills at:
manceptworkshops2013@gmail.com

 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

CFP: Brave New World


BRAVE NEW WORLD CALL FOR PAPERS

Deadline for submission of abstract: 22nd March 2013

Brave New World 2013, the Seventeenth Annual Postgraduate Conference organised under the auspices of the Manchester Centre for Political Theory (MANCEPT), will take place on Thursday 27th and Friday 28th June 2013 at the University of Manchester.

We are pleased to announce that our guest speakers this year are:

Samuel Scheffler (NYU)

Michael Otsuka (UCL)

The Brave New World conference series is now established as a leading international forum dedicated exclusively to the discussion of postgraduate research in political theory. Participants will have the chance to meet and talk about their work with eminent academics, including members of faculty from the University of Manchester and guest speakers, who will deliver keynote addresses at the event.

Guest speakers in previous years have included: Richard Arneson, Brian Barry, Simon Caney, G.A. Cohen, Roger Crisp, Cecile Fabre, Jerry Gaus, Peter Jones, Chandran Kukathas, Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen, Susan Mendus, David Miller, Onora O’Neill, Michael Otsuka, Bhikhu Parekh, Carole Pateman, Anne Phillips, Thomas Pogge, Joseph Raz, Andrea Sangiovanni, Quentin Skinner, Hillel Steiner, Adam Swift, Philippe Van Parijs, Leif Wenar, Andrew Williams and Jonathan Wolff.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES: The deadline is 22nd March 2013. If you would like to present a paper, then please submit a title and abstract of approximately 300 words.  Papers focusing on any area of political theory or political philosophy are welcome. Abstracts should be prepared for blind review in MS Word format. Graduate submissions should be sent by e-mail to Brave.New.World@manchester.ac.uk. Please also include in your email your name and institutional affiliation. Notices of acceptance will be sent by 26th April 2013. A number of bursaries are available for presenters and will be allocated in accordance with need. If you wish to be considered for a bursary, please say so when submitting your abstract. Please note that apart from these bursaries the conference is self-financed and participants are responsible for seeking their own funding. For further details please contact us at Brave.New.World@manchester.ac.uk. Or visit our blog at http://manceptphd.blogspot.co.uk/

 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Hegel's Political Philosophy - new second edition


Thom Brooks, Hegel's Political Philosophy: A Systematic Reading of the Philosophy of Right, 2nd edition. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2012.

Praise for the first edition:

"Brooks shows how Hegel's reflections on political issues are interlinked and how his political thought is elaborated by means of concepts that serve to understand the world more generally . . . He is to be congratulated on providing us with a clear and convincing justification of a systematic reading of the Philosophy of Right."
-- History of Political Thought

"Admirable . . . [Brooks] establishes conclusively to my mind that Hegel's positions are only fully intelligible within the wider framework of his conception of philosophy."
-- Michael Rosen, Professor of Government, Harvard University

"A very clear and methodologically self-conscious series of discussions of key topics within Hegel's classic text . . . What results is a series of illuminating discussions in which [Brooks] makes the case for his own interpretations on the basis of systematic considerations."
-- Paul Redding, Professor of Philosophy, University of Sydney

A new edition of the first systematic reading of Hegel's political philosophy

Elements of the Philosophy of Right is widely acknowledged to be one of the most important works in the history of political philosophy. This is the first book on the subject to take Hegel's system of speculative philosophy seriously as an important component of any robust understanding of this text.

Key features

* Sets out teh difference between "systematic" and "non-systematic" readings of the Philosophy of Right

* Outlines the unique structure of Hegel's philosophical arguments

* Explores key areas of Hegel's political philosophy: system, property, punishment, morality, family, law, monarchy, democracy, war and history

This significantly expanded second edition includes two new chapters on Hegel's theories of democracy and history, and a reply to the book's critics. [There is also a significant expansion on the connection between Hegel's Philosophy of Nature and the Philosophy of Right - and my continued thanks to Paul Franks for making this connection so clear.]

Amazon.com website

Amazon.co.uk website

Publisher's website

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research

I'm delighted to become an Associate Member of this terrific new organization. I strongly encourage interested readers to visit the SCCJR website and become involved.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Punishment

MOVING TO THE FRONT
 

 

Thom Brooks, Punishment. New York & London: Routledge, 2012.

Available at Amazon.com HERE (US launch is 27 December 2012)

Available at Amazon.co.uk HERE (now out!)

Punishment is a topic of increasing importance for citizens and policymakers. Why should we punish criminals? Which theory of punishment is most compelling? Is the death penalty ever justified? These questions and many others are addressed in this highly engaging guide.

Punishment is a critical introduction to the philosophy of punishment, offering a new and refreshing approach that will benefit readers of all backgrounds and interests. The first critical guide to examine all leading contemporary theories of punishment, this book explores – among others – the communicative theory of punishment, restorative justice, and the unified theory of punishment. Thom Brooks examines several case studies in detail, including capital punishment, juvenile offending, and domestic abuse. Punishment highlights the problems and prospects of different approaches in order to argue for a more pluralistic and compelling perspective that is novel and groundbreaking.

Punishment was named the European Sociological Association's "Book of the Month" for November 2012.

Reviews

"Lucid, fair-minded, and well-informed, Thom Brooks’ Punishment offers a superb introduction to a complex and contentious subject. Many a perplexed student will find illumination in his patient discussion of each of the leading theories. The way Brooks shows their interconnectedness and application in practice – to capital punishment, juvenile offenders, domestic violence, and the like – will interest not only students but scholars as well."
—Stuart P. Green, Distinguished Professor of Law and Nathan L. Jacobs Scholar, Rutgers School of Law

"As a topic in moral and political philosophy, punishment has been jolted back to life. In the last quarter century, retribution has returned with a vengeance, both in the theoretical literature and (with a very different emphasis) in public policy. The rise of the victim as a player in the criminal justice system has also fuelled a counter-trend, placing an emphasis on redress. Human rights, privatization, globalization, the rise of the therapist, the lobbyist, the terrorist: all have affected our ways of punishing and of thinking about punishment. A new survey of the terrain is overdue. And who better to conduct it than Thom Brooks, whose grasp of the literature and feel for the issues is second to none? From the noble ideals of ‘communicative’ theory to the grim realities of children in prison: in Punishment Brooks covers it all with insight, rigour, and energy."
—John Gardner, Professor of Jurisprudence, University of Oxford

"Thom Brooks has produced a valuable introduction to, and critical survey of, current theoretical approaches to punishment together with an analysis of their implications for practice. In addition, he has provided a spirited defence of a new, unified theory inspired by the British Idealists and encompassing retributive, consequentialist, and restorative elements. Written in a lucid and engaging style, the book will interest a wide range of readers – students, theorists of punishment, as well as those engaged in criminal justice policy."
—Alan Brudner, Albert Abel Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto

Contents

Preface. Introduction. Part I: General Theories 1. Retributivism 2. Deterrence 3. Rehabilitation 4. Restorative Justice Part II: Hybrid Theories 5. Rawls, Hart, and the ‘Mixed Theory’ 6. Expressivism 7. Unified Theory Part III: Case Studies 8. Capital Punishment 9. Juvenile Offenders 10. Domestic Abuse 11. Sexual Crimes. Conclusion. Bibliography. Index

Thom Brooks is Reader in Law at Durham University. He is the editor and founder of the Journal of Moral Philosophy.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Prospective graduate students thinking about Law School?

I highly recommend my new institutional home: Durham Law School at Durham University. Durham Law School is one of the top UK law schools and with a siginificant postgraduate programme in a stunning location within sight of Durham Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage site. We have nearly 50 full-time academic staff plus another 25+ honorary, visiting and part-time staff working in a wide variety of research topics with strengths in jurisprudence and the philosophy of law -- a full list can be found here.

There is funding available for prospective research students in Law (details here) including various scholarships and studentships for our PhD and MJur programmes. Further information can be found by contacting the School here or contacting me.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Durham!

After a wonderful leaving do celebrating eight years at Newcastle University, I'm delighted to confirm that I'm now settled into Durham Law School (and new department website up here). I am honoured to join this terrific School and thrilled to be an named an associate member of the Durham University Philosophy Department as well. Expect several announcements over the next few weeks.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Hegel's Political Philosophy: A Systematic Reading of the Philosophy of Right

. . . is online! Details here.

I expect the new second edition to have a similar webpage - and I will post it when I see it.

Special issue on Hegel's Political Philosophy

Delighted to receive my copy of the latest issue of the Bulletin of the Hegel Society of Great Britain 66 (2012) which is a special issue with a symposium on my Hegel's Political Philosophy: A Systematic Reading of the Philosophy of Right.

The symposium includes:

Paul Redding, "Thom Brooks's Project of a Systematic Reading of Hegel's Philosophy of Right"

Michael Rosen, "The Ruined Castle"

Allen Wood, "Thom Brooks and the 'Systematic' Reading of Hegel"

Thom Brooks, "Reply to Redding, Rosen and Wood"

The Bulletin will be published shortly by Cambridge University Press - and retitled the Hegel Bulletin - with full backlog available online in due course.

Additionally, my Hegel's Political Philosophy appears next week in a new second addition with new chapters and a reply to critics.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

CFP: Northwestern University Society for Ethical Theory and Political Philosophy 7th Annual Conference

Call for Papers

From Faculty and Graduate Students
Keynote Addresseses: Talbot Brewer and Sarah Buss
SUBMISSION GUIDELINES: The deadline is February 15, 2013. We welcome submissions from faculty and graduate students, as some sessions will be reserved for student presentations. Please submit an essay of approximately 4000 words and an abstract of at most 150 words. Essay topics in all areas of ethical theory and political philosophy will be considered, although some priority will be given to essays that take up themes from the works of Talbot Brewer and Sarah Buss, such as autonomy, desire, goodness, moral psychology, moral responsibility, pleasure, practical reasoning, respect, virtue, Aristotelianism and Kantianism. Essays and abstracts should be prepared for blind review in word, rtf, or pdf format. Graduate submissions should be sent by e-mail to nustep.grad.conference@gmail.com; faculty submissions should be sent by e-mail to kebelsduggan@northwestern.edu. Notices of acceptance will be sent by April 1, 2013. For more information, please contact Kyla Ebels-Duggan at the e-mail address above or visit our website: http://www.philosophy.northwestern.edu/conferences/moralpolitical/

Monday, November 19, 2012

A Theory of Justice: The Musical!

Yes! Information here.

Brettschenider online reading group

. . . can be found on the Public Reason blog working through his terrific book, When the State Speaks, What Should It Say?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Thom Brooks, "Punishment" - now out!




NOW HOT OFF THE PRESS!

Thom Brooks, Punishment. New York & London: Routledge, 2012.

Punishment is a topic of increasing importance for citizens and policymakers. Why should we punish criminals? Which theory of punishment is most compelling? Is the death penalty ever justified? These questions and many others are addressed in this highly engaging guide.

Punishment is a critical introduction to the philosophy of punishment, offering a new and refreshing approach that will benefit readers of all backgrounds and interests. The first critical guide to examine all leading contemporary theories of punishment, this book explores – among others – the communicative theory of punishment, restorative justice, and the unified theory of punishment. Thom Brooks examines several case studies in detail, including capital punishment, juvenile offending, and domestic abuse. Punishment highlights the problems and prospects of different approaches in order to argue for a more pluralistic and compelling perspective that is novel and groundbreaking.

Punishment is a textbook designed to introduce both undergraduate and postgraduate students to the topic of punishment. It will be essential for undergraduate students in: philosophy, criminal justice, criminology, justice studies, law, politics, and sociology.

Reviews

Lucid, fair-minded, and well-informed, Thom Brooks’ Punishment offers a superb introduction to a complex and contentious subject. Many a perplexed student will find illumination in his patient discussion of each of the leading theories. The way Brooks shows their interconnectedness and application in practice – to capital punishment, juvenile offenders, domestic violence, and the like – will interest not only students but scholars as well.
—Stuart P. Green, Distinguished Professor of Law and Nathan L. Jacobs Scholar, Rutgers School of Law

As a topic in moral and political philosophy, punishment has been jolted back to life. In the last quarter century, retribution has returned with a vengeance, both in the theoretical literature and (with a very different emphasis) in public policy. The rise of the victim as a player in the criminal justice system has also fuelled a counter-trend, placing an emphasis on redress. Human rights, privatization, globalization, the rise of the therapist, the lobbyist, the terrorist: all have affected our ways of punishing and of thinking about punishment. A new survey of the terrain is overdue. And who better to conduct it than Thom Brooks, whose grasp of the literature and feel for the issues is second to none? From the noble ideals of ‘communicative’ theory to the grim realities of children in prison: in Punishment Brooks covers it all with insight, rigour, and energy.
—John Gardner, Professor of Jurisprudence, University of Oxford

Thom Brooks has produced a valuable introduction to, and critical survey of, current theoretical approaches to punishment together with an analysis of their implications for practice. In addition, he has provided a spirited defence of a new, unified theory inspired by the British Idealists and encompassing retributive, consequentialist, and restorative elements. Written in a lucid and engaging style, the book will interest a wide range of readers – students, theorists of punishment, as well as those engaged in criminal justice policy.
—Alan Brudner, Albert Abel Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto

Contents

Preface. Introduction. Part I: General Theories 1. Retributivism 2. Deterrence 3. Rehabilitation 4. Restorative Justice Part II: Hybrid Theories 5. Rawls, Hart, and the ‘Mixed Theory’ 6. Expressivism 7. Unified Theory Part III: Case Studies 8. Capital Punishment 9. Juvenile Offenders 10. Domestic Abuse 11. Sexual Crimes. Conclusion. Bibliography. Index

Thom Brooks is Reader in Law at Durham University. He is the editor and founder of the Journal of Moral Philosophy.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

The Hegel Bulletin

Cambridge University Press is delighted to announce that it will publish Hegel Bulletin from 2013, on behalf of the Hegel Society of Great Britain.

Formerly known as the Bulletin of the Hegel Society of Great Britain, this move marks a significant moment in the journal's development. In recognition of its wider circulation, broader scope, and availability online for the first time, the journal is being relaunched as Hegel Bulletin. For more information about these bibliographic changes, please visit http://journals.cambridge.org/hegel/2013.

Hegel Bulletin is a leading English language journal for anyone interested in Hegel’s thought, its context, legacy and contemporary relevance. The aim of the Bulletin is to promote high quality contributions in the field of Hegel studies. This field is broadly construed to include all aspects of Hegel’s thought, and its relation and relevance to the history of philosophy; Hegelian contributions to all aspects of current philosophical enquiry, including the modern European and analytic philosophical traditions; German Idealism, British Idealism, Marx and Marxism, Critical Theory, American Pragmatism; studies in the reception history of Hegel and German Idealism.
Hegel Bulletin will be available in print and electronic formats, and digitised as part of the Cambridge Journals Digital Archive. Access via Cambridge’s industry-leading platform, Cambridge Journals Online, will improve the journal’s usability and functionality.


About the Hegel Society of Great Britain
The Hegel Society of Great Britain (HSGB) is a forum for those interested in the work of the German philosopher G. W. F. Hegel (1770-1831), his predecessors and contemporaries, his followers and his critics. The HSGB was founded in 1979, and now counts over 200 members. As well as publishing the Bulletin, the HSGB holds an annual conference and actively co-operates with other Hegel societies, particularly those in Germany and the USA.
Find out more at http://hegel-society.org.uk


Exciting news and I'm delighted at this development!

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Climate Change and Negative Duties

My article "Climate Change and Negative Duties" (published in Politics) is currently free to download (here). The abstract:

Climate change and its harmful effects are widely accepted. A common approach is to argue along the lines of Mill's ‘harm principle’: if we contribute to climate change, then we are likewise responsible for harming others and we have a negative duty to reduce our carbon emissions. This article argues that a negative duty leads to a philosophical fork in the road which does not necessarily entail carbon emissions reductions. Arguments for such reductions require further supplementation to close off possible non-conservationist alternatives.


Readers may be interested to know there is more to come: I'm guest editing a special PS: Political Science & Politics issue on climate change justice that will run in January 2013. Contributing authors include Thom Brooks, Stephen Gardiner, Clare Heyward, David Schlosberg, and Steve Vanderheiden.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Thom Brooks (ed.), Hegel's Philosophy of Right - review


My collection Hegel's Philosophy of Right (Blackwell, 2012) is reviewed by Paul Redding at Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews here. The book can be found on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and elsewhere. Redding says '"the essays in this collection do live up to its cover blurb's description as "highly engaging and accessible scholarly essays"'; "As a collection, Hegel's Philosophy of Right is indeed a worthwhile addition to the growing reassessment on Hegel's political philosophy" and "all in all this is an important contribution to the task of bringing Hegel's endlessly fascinating and controversial ideas to contemporary political philosophy."

This book was reviewed last month by Choice which said "The essays are refreshingly free of complex jargon and, taken together, offer a good sampling of recent work in Hegelian moral and political philosophy."

Monday, October 29, 2012

Friday, October 26, 2012

Monday, October 22, 2012

"A Conversation with David Miliband"

Many thanks again to Rt Hon David Miliband MP, the former Foreign Secretary, for taking part in "A Conversation with David Miliband" I hosted at Newcastle University. Highlights can be found here broadcast by Newcastle Student Radio. The discussion was informal and broad covering the leading challenges facing Britain, the EU, and international affairs in a major event drawing a standing room only audience for my last event at Newcastle ahead of my move to Durham Law School.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

David Miliband Q&A at Newcastle University

Of more local interest, I will be hosting my last event at Newcastle University before taking up a new position at Durham Law School in a few weeks:

A CONVERSATION WITH DAVID MILIBAND




All students welcome to a Q&A with the Labour MP and former Foreign Secretary

Date: Friday, 19th October 2012

Time: 3.00-4.00 pm

Venue: Curtis Auditorium, Herschel Building, Newcastle University

Everyone is warmly welcome to a special Q&A with David Miliband where he will discuss his illuminating views on political developments in Britain, Europe and international affairs. Miliband is Labour MP for South Shields and former Foreign Secretary. Newcastle University’s Thom Brooks will host.

This event is free and all students are welcome to attend for what will be an engaging and insightful examination of political affairs viewed from the inside not to be missed!

Mitt Romney debates...himself!

Details here.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The AHRC and Me: So What Happened Next?

Readers will recall our goal of convincing the UK's Arts and Humanities Research Council to remove all references to "the Big Society" from its 5-year strategic plan for research funding. The "Big Society" was a Conservative Party campaign slogan during the 2010 general election. This strategic plan was the first that appears to make explicit references to such a campaign slogan. Many colleagues expressed some alarm - although this was not universal - that this might mark a worrying move away from the treasured "Haldane principle" whereby the government is not to influence research funding decisions.

Thousands of colleagues from the UK and abroad signed petitions calling on the AHRC to remove all references to the "Big Society" leading to over 50 senior members of the AHRC's own Peer Review College resigning together over this issue. Such activities may have been the largest show of academic opposition to a research council strategic plan. And yet nothing seemed to change.

Until now. The AHRC has published a draft of its next 5-year plan. Gone are the references to political campaign slogans (and there is no mention of the "Big Society"). Moreover, there is welcome language about the AHRC's efforts to further improve communication and support for and with its Peer Review College. These are highly welcome moves.

This is not to say the situation is now ok. There remain concerns that increasing amounts of AHRC funding will go to "themes" decided from above leading to less available funding for lone scholars - although this is yet to be confirmed.

Nonetheless, it may have taken over a year, but a victory at last of sorts. There is no place for political campaign slogans in strategic research funding plans. Period. It seems clear our collective voice has been heard.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Thom Brooks, Punishment (2012)


Thom Brooks, Punishment. New York & London: Routledge, 2012.

Punishment is a topic of increasing importance for citizens and policymakers. Why should we punish criminals? Which theory of punishment is most compelling? Is the death penalty ever justified? These questions and many others are addressed in this highly engaging guide.

Punishment is a critical introduction to the philosophy of punishment, offering a new and refreshing approach that will benefit readers of all backgrounds and interests. The first critical guide to examine all leading contemporary theories of punishment, this book explores – among others – the communicative theory of punishment, restorative justice, and the unified theory of punishment. Thom Brooks examines several case studies in detail, including capital punishment, juvenile offending, and domestic abuse. Punishment highlights the problems and prospects of different approaches in order to argue for a more pluralistic and compelling perspective that is novel and groundbreaking.

Punishment is a textbook designed to introduce both undergraduate and postgraduate students to the topic of punishment. It will be essential for undergraduate students in: philosophy, criminal justice, criminology, justice studies, law, politics, and sociology.

Reviews

Lucid, fair-minded, and well-informed, Thom Brooks’ Punishment offers a superb introduction to a complex and contentious subject. Many a perplexed student will find illumination in his patient discussion of each of the leading theories. The way Brooks shows their interconnectedness and application in practice – to capital punishment, juvenile offenders, domestic violence, and the like – will interest not only students but scholars as well.
—Stuart P. Green, Distinguished Professor of Law and Nathan L. Jacobs Scholar, Rutgers School of Law

As a topic in moral and political philosophy, punishment has been jolted back to life. In the last quarter century, retribution has returned with a vengeance, both in the theoretical literature and (with a very different emphasis) in public policy. The rise of the victim as a player in the criminal justice system has also fuelled a counter-trend, placing an emphasis on redress. Human rights, privatization, globalization, the rise of the therapist, the lobbyist, the terrorist: all have affected our ways of punishing and of thinking about punishment. A new survey of the terrain is overdue. And who better to conduct it than Thom Brooks, whose grasp of the literature and feel for the issues is second to none? From the noble ideals of ‘communicative’ theory to the grim realities of children in prison: in Punishment Brooks covers it all with insight, rigour, and energy.
—John Gardner, Professor of Jurisprudence, University of Oxford

Thom Brooks has produced a valuable introduction to, and critical survey of, current theoretical approaches to punishment together with an analysis of their implications for practice. In addition, he has provided a spirited defence of a new, unified theory inspired by the British Idealists and encompassing retributive, consequentialist, and restorative elements. Written in a lucid and engaging style, the book will interest a wide range of readers – students, theorists of punishment, as well as those engaged in criminal justice policy.
—Alan Brudner, Albert Abel Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto

Contents

Preface. Introduction. Part I: General Theories 1. Retributivism 2. Deterrence 3. Rehabilitation 4. Restorative Justice Part II: Hybrid Theories 5. Rawls, Hart, and the ‘Mixed Theory’ 6. Expressivism 7. Unified Theory Part III: Case Studies 8. Capital Punishment 9. Juvenile Offenders 10. Domestic Abuse 11. Sexual Crimes. Conclusion. Bibliography. Index

Thom Brooks is Reader in Law at Durham University. He is the editor and founder of the Journal of Moral Philosophy.

Monday, October 08, 2012

"Moral Frankensteins"

. . . is the name of my latest publication appearing in the current issue of AJOB Neuroscience 3(4) (2012): 28-30 and found here. Easily, one of my favourite titles I've come up with.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

400,000 hits milestone

Today, the Brooks Blog has passed the 400,000 hits milestone. I am delighted by the attention this blog continues to receive and extremely grateful to readers for continuing to find this site of interest.

Much continues to change since the last 300,000 milestone passed in January 2011 (see here). For one thing, I shortly move institutions and head to Durham University and its Law School shortly. For another, I have wrapped up several existing commitments in order to make time for many others. I am stepping down as Editor of the Journal of Moral Philosophy later this year -- although I will remain on the board -- and completed my term as Chair of the APA Committee on Philosophy and Law.

While I expect to blog more frequently than of late, the next few weeks see several new book publications (with further details and links in due course):

Thom Brooks, Punishment (Routledge, 2012) - November

Thom Brooks, Hegel's Political Philosophy: A Systematic Reading of the Philosophy of Right, 2d ed (Edinburgh University Press, [2007, 2009] 2012) - December

Thom Brooks (ed.), Just War Theory (Brill, 2012) - December

There will then be publication of a five volume collection on Criminal Law and Philosophy out in early 2013. Details on all publications to follow shortly.

So much has changed and continues to change. My thanks as ever to you for your interest and support.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Obama's new political campaign broadcast

. . . in Romney's own voice. Powerful and compelling.

My advice to David Cameron on how to improve the UK citizenship test

Readers may know that British Prime Minister David Cameron appeared on Late Show with David Letterman yesterday evening. Cameron is the first serving British PM to appear on the show. He was quizzed about questions appearing in the UK citizenship test and performed poorly.

If only the Prime Minister had listened to my advice (from 23 minutes) on BBC Radio 4 or read my piece on how the test may be reformed and improved, he might have performed much better...

The abstract for my "The British Citizenship Test: The Case for Reform":

Immigration presents a daunting challenge to successive British governments. The public ranks immigration as one of the leading policy issues after the economy and employment. There is also greater public support for stronger immigration controls than in many other countries. In response, government strategy has included the use of a citizenship test. While the citizenship test is widely acknowledged as one key part of immigration policy, the test has received surprisingly little critical analysis. This article is an attempt to bring greater attention to serious problems with the current test and to offer three recommendations for its revision and reform. First, there is a need to revise and update the citizenship test. Secondly, there is a need to expand the test to include questions about British history and basic law. The third recommendation is more wide-ranging: it is that we reconsider what we expect new citizens to know more broadly. The citizenship test should not be viewed as a barrier, but as a bridge. The focus should centre on what future citizens should be expected to know rather than how others might be excluded. The test should ensure that future citizens are suitably prepared for citizenship. There is an urgent need to improve the test and this should not be an opportunity wasted for the benefit of both citizens and future citizens alike.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Journal of Moral Philosophy - A New Beginning

Today is unlike most others. I have signed off on the final issue of the Journal of Moral Philosophy as its editor. I founded the JMP in 2003 after year long negotiations with several publishers and with the strong encouragement of old friends, Mark Bevir and Fabian Freyenhagen. The journal launched in 2004, turned quarterly in 2009 and will soon move to 6 issues per year from 2013.

The journal will also have a new editor in S. Matthew Liao, who I'm certain will do a magnificent job at moving the journal to much greater heights. I will remain as an associate editor and there will be a new management structure to be announced in a few months. A new beginning and the end of an era.

Nick Clegg - "The Apology Song"

The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg (Lib Dem), pledged "no more broken promises" during the 2010 general election. A key campaign promise was his Liberal Democrat Party's vow to scrap university tuition fees. After the election, Clegg and his party joined a coalition government with the Conservatives. One new policy agreed was that university tuition fees would remain...and the ceiling of about £3,100 would be raised to £9,000 per year. This broken campaign promise has done much to damage the party's popularity since.

Clegg recently released an apology statement meant to draw a line under this issue. It's hard to say whether or not it would have the desired effect, but one unpredictable result is that his statement has been transformed into a catchy new tune.



Now that we have videos about "The Real Mitt Romney" and another about George Osborne's "Don't Stop Me Now" - is this the future of politics to come?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Palgrave Ethics and Public Policy book series

The Palgrave Ethics and Public Policy book series will publish high quality scholarly research monographs and edited books aimed at academics and postgraduates. We welcome timely contributions from a broad range of disciplines and methodological approaches. The volumes in this series will explore the relation between ethics and public policy across a wide range of issues, including abortion, capital punishment, citizenship, climate change, drug offending, euthanasia, health care, immigration, multiculturalism, prostitution, and terrorism.

Interested authors should contact me directly me here. We hope to launch in 2013.

Support the Gendered Conference Campaign!

Details here.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Graduate Conference in Political Theory

Call for Papers (deadline January 11, 2013)

The Graduate Conference in Political Theory at Princeton University will be held from April 5-6, 2013.

The Committee for the Graduate Conference in Political Theory at Princeton University welcomes papers addressing any topic in political theory, political philosophy, or the history of political thought. Papers should be submitted via the conference website by January 11, 2013. Approximately six papers will be selected.

The conference offers graduate students from across institutions a unique opportunity to present and critique new work. Each session, led by a discussant from Princeton, focuses exclusively on one paper and features an extensive question and answer period with Princeton faculty and graduate students. Papers are pre-circulated among conference participants.

This year, the Committee proudly announces that Professor Jill Frank, University of South Carolina, will deliver the keynote address.
Submission Information:
• Due date: January 11, 2013
• How to submit: Submissions must be uploaded in PDF format to the conference website: http://politicaltheory.princeton.edu  
• Length: Papers should be approximately 7500 words. Papers exceeding 9000 words will not be considered.
• Format: Papers should be formatted for blind review by removing any identifying information from the document.

Papers will be refereed on a blind basis by political theory graduate students in the Department of Politics at Princeton. Acceptance notices will be sent in February. The authors of accepted papers will be expected to attend the duration of the two-day conference and participate in each session.

Assistance for invited participants' transportation, lodging and meal expenses is available from the Committee, which acknowledges the generous support of University Center for Human Values, the Department of Politics, and the Graduate School at Princeton University.

Questions and comments can be directed to: polthry@princeton.edu

For more information, please visit the conference website at http://politicaltheory.princeton.edu

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Is Mitt Romney a serious candidate?

Mitt Romney has faced much criticism since the start of his campaign to become US President. Many critics highlighted that they didn't know who the "real" Romney was as his positions seemed to adopt different 'nuances' from one prospective audience to the next. (This led to a YouTube sensation - to the music of Eminem - found here.)

These past - and major - gaffes have been spectacularly surpassed with new video footage of Romney telling supporters that 47% of American voters are moochers that pay no income tax and he won't try to win their votes. Perhaps the only thing even more outrageous than this is that - when he had the opportunity to reject the gaffe - he didn't. While he did think his comments were not elegantly stated and some context missing, he continued to stand by his remarks.

This has correctly received stinging criticism from all sides, including David Brooks (no relation!) in the New York Times here:

"[. . . ] This comment suggests a few things. First, it suggests that he really doesn’t know much about the country he inhabits. Who are these freeloaders? Is it the Iraq war veteran who goes to the V.A.? Is it the student getting a loan to go to college? Is it the retiree on Social Security or Medicare?


It suggests that Romney doesn’t know much about the culture of America. Yes, the entitlement state has expanded, but America remains one of the hardest-working nations on earth. Americans work longer hours than just about anyone else. Americans believe in work more than almost any other people. Ninety-two percent say that hard work is the key to success, according to a 2009 Pew Research Survey.

It says that Romney doesn’t know much about the political culture. Americans haven’t become childlike worshipers of big government. On the contrary, trust in government has declined. The number of people who think government spending promotes social mobility has fallen.

The people who receive the disproportionate share of government spending are not big-government lovers. They are Republicans. They are senior citizens. [. . .]."

Brooks concludes: "He’s running a depressingly inept presidential campaign. Mr. Romney, your entitlement reform ideas are essential, but when will the incompetence stop?"

Serious people across the political spectrum must ask themselves: is Mitt Romney a serious candidate? Thus far, the answer is a resounding no. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

British Citizenship: Time to Reform the Test

MOVING TO THE FRONT

I have recently published a new aticle on "The British Citizenship Test: The Case for Reform" appearing in The Political Quarterly here. The article is based upon both my research into citizenship tests and first hand experience of having to sit and pass the test in order to obtain Indefinite Leave to Remain visa status in the UK. I am now a dual UK and US national.

The abstract is here:

"Immigration presents a daunting challenge to successive British governments. The public ranks immigration as one of the leading policy issues after the economy and employment. There is also greater public support for stronger immigration controls than in many other countries. In response, government strategy has included the use of a citizenship test. While the citizenship test is widely acknowledged as one key part of immigration policy, the test has received surprisingly little critical analysis. This article is an attempt to bring greater attention to serious problems with the current test and to offer three recommendations for its revision and reform. First, there is a need to revise and update the citizenship test. Secondly, there is a need to expand the test to include questions about British history and basic law. The third recommendation is more wide-ranging: it is that we reconsider what we expect new citizens to know more broadly. The citizenship test should not be viewed as a barrier, but as a bridge. The focus should centre on what future citizens should be expected to know rather than how others might be excluded. The test should ensure that future citizens are suitably prepared for citizenship. There is an urgent need to improve the test and this should not be an opportunity wasted for the benefit of both citizens and future citizens alike."

Thursday, September 13, 2012

St John's College, Oxford - many thanks!

I have enjoyed an academic scholarship at St John's College, Oxford over the summer and must thank the college for their terrific hospitality - and for permitting me to work in such an inspiring environment. Readers may know that my new monograph, Punishment, is headed to a bookstore near you now. This book is a critical examination of the leading theories about punishment and their (often problematic) relation to practical case studies. I defend the position of a "unified theory of punishment" introduced in this book and note its pedigree in the writings of Locke, Hegel, and several British Idealists.

My research project at St John's was work on a new research monograph tentatively entitled Beyond Retribution: The Unified Theory of Punishment that will offer the first full length defence of my new theory of punishment. It seeks to close a gap between theory and practice. Most theorists defend a single aim for punishment - such as retribution, crime reduction or offender rehabilitation - and reject what I call penal pluralism, namely, the idea that punishment has multiple penal principles. Sentencing practices often adopt penal pluralism. Examples include the Model Penal Code, US Federal sentencing guidelines, individual US state sentencing commission guidelines, and sentencing guidelines in the UK. Penal pluralism is rejected because it is thought incoherent and indefensible. My project is to demonstrate how pluralism might be defended in a coherent and compelling new account that closes the gap between theory and practice - and helps illuminate how we might further improve our practices.

For a brief look at the unified theory, see my New Waves in Ethics or Punishment. Expect to see much more and soon....

Friday, September 07, 2012

Brooks on Punishment

Review and examination copies of my forthcoming book Punishment are available here. The perfect gift for the holidays....

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Robin Attfield on Ethics

I warmly recommend Robin Attfield's new Ethics: An Overview recently published by Continuum. The book's blurb:

"This is the definitive companion to the study of ethics. It provides students with an accessible, comprehensive and philosophically rigorous introduction to the major thinkers, issues and debates. Ideal for use on undergraduate courses, but also of lasting value for postgraduate students, the structure and content of this textbook closely reflect the way ethics is studied.

Thematically structured, the text provides a historical overview of the subject and a comprehensive introduction to the main branches of ethics: meta-ethics, normative ethics and applied ethics. The book also includes coverage of key aspects of value theory and key issues concerning agency and moral responsibility. It applies ethics to contemporary issues such as climate change, the environment, development, poverty and war. Crucially, the book encourages students to do ethics for themselves, equipping the reader with a wide-ranging grasp of the discipline in all its central areas of contemporary study and reflection.

Robin Attfield's cogent and thorough analysis is supplemented by a companion website featuring a wealth of student-friendly features, including chapter summaries, study questions, exercises, and a comprehensive guide to further reading and other resources."

‘An uncommonly clear, fair-minded and up-to-date survey of this vast and contentious field. Attfield is particularly good about Evolution.’
— Mary Midgley, author of Beast and Man: the Roots of Human Nature

‘… one of the most comprehensive overviews of the discipline… The intellectual and moral thoughtfulness so characteristic of Attfield's work make his book one of the best introductions for all those who expect from ethics both conceptual analyses and concrete answers to the question: What is right?’
— Vittorio Hösle, Paul Kimball Professor of Arts and Letters, Notre Dame University, USA

‘This is an admirable up-to-date introduction to the main fields of ethics… Attfield consistently avoids being magisterial. Instead, the reader is invited to think things through for himself and to come to his own conclusions.’
— Dieter Birnbacher, Professor of Philosophy, Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, Germany

Many thanks to the BPPA

Many thanks to the British Postgraduate Philosophical Association for hosting my talk yesterday on "The Application of Philosophy to the Public Sphere" co-sponsored by the Society for Applied Philosophy. Topics addressed included: academic jobs for philosophers outside philosophy departments, non-academic careers, and creating "impact" through social media, traditional media (news op-eds, radio), and working with politicians and public policy networks (think tanks, etc). Some excellent questions and delighted to see real enthusiasm for the topic!

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Soran Reader: A Tribute

A wonderful tribute to Soran Reader may be found here at the Durham University's Philosophy Department homepage. There is also a sample of her publications. A sad loss for philosophy - she will be missed.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Brooks to Durham Law School

I am delighted to announce that I will soon be moving to a new position at Durham Law School from December. I will be Reader in Law - and I will be an associate member of the Philosophy Department. I have worked at Newcastle University since 2004 and currently Reader in Political and Legal Philosophy. While I have enjoyed my time in Newcastle, I am looking forward to working with some outstanding colleagues in Durham.

FOX News on Paul Ryan speech: "blatant lies and misrepresentations"

Details here. Key quote: "to anyone paying the slightest bit of attention to facts, Ryan’s speech was an apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations slipped into a single political speech. On this measure, while it was Romney who ran the Olympics, Ryan earned the gold."

Posner on the incoherence of Scalia's "originalism"

A thorough and convincing critique from teh The New Republic found here.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Thom Brooks (ed.), New Waves in Ethics - the review!

. . . and what a delight to discover in my inbox! My New Waves in Ethics was published by Palgrave Macmillan last year and reviewed in the Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews here.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Thom Brooks on "The British Citizenship Test: The Case for Reform"

. . . appears in the current issue of The Political Quarterly here. The abstract:

"Immigration presents a daunting challenge to successive British governments. The public ranks immigration as one of the leading policy issues after the economy and employment. There is also greater public support for stronger immigration controls than in many other countries. In response, government strategy has included the use of a citizenship test. While the citizenship test is widely acknowledged as one key part of immigration policy, the test has received surprisingly little critical analysis. This article is an attempt to bring greater attention to serious problems with the current test and to offer three recommendations for its revision and reform. First, there is a need to revise and update the citizenship test. Secondly, there is a need to expand the test to include questions about British history and basic law. The third recommendation is more wide-ranging: it is that we reconsider what we expect new citizens to know more broadly. The citizenship test should not be viewed as a barrier, but as a bridge. The focus should centre on what future citizens should be expected to know rather than how others might be excluded. The test should ensure that future citizens are suitably prepared for citizenship. There is an urgent need to improve the test and this should not be an opportunity wasted for the benefit of both citizens and future citizens alike."

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

New centre announcement: Eidyn



Excellent news from north of the border. There is a new research centre launched at Edinburgh University called Eidyn: The Edinburgh Centre for Epistemology, Mind and Normativity. The centre will be home to a number of funded and pilot research projects within these areas. There will also be postgraduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and visiting professorial fellows attached to the centre.

David A. Stockman on "Paul Ryan’s Fairy-Tale Budget Plan"

. . . found here in the New York Times. This may be uncomfortable reading for Romeny-Ryan supporters as it comes from a former member of the Reagan administration.

CFP: John Rawls: Past, Present, Future

CALL FOR PAPERS
ON THE OCCASION OF THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF
JOHN RAWLS'S PASSING

JOHN RAWLS: PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE
November 30, 2012

November 24, 2012, will mark the tenth anniversary of John Rawls passing away. The Global Justice Program at Yale University will mark the occasion with a full-day meeting on November 30 to which friends, admirers and critics of Rawls are cordially invited. We chose this date because November 24 is too close to Thanksgiving.

FUNDING
We are unfortunately not able to fully cover costs but will make an effort for all those who register by November 1 to match student guests with local students and to get discounts at a local hotel for the other guests. We will provide food and good cheer and assemble an outstanding critical audience for six papers to be presented. Selected presenters will get priority placement with local students and, if resource-constrained, up to $400 in travel funds. In notifying winners in late October (see below), we ask them to tell us asap whether they will need support and, if so, how much.


SUBMISSION GUIDELINES
Papers in all areas of Rawls scholarship are welcome. We will select the most interesting three papers authored by students or scholars below 28 as well as the three most interesting papers from students or scholars between 28 and 37.

Each selected presenter will have 25 minutes to introduce the paper and 35 minutes for discussion in which the over-37 crowd will get its chance. There will also be ample time for social engagement of various kinds.

To apply for a paper slot, please send your draft of no more than 5000 words to RawlsFestYale@gmail.com on or before October 1. Please include an abstract plus a few keywords and expunge any self-identifying elements from your draft, then send it all to RawlsFestYale@gmail.com, with a cover letter stating your name, paper title, contact information and age. All submissions will be acknowledged, and the winners announced before November 1st, 2012.

If you are applying for a paper slot, please indicate in the subject line of your email RFY paper submission. For simple registration, please indicate in the subject line of your email RFY registration.

To guarantee that the reserved room will be appropriate for this event, we kindly ask all participants to register. Please, use RawlsFestYale@gmail.com for all correspondence (inquiries, paper submissions, registration).

The organizing committee:
Daniele Botti, Rachel Payne, Daniel Putnam, Matthew Lindauer, Thomas Pogge
www.yale.edu/macmillan/globaljustice

Matthew Lister on "Who are Refugees?"

. . . is available here and forthcoming at Law and Philosophy. The abstract:

Hundreds of millions of people around the world are unable to meet their needs on their own, and do not receive adequate protection or support from their home states. These people, if they are to be provided for, need assistance from the international community. If we are to meet our duties to these people, we must have ways of knowing who should be eligible for different forms of relief. One prominent proposal from scholars and activists has been to classify all who are unable to meet their basic needs on their own as 'refugees,' and to extend to them the sorts of protections established under the United Nations Refugee Convention. Such an approach would expand the traditional refugee definition significantly. Unlike most academic commentators discussing this issue, I reject calls for an expanded refugee definition, and instead defend the core elements of the definition set out in the 1967 Protocol to the United Nations Refugee Convention. Using the tools of moral and political philosophy, I explain in this article how the group picked out by this definition has particular characteristics that make refugee protection distinctly appropriate for it. While many people in need of assistance can be helped 'in place', in their home countries, or by providing a form of temporary protected status to them, this is not so, I show, of convention refugees. The group picked out by the UN refugee definition is a normatively distinct group to whom we owe particular duties, duties we can only meet by granting them refuge in a safe country. Additionally, there are further practical reasons why a broader refugee definition may lead to problems. Finally, I argue that rejecting the call for a broader definition of refugees will better help us meet our duties to those in need than would an expanded definition.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Thom Brooks on "Reciprocity as Mutual Recognition"

. . . in the current issue of The Good Society (2012) found here. The abstract:

"For Rawls, there is an important difference between competing forms of regimes and what he calls a "property-owning democracy" and "liberal socialism." This difference includes that only the latter best guarantees principles of justice and satisfies the criterion of reciprocity. In this article, I will focus on the importance of reciprocity for this account and what it reveals about the citizens found in property-owning democracies and liberal socialist regimes. These regimes do not merely correctly recognize and uphold the importance of central principles of justice, but they also correctly recognize each other in an identity-forming way. These citizens mutually recognize one another as free and equal, but also they identify with others in a common bond of citizenship. Rawlsian justice is more than about principles and reciprocity; it is also about mutual recognition and shared identity. This becomes clearer when we look to the reasons why Rawls favors some regimes over others.


The structure of this article is as follows. First, I begin with a brief explication of the relevant background. This will focus on Rawls's two principles of justice. Secondly, I will then explain how these principles are applied by Rawls to demonstrate which regimes may be acceptable for justice as fairness. This discussion will highlight the central importance of the criterion of reciprocity. The article will conclude with an examination of the importance of reciprocity in Rawls's account and how it may say something new about the citizens Rawls has in mind for regimes such as a property-owning democracy."

Monday, July 23, 2012

New books, new book series

Today, I have received new books in two book series I edit. The first is Kelly Staples, Retheorising Statelessness: A Background Theory of Membership in World Politics (Edinburgh University Press, 2012). The blurb:

"Stateless persons are increasingly a concern of governments, international agencies and NGOs. Now, Kelly Staples supplies a much-needed political theorisation of statelessness. Her membership theory framework combines theory and contemporary case studies to demonstrate the connection between the protections of state membership, the burdens of statelessness and the situation of stateless persons."
This book appears in the Studies in Global Justice and Human Rights series. Several books are scheduled for release shortly, including Peter W. Higgins, Immigration Justice; Joshua J. Kassner, Rwanda and the Moral Obligation of Humanitiarian Intervention; Patti Tamara Lenard and Christine Straehle (eds), Health Inequalities and Global Justice; Daniel H. Levine, The Morality of Peacekeeping; Andras Miklos, Institutions in Global Distributive Justice; and Oche Onazi, Community and Human Rights. All books in this series are distributed in North America by Columbia University Press.



The second book is Alan Tapper and T. Brian Mooney (eds), Meaning and Morality: Essays on the Philosophy of Julius Kovesi (Brill, 2012). The blurb:

Julius Kovesi's Moral Notions (1967) was a startlingly original contribution to moral philosophy and theory of meaning. After initial positive reviews Kovesi's book was largely forgotten. Nevertheless, it continued to have an enduring influence on a number of philosophers and theologians some of whom have contributed to this volume. The original essays collected here critique, analyze, deepen and extend the work of Kovesi. The book will be of particular interest to moral philosophers and those working on concept formation, while also having a broader appeal to social scientists grappling with the description/evaluation problem.

This book appears in the Studies in Moral Philosophy (SIMP) series. Earlier volumes include Thom Brooks (ed.), Ethics and Moral Philosophy (2011) and Thom Brooks (ed.), Global Justice and International Affairs (2012). The next scheduled book is Thom Brooks (ed.), Law and Legal Theory (forthcoming).

Stephen Perry on "Political Authority and Political Obligation"

. . . is one of the best papers on this topic I have read in several years. The paper is highly recommended, forthcoming in the vol. 2 of the Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Law, and it can be found here. The abstract is:

Legitimate political authority is often said to involve a “right to rule,” which is most plausibly understood as a Hohfeldian moral power on the part of the state to impose obligations on its subjects (or otherwise to change their normative situation). Many writers have taken the state’s moral power (if and when it exists) to be a correlate, in some sense, of an obligation on the part of the state’s subjects to obey its directives. Thus legitimate political authority is said to entail a general obligation to obey the law, and a general obligation to obey the law is said to entail legitimate political authority. With some version of this idea in mind, many writers attempt to establish full (or partial) legitimate political authority by first arguing for the intermediate conclusion that there exists a general (or partial) obligation to obey the law. This article argues that such a strategy is fundamentally mistaken, because while legitimate authority does indeed entail an obligation to obey the law, an obligation to obey the law does not, in and of itself, entail legitimate authority. This can be referred to as “the reverse entailment problem.” To avoid this problem, a theory of political authority must argue directly for the existence of the appropriate kind of moral power on the part of the state. This article argues for the “value-based” conception of a moral power, which states, very roughly, that one person holds a power over another if there is sufficient value in the former possessing the capacity intentionally to impose an obligation on the latter (or otherwise to change her normative situation). This seemingly simple understanding of a moral power gives rise to surprisingly strong adequacy conditions on what can count as an acceptable theory of legitimate political authority, and these conditions decisively rule out most of the standard theories in the literature.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Academic journal best practice

Readers will know my longstanding interest in developing best practice for academic journals through my work in relaunching the Association of Philosophy Journal Editors with Carol Gould and forthcoming essay on editing advice.

I am particularly delighted by the newly published "Best Practices in Journal Publishing" in the current Proceedings of the American Philosophical Association found here. These guidelines of academic journals in philosophy are the product of a special subcommittee on journal practices consisting of Thomas Baldwin, Thom Brooks, Stewart Cohen, Matti Eklund, Susan Feagin, Leslie Francis, Carol Gould, Sally Haslanger, Katherine Hawley, Hilary Kornblith, Peter Markie, Henry Richardson, Ernest Sosa, John Symons, and Robert Talisse. I'm proud of our report and believe that it helps flesh out important standards all journals should attempt to uphold.

Comments welcome!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Social Science Research Network

I strongly encourage readers to join the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) if you have not already. A fantastic and free depository of online research in law, philosophy, political science, and many other subjects that I have found extremely worthwhile. It's easy to register, use, and discover new work. I have been using it for the last few years -- my papers are found here - and it has been enormously useful. The main website is here and highly recommended.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

APA Committee on Philosophy and Law

Colleagues working in legal philosophy should consider a three-year appointment to the American Philosophical Association's Committee on Philosophy and Law. I joined the committee in 2007 and I have served as its Chair since 2009. (I remain especially grateful to the APA for this honour in light of my working outside North America during this time.) My term expires shortly and I will be replaced by the fantastic Melinda Roberts.

Committee activities are primarily centred on organizing panels at the APA's divisional meetings (Eastern, Central, Pacific). Further activities include our Berger Prize for best essay in legal philosophy awarded every two years. We also regularly publish an illuminating Newsletter. The committee offers several opportunities to become more involved in the workings of the APA and the promotion of the philosophy of law in the discipline.

Nominations remain open -- and candidates may self-nominate themselves. It is required that all nominees are APA members. The APA website is here. Interested colleagues should feel free to contact me via my homepage if there are any questions.

Res Philosophica

Some breaking news on a journal relaunch. The journal The Modern Schoolman is being relaunched as Res Philosophica. Details here.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

"The Academic Journal Editor: Secrets Revealed"

This is an editorial will appear in Journal of Moral Philosophy 9(3) (2012) that can be found HERE. The abstract:

"Academic publishing is a world filled with more mystery than revelation. Often the best advice is made available only to those lucky enough to hear it by word of mouth. This is no less true with editing academic journals. I have enjoyed the honour of launching the Journal of Moral Philosophy and serving as its editor for the last ten years. I actively sought out the best advice on a number of issues from editors serving on leading journals as well as their publishers. Despite the fact that most of the conversations focused on journals in the areas of law, philosophy, and political science, I believe that much of the general advice remains true for most disciplines.


This editorial brings together some lessons learned over the years and reveals some secrets about the trade. My purpose is to improve the information available to share best practice and offer some insight into the minds of academic journal editors. This is a task I have performed previously on the topics of publishing advice and referee guidelines that I extend now to journal editing. I begin with a brief note about my background experiences before moving to advice on how to successfully propose a new journal to a publisher. I then discuss topics such as managing a journal launch before considering advice on the effective management of submissions received and further advice on journal development."

Friday, June 08, 2012

Brian Leiter on "Legal Realisms, Old and New"

. . .  can be found HERE and ESSENTIAL reading for anyone with an interest in the subject. The abstract:

"“Legal Realism” now has sufficient cache that scholars from many different fields and countries compete to claim the mantle of the "Realist program": from political scientists who study judicial behavior, to the "law and society" scholars associated with the Wisconsin New Legal Realism project, to philosophers interested in a naturalized jurisprudence. But what does it mean to be a “legal realist”? What unites the two most famous “old” Legal Realisms—the American and the Scandinavian—with the “new legal realism” invoked, variously, by sociologists, anthropologists, and political scientists, among others? There are, of course, other “legal realisms,” old and new, from the “free law” movement in Germany more than a century ago, to the Italian realism of the Genoa School today. My focus, however, shall be on the old and new Realisms that are probably most familiar. Is there anything they all share?

I argue that (1) American and Scandinavian Realism have almost nothing in common--indeed, that H.L.A. Hart misunderstood the latter as he did the former, and that the Scandinavians are closer to Hart and even Kelsen than they are to the Americans; (2) all Realists share skepticism about the causal efficacy of legal doctrine in explaining judicial decisions ("the Skeptical Doctrine") (though the Scandinavian skepticism on this score is not at all specific to the legal domain, encompassing all explanation in terms of norms); (3) American Realism almost entirely eschewed social-scientific methods in its defense of the Skeptical Doctrine, contrary to the impression given by much recent work by "new" legal realists; (4) the myth that the American Realists were seriously interested in social science derives mainly from two unrepresentative examples, Underhill Moore's behaviorism and Llewellyn's work with the Cheyenne Indians. Moore's case is a cautionary note in taking au courant social science too seriously; and Llewellyn's work was necessitated by the fact that the "primitive" peoples he wanted to study did not write their judicial opinions down. For any modern legal culture, such "field work" would be unnecessary on Llewellyn's view."

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Looks Philosophical

. . . is a website that showcases philosophers in a different light. Send your photos and comments in now to be considered. My spot is found here.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Austerity isn't working - the evidence

A MUST WATCH debate broadcast on the BBC is available here. The debate was aired on BBC Newsnight with guests Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman, venture capitalist (and sometimes agitated pen waver) Jon Moulton, and Conservative MP Andrea Leadsom. Krugman -- almost too easily -- exposes austerity myths for what they are and shows how calls for austerity appear to be driven far more from ideological zeal than economic evidence. Brilliance.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thom Brooks on "Preserving Capabilities"

. . . is published today in the American Journal of Bioethics and found online here.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Monday, May 21, 2012

CFP: Ethical Citizenship

I write to request expressions of interest to contribute to a book or special issue on the topic of Ethical Citizenship: British Idealism and the Politics of Recognition. The project brief:


"Citizenship is an idea about the duties and obligations that members of a political community have to one another. This is the first book length treatment to explore the idea of ethical citizenship that was developed by British Idealists, such as Bosanquet, Bradley, Collingwood, Green, and Seth. Ethical citizenship is about a particularly communitarian relationship between compatriots based around a conception of the common good. These essays will illuminate the idea of ethical citizenship and explain how this idea has practical relevance in policy debates today in a contribution that is both scholarly and timely that will benefit those interested in British Idealism as well as those looking for new highly promising concepts to better inform and improve how we design public policy today."

I am looking for papers that may take a more historical angle - such as exploring how British Idealists have redefined the idea of citizenship in their work - and also papers that speak specifically to the contemporary relevance of their contributions, a topic of particular interest for me.

Please send me a proposed title and abstract (100-250 words) by *15 JUNE 2012* to t.brooks@newcastle.ac.uk if you are interested. Selected papers would not be due until the following June 2013. Let me know if you have any questions.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Jeremy Waldron's inaugural Chichele lecture

. . . can be found here. It is entitled "Political Political Theory" and most highly recommended!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Journal of Moral Philosophy - online first!

The Journal of Moral Philosophy is now publishing papers online prior to appearance in our journal in print. Papers may be found here.

Please visit the JMP homepage - at http://www.brill.nl/jmp - for more information about our journal.

Our next issue will feature a special editorial on editing academic journals where I will be bringing together lessons learned over the years from serving as managing editor of the International Journal of Philosophical Studies, founding editor of the Review Journal of Political Philosophy, editor and founder of the Journal of Moral Philosophy, and co-chair of the relaunched Association of Philosophy Journal Editors. Most, if not all, secrets to be revealed....!

Where are you on global pay?

Terrific interactive chart and commentary from the BBC here.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Fairness and Responsibility in an Unequal Society conference

The Senate Room, Senate House, University of London
Thursday 28th June 2012, 9.30am – 5.30pm

In the wake of the financial crisis there has been a renewed interested in issues of fairness and responsibility. But what do these notions really mean? And how should they be applied to the social issues of our time? At same time there is concern at the increase in social and economic inequality, both nationally and globally. Which types of inequality ought be of primary concern, and what can be done about them? How does the recent emphasis on fairness and responsibility fit with the aim of reducing inequality? Can appeals to such notions help to reduce inequality, or do they detract from such efforts? What role ought such notions play in international efforts to reduce poverty and encourage development?
The conference marks the end of a four-year project on inequality, responsibility and fairness, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council at the University of Exeter. Four panels composed of prominent policy-leaders and academics will debate the issues, providing a forum for the exchange of ideas between policy and academy. Confirmed speakers include:

Keynote

Will Hutton (Principal of Hertford College, Oxford, former Editor-in-Chief of The Observer, author of Them and Us: Changing Britain – Why We Need a Fair Society)

Panel: The Fair Society

Rachel Reeves (MP for Leeds West and Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury)

Keith Hyams (Senior Lecturer in Political Theory, University of Exeter)

Andrew Harrop (General Secretary, Fabian Society)

Mark Hammond (Chief Executive, the Equalities and Human Rights Commission; Visiting Professor in Public Administration at Canterbury Christchurch University)

Panel: Economic and Social Inequality in Britain

Bill Kerry (Co-Founder and Director, The Equality Trust)

Martin O’Neill (Lecturer in Political Theory, University of York)

Karen Rowlingson (Professor of Social Policy, University of Birmingham)

Patrick Diamond (Visiting Fellow in Politics, University of Oxford, Senior Research Fellow, the Policy Network, former Head of Policy Planning at Downing Street)

Panel: Responsibility and Fairness in Taxation and Public Services

Rick Muir (Associate Director for Public Service Reform, Institute for Public Policy Research)

Zofia Stemplowska (Associate Professor in Political Theory, University of Warwick)

Sonia Sodha (Head of Strategy, Social Research Unit)

Panel: Risk and Inequality in International Development

Duncan Green (Head of Research, Oxfam)

Tom Sorell (Professor of Global Ethics, University of Birmingham)

Thom Brooks (Reader in Political and Legal Philosophy, Newcastle University)


To book a place please visit http://tinyurl.com/fairnessconf. Spaces are limited so early booking is recommended. Please contact Keith Hyams (k.d.hyams@exeter.ac.uk) with any enquiries. Generously supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Thom Brooks on "Between Statism and Cosmopolitanism: Hegel and the Possibility of Global Justice"

. . . is a chapter in the forthcoming Hegel and Global Justice (Springer, 2012) edited by Andrew Buchwalter. The paper's abstract:

"Some commentators on Hegel’s political philosophy have doubted the possibility of a Hegelian theory of global justice. The argument is that Hegel’s theory of international relations is classically realist in an extreme sense: not only is the state the locus of the highest sphere of political right, the only judge between states internationally is ‘history’ rather than any global institution. Thus, Hegel appears to quite radically reject cosmopolitanism and perhaps even the idea of global justice. This essay will sympathetically engage with critics in trying to convince them of another possibility. I will argue that we can uncover a clear theory of global justice in Hegel’s Philosophy of Right with clear connections with recent leading work by contemporary philosophers, such as David Miller and Martha Nussbaum. A Hegelian theory of global justice is possible and, I will try to argue, attractive."

A direct link to the paper can be found here.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Effective criminal justice for all

. . . is my new essay found here at the Labour Party-affiliated Progress website. The essay is part of their "alternative Queen's speech" series.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Climate Change and Negative Duties

My paper in Politics is currently free to download. The link is here. The paper's abstract:

"Climate change and its harmful effects are widely accepted. A common approach is to argue along the lines of Mill's ‘harm principle’: if we contribute to climate change, then we are likewise responsible for harming others and we have a negative duty to reduce our carbon emissions. This article argues that a negative duty leads to a philosophical fork in the road which does not necessarily entail carbon emissions reductions. Arguments for such reductions require further supplementation to close off possible non-conservationist alternatives."

The Ten Commandments of Public Policy

. . . according to "GOD" (as he was known when Cabinet Secretary), or more formally Sir Gus O'Donnell. The commandments are discussed in a brief, but informative essay found here. The Ten Commandments are:

"1) Though shalt be clear about the outcomes that you want to achieve
2) Thou shalt evaluate policy as objectively as possible
3) Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbour’s policies
4) Thou shall not assume the government has to solve every problem
5) Thou shalt not rush to legislate
6) Honour the evidence and use it to make decisions
7) Thou shalt be clear who is accountable for what and line up the powers and the accountabilities
8) Thou shalt not kill the messenger
9) Thou shalt not forget that it is a privilege to serve
10) Thou shalt keep a sense of proportion"