Friday, August 23, 2013

Government should make greater use of university academics as specialist consultants

. . .is my new post at the British Politics & Policy at LSE blog HERE.

Justice as a Matter of Stakeholding

. . . is my new guest blog for No Offence! found here.

Monday, August 19, 2013

How Global is Global Justice? Towards a Global Philosophy

. . . is a chapter in my forthcoming edited book New Waves in Global Justice (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014) that can be read here. The abstract:

Global justice as a field must confront a central problem: how global is global justice? A defining feature about the burgeoning literature in global justice is its operation within a bounded, philosophical tradition. Global justice research is too often a product of one tradition in self-isolation from others that nonetheless claims to speak for what is best for all. This criticism applies to various philosophical traditions whether so-called “analytic,” “Continental” or others. The problem is that each tradition too often works independently from others to construct new ideas about the promotion of global justice: these ideas are designed by some for application to all. “Global” justice may have an international reach, but it too often lacks a more global character. The development of a more global approach to global justice raises several vexing questions. What does it mean to have a “global” approach to global justice? How “global” should any such approach be? And how can a coherent and compelling model for it be constructed?
This chapter develops a new approach for a more distinctly global view of global justice: the idea of global philosophy. Most approaches to global justice are developed within bounded philosophical traditions. One problem is that each offers contributions to global justice that is constricted by the narrow bounds of their particular tradition. The issue is not only that global justice may be overly culturally-specific, but rather that bounded traditions close off important resources for addressing philosophical problems that can be accessed through closer engagement with other philosophical traditions. A global philosophy is then a more “unbound philosophy” better suited for a globalized world. Our world is ever-changing with ideas and people travelling as never before. It is time for philosophy to catch up with these developments and this chapter will explain why and how.

CFP: Society for the Theory of Ethics and Politics - Northwestern University

The conference is March 13-15, 2014 and the conference website (which needs to be updated) is here.

Friday, August 16, 2013

New journal rankings for philosophy

It has been a couple years since my last "list of lists" ranking of philosophy journals in bands A, B, C and so on last undertaken in 2011. While I suspect this list continues to remain generally accurate today, there have been some notable events since such as the appearance of some new journals and reinvigorated journals. Plus, several have come under new editors which may have impacts on how readers and authors view them.

So expect a widely publicized survey of the leading philosophy journals later this month....

Monday, August 12, 2013

"Life in the UK" citizenship test handbook may contain hundreds of facts not included on the test

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Migration has published the UK government's response to a recent APPG report, including the government's response to criticisms about the Life in the UK citizenship test raised in my comprehensive report.

The government confirms - as predicted in my report - that hundreds of facts included in the official test handbook are not, in fact, included in any Life in the UK test. This is despite the clear statement in the official test handbook that all parts of the book must be known because all may be part of a test -- this is now denied although no revised test handbook appears to be in preparation to account for this change.

Specifically, the government's response notes that the dates of birth and death of various people noted in the official handbook are not tested. Nor is other information, such as questions about the height of the London Eye (in feet and in metres) widely reported by the media -- despite the official handbook including this information. Over 275 dates are noted in this handbook along with several telephone numbers (including the main offices for regional assemblies, but omitting the Northern Ireland Assembly and no mention of either 999 or 111).

So it appears hundreds of facts are not, in fact, included in the Life in the UK test despite this being stated clearly in the official handbook's first chapter. It is not altogether surprising - as noted in my critical report (the most comprehensive, forensic examination of this test available) - as there are about 3,000 facts listed in the handbook. My report recommends that there be untested facts (such as useful websites, etc.), but that these be clearly grouped together in a chapter or appendix that is explicitly "for information purposes only" and not included in the test.

It seems a clear error to group so much information that will never be tested with so much that might be tested without any clear indication of what must (and need not) be learned given the costs and implications involved. Another illustration of problems with the test at its very core as a project that seems to have been rushed and poorly delivered.

Friday, August 09, 2013

Home Office still claims "Go Home" vans worked without providing any supporting evidence. Again.

The BBC story is here. The Tory-led Government approved a scheme where vans carrying billboards stating to illegal immigrants "Go Home" would drive through specific areas of London -- affecting communities with a high ethnic minority population. The vans advertised a number that an illegal immigrant could text message to learn how to return to his or her home country.

The advertisement has been highly controversial since its launch. The Liberal Democrats - coalition partners of the Tories - have declared their strong opposition. The Labour Party and other groups, including UKIP, are opposed to these vans as well. Their use has been described as divisive, offensive and irresponsible.

The Home Office continues to claim the vans have "worked" and it continues to refuse to provide any evidence to support (or deny) this claim. It might appear that the Home Office is stating what it hopes will prove true...and waiting for any confirmation that it could announce later to show it was true all along.

This affair continues to prove highly embarrassing for the Government, especially for its Liberal Democrat partners. This effort to win over UKIP voters seems not to have done this and actually undermine support for the Tories in tackling immigration.

More damaging is that it perpetuates an image -- the Tories as the nasty party -- that PM Cameron has been so desperate to bury.

The only winners appear to be UKIP: these vans have kept immigration issues in the news and now UKIP can claim to be less nasty and offensive than the Tories (insofar as UKIP has opposed the use of these vans).

Sounds like the Tories could do with much better advice.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

New interview about my book "Punishment" with New Books in Philosophy [UPDATE]

. . . available here - and many thanks to Bob Talisse for being such a fantastic host at New Books in Philosophy!

UPDATE: My interview is cross-listed on several sites:

New Books in Law

New Books in Philosophy

New Books in Political Science

New Books in Public Policy