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:

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:


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

CFP: Brave New World


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 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 Or visit our blog at


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.] website 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




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

Available at HERE (US launch is 27 December 2012)

Available at 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.


"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


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


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.