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

Elected Police and Crime Commissioners: Preparing for "the Great Unknown"

My latest essay for the Labour Party group Progress may be found here.

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 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 - 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:


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 Spaces are limited so early booking is recommended. Please contact Keith Hyams ( 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"