Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Thom Brooks on The Global Justice Reader

I have just received my copies of my new The Global Justice Reader. It is published by Blackwell. Information about the book can be found on Blackwell's website. The Amazon.com site is here and the Amazon.co.uk site is here.

The book's description is as follows:

"The Global Justice Reader is a first-of-its kind collection that brings together key foundational and contemporary writings on this important topic in moral and political philosophy. Designed for course use, and organized thematically, each section of the text offers a brief introduction followed by important readings on subjects ranging from sovereignty, human rights, and nationalism to global poverty, terrorism, and international environmental justice. Key seminal works from Thomas Hobbes, Immanuel Kant, and John Rawls are included alongside important contemporary writings from a cast of leading thinkers in the field."

"The Global Justice Reader is an important work of our time. It means that we can chart the development of the idea of justice in terms of the themes that occupy our world today. This book is a great idea about a great idea."

Robert Imre, University of Notre Dame

"Thom Brooks' The Global Justice Reader fills an urgent need for those who teach the philosophical dimensions of global issues, and their students. Brooks has pulled together an interesting and provocative set of articles, many of them classics in their fields. This book will set the benchmark against which others will be judged."

Stephen Gardiner, University of Washington

"This is both the broadest and the deepest selection of texts on morality beyond borders. Those looking for sharp analyses of crucial issues in global justice will find this collection clearly the best choice."

Leif Wenar, University of Sheffield

Thom Brooks, ed. The Global Justice Reader. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008.

Table of contents


Part I: Sovereignty
1 Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan
2 Charles R. Beitz, “A State of Nature”
3 Thomas W. Pogge, “Cosmopolitanism and Sovereignty”

Part II: Rights to Self-Determination
4 Avishai Margalit and Joseph Raz, “National Self-Determination
5 Allen Buchanan, “Theories of Secession”

Part III: Human Rights
6 United Nations, Universal Declaration of Human Rights
7 Leif Wenar, “The Nature of Rights”
8 Charles R. Beitz, “Human Rights as a Common Concern”
9 Peter Jones, “Group Rights and Group Oppression”
10 David Sussman, “What’s Wrong with Torture?”

Part IV: Rawls’s The Law of Peoples
11 John Rawls, The Law of Peoples
12 Thomas W. Pogge, “An Egalitarian Law of Peoples”

Part V: Nationalism and Patriotism
13 Robert E. Goodin, “What is so Special about our Fellow Countrymen?”
14 David Miller, “The Ethics of Nationality”
15 Martha C. Nussbaum, “Patriotism and Cosmopolitanism”

Part VI: Cosmopolitanism
16 Immanuel Kant, Perpetual Peace
17 J├╝rgen Habermas, “Kant’s Idea of Perpetual Peace, with the Benefit of Two Hundred Years’ Hindsight”
18 Thomas W. Pogge, “Moral Universalism and Global Economic Justice”

Part VII: Global Poverty and International Distributive Justice
19 Peter Singer, “Famine, Affluence, and Morality”
20 Leif Wenar, “What We Owe to Distant Others”
21 Thomas Nagel, “The Problem of Global Justice”
22: Thomas W. Pogge, “Eradicating Systematic Poverty: Brief for a Global Resources Dividend”
23 Lisa L. Fuller, “Poverty Relief, Global Institutions, and the Problem of Compliance”

Part VIII: Just War
24 St Thomas Aquinas, “War, Sedition, and Killing”
25 John Stuart Mill, “A Few Words on Non-Intervention”
26 United Nations, Charter, Chapter VII
27 Thomas Nagel, “War and Massacre”
28 Michael Walzer, “Anticipations”
29 Jeff McMahan, “Just Cause for War”

Part IX: Terrorism
30 Michael Walzer, “Noncombatant Immunity and Military Necessity”
31 David Rodin, “Terrorism Without Intention”
32 Saul Smilansky, “Terrorism, Justification, and Illusion”

Part X: Women and Global Justice
33 Susan Moller Okin, “Is Multiculturalism Bad for Women?”
34 Martha C. Nussbaum, “Capabilities as Fundamental Entitlements: Sen and Social Justice”
35 Martha C. Nussbaum, “The Role of Religion”
36 Carol C. Gould, “Conceptualizing Women’s Human Rights”

Part XI: International Environmental Justice
37 Peter Singer, “One Atmosphere”
38 Simon Caney, “Cosmopolitan Justice, Responsibility, and Global Climate Change”


I do hope The Global Justice Reader will be a real success and encourage readers to take a close look at it. This book is the first of a four book deal I have agreed with Blackwell. The next three books include a second edited book, Hegel's Philosophy of Right: Essays on Ethics, Politics, and Law (2010), and two monographs: Global Justice and Political Philosophy: The Fundamentals, the latter appearing in Blackwell's "Fundamentals in Philosophy" series. I will have a monograph, Punishment (Routledge), and edited book, The Right to Fair Trial (Ashgate), appear later this year.

So who exactly reads the Brooks Blog?

Needless to say, my sincere thanks to readers for their interest in this blog. I will certainly continue to keep it interesting!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Time to push for liberal arts in the UK? On the government's latest higher education funding proposals

Yet more proposals for funding higher education have been proposed by the British Government. If there is anything that has really surprised me since moving to the UK, then it is how often ---and how radically different--- new Government proposals for funding higher education take place.

First, let me present what the BBC reports today (see here):


"[. . .] The grant letter from the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills, John Denham (pictured), says public spending on higher education institutions will exceed £7bn this year.

When added to the money for student support, spending would rise by an average of 2.5% each year over the next three years, his department said.

He set out a series of priorities for the sector:
* increasing student numbers by 60,000 for those entering higher education for the first time or taking a higher level qualification by 2010/11
* fostering closer ties between universities and industry, with an aim of 15,000 more full-time students being co-funded by employers by 2010/11
* a target of 100,000 foundation degree enrolments by 2010
* more two-year compressed honours degrees
* widening participation across the country
* stronger links between universities, schools and colleges
* building on the programme of investment in research and innovation

Mr Denham said: "The government is investing more in higher education than ever before with record numbers of students going to university. By 2011, funding for higher education will have increased by over 30% in real terms since 1997, but with increased financial support comes a higher expectation on institutions to widen participation and reach out to new talent by working more closely with schools and employers. I believe the opportunities of higher education should be open to all and I am confident that by increasing the number of students in higher education we will deliver a highly skilled workforce and world class research to ensure an economically competitive UK fit for the 21st century."


Readers will know my previous comments on higher education funding proposals. Let me know respond to the latest round:

First, we must ask if there will be extra cash for new students. The present allocation of 2.5% may not be enough to cover the costs of students. According to the National Statistics, inflation is currently at (CPI) 2.1% -- but the RPI is at 4.0% (and RPIX at 3.1%). Even if not a cut, then universities have never received enough funding from the government in recent years to cover teaching provision: these losses are made up through research income. It is one thing to say that universities can admit more students (and the recent top-up fee increase to £3,000 for UK/EU students has helped). However, it is something else to offer proper funding for these new places.

Secondly, the cash seems to come from both streamlining programmes and getting funding from industry. Thus, at least 15,000 of the 60,000 new student places . . . are to funded through university and industry partnerships, and not by the government or higher fees. (This assumes that industry will have an interest in sponsoring such deals.) This move is coupled with 'streamlining' the traditional British B.A. degree from its current three year course to just two years.

This latter move may work against the former plan. Let me explain. The government wants universities to explore and develop new links with industry. The idea seems to be (a) let industry foot an increasing part of the bill for higher educaton, saving the taxpayer some cash, and (b) these new links will help foster a more employable workforce. At the same time, streamlining the B.A. degree to just two years is allegedly a move to make this more employable workforce ready for employment earlier, in two years rather than three. (And the shorter timeframe will be cheaper: this is a constant goal of a party founding itself on the mantra 'education, education, education' curiously enough.)

The problem with this plan is that I doubt shrinking further the length of a B.A. will create a better workforce. If we were serious about the needs of the workplace, then surely flexibility should be a priority. Over the last few decades in the UK, United States, and elsewhere, we have seen region after region transform their economy. My own city of Newcastle upon Tyne is no exception. About ten years ago, more coal was transported along the Tyne River than anywhere else on the planet. Today, the coal industry is virtually gone. Banking and IT form the dominant sector, with the University of Newcastle the city's largest employer. The trick is not getting degrees partly paid for by a firm in one industry or sector in as short a time as possible, but creating a more dynamic and flexible workforce that can move from sector to sector.

The solution to this problem may be to move to a liberal arts. In the UK, students normally study just one subject during their three years. Thus, most of our students in Politics classes are taking Single Honours Politics degrees. A large minority study joint degrees, such as Politics & History or Politics & Economics, where students take classes in just two subjects during their three years. Some students study in 'Combined Honours', choosing two or even three subjects. Thus, no one studies more than two or three subjects at university during their three years. This has the tremendous advantage ---which no British university has yet fully capitalized on in my knowledge--- of appealling to students who only want to study just one or two subjects....and finish in three years. The disadvantage may be that if you study just one or two subjects, then you don't study four or more subjects. Students ---as in the United States and elsewhere--- increasingly study one subject and then work in a different subject. (I am no different: I originally received a music degree, later studying philosophy and now work in a politics department.) It may be the time to begin a wider conversation about the value of introducing a strong liberal arts programme in the United Kingdom that might better prepare our students for an increasingly dynamic and everchanging workplace, rather than the government's (characteristically) shortsighted proposal that will see students more narrow than ever. In my view, this may be a mistake.

Finally, Denham expects us all to create these new forged relationships with industry, lecture in more teaching-intensive 'compressed' degree programmes, and (a) increase widening participation, (b) create stronger links with schools, and (c) generate further 'investment in research and innovation' (on 'innovation' read 'get money from industry to fund your research'). These are a lot of potentially conflicting goals to face all at once, and near impossible to achieve in a year or two given the already dramatic changes regarding student numbers. When will any of us have time to write the papers and books that count for the forthcoming REF?

In any event, I am hardly surprised to find Denham's proposals shortsighted and ill conceived, even if I might agree (in principle) with widening participation, etc. The big question to take away from all of this is whether or not it is time to push for a liberal arts curriculum in the UK. My own view is that this time is nearly here.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Martin Luther King, Jr. at the University of Newcastle

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the United States. It is then fitting to post something on King that may be of interest, and not well known beyond colleagues in Newcastle.

Surely, one of the proudest moments at the University of Newcastle was when it awarded an honorary Doctor of Civil Law to Martin Luther King, Jr. on November 13, 1967. King was assassinated five months later.

The photo on the left was taken of King on the day. Further details of this award can be found here. In addition, there is actual film footage of King's speech to the university that can be found here! I highly recommend a viewing of the speech, given in our Armstrong Building . . . where Newcastle students continue to receive their degrees today.

Friday, January 18, 2008

NEW Publishing Advice for Graduate Students

Over the years, I have offered what is now an annual 'speech' on publishing advice aimed at graduate students and junior academics. I recorded much of my early talks in a paper, first posted on the Political Studies Association's postgraduate website, and later on the Social Science Research Network expecting little to follow beyond, hopefully, helping a few understand publishing better. The response was extraordinary. The essay fast became the most downloaded document on the PSA postgraduate site and the paper has now been downloaded 2,119 times since December 2005. This original essay ('The Postgraduate's Guide to Getting Published') can be downloaded here.

Since originally posting that paper, I have received much advice since and I have developed my speech far more than before to include book contracts, in addition to articles. At long last, I have written a far more substantial essay 'Publishing Advice for Graduate Students' that is available on SSRN here. The paper's abstract is:

"Graduate students often lack concrete advice on publishing. This essay is an attempt to fill this important gap. Advice is given on how to publish everything from book reviews to articles, replies to book chapters, and how to secure both edited book contracts and authored monograph contracts, along with plenty of helpful tips and advice on the publishing world (and how it works) along the way in what is meant to be a comprehensive, concrete guide to publishing that should be of tremendous value to graduate students working in any area of the humanities and social sciences."

I have tried to provide what is---I hope---excellent advice on virtually all areas of publishing: book reviews, replies/discussions/research notes, articles, book chapters, edited books, and monographs. I am constantly updating my publishing advice and I would greatly welcome any feedback readers might have to offer.

Please do feel free to forward the link to this paper--- http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1085245 ---far and wide.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Newcastle Ethics, Legal, & Political Philosophy Workshop Series - Spring 2008

Newcastle University

Spring 2008 seminar schedule

13th February
Willie Charlton (Edinburgh)
"Plato’s Social Psychology"

27th February
Professor Leslie Green (Oxford)
"Positivism and the Inseparability of Law and Morals"

12th March
Professor Paul Kelly (London School of Economics)
"What’s the Problem with ‘Culture’?"

16th April
Professor John Baker (University College Dublin)
"Dimensions of Equality"

30th April
Dr James Wilberding (Classics, Newcastle)
"The Auxiliary and the Timocrat: Plato and the Desire for Honor"

7th May
Professor David Clarke (Music, Newcastle)
"Music and the Politics of Cultural Pluralism"

14th May
Dr David Rose (Philosophical Studies, Newcastle)
"Hegel, Communitarians, and the Liberal Assumption"

All meetings will take place in the Politics Building room G6 at Newcastle University from 4.00-6.00pm. Meetings are free and open to the public.

In addition, we will hold two half day workshops. The first is planned for Tuesday, 5th February on the topic of political participation. Speakers will include William Maloney (Newcastle), John Parkinson (York), and Jurg Steiner (UNC-Chapel Hill). The second workshop is on deliberative democracy and planned for April. Speakers will include Thom Brooks (Newcastle), Ian O'Flynn (Newcastle), and Robert Talisse (Vanderbilt). Finally, we are planning two major conferences in about one year's time. The first will take place in March 2009 with Philip Pettit (Princeton) and the second will take place in June 2009 with Martha Nussbaum (Chicago). More details will follow over the next couple months.

For more details on any of these events, please contact me (email: t.brooks at newcastle.ac.uk or phone: +44 (0)191 222 5288).