Friday, December 19, 2014

Durham ranked joint 1st for Law in UK

. . . in new research rankings published by The Guardian here.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Durham Law School - 100% of societal impact scored 3* or 4*

Details here. 

Durham University's Law School ranked 3rd nationally in REF2014

The results are out. Durham University's Law School is ranked 3rd nationally in the UK's Research Excellence Framework 2014 exercise. This is a major review of research quality assessing 'outputs' (publications), research environment and impact. Durham ranks behind only KCL and LSE. 

Needless to say, I'm thrilled to see my department perform so well and my congratulations to colleagues at other departments that also enjoyed good news this morning. The news isn't good for everyone - inevitable in any ranking where some will come top and others bottom. In particular, departments where research outputs are 50% or more at 1* and 2* will need to reassess their strategies for 2020. No doubt special attention will also be given to close scrutiny of impact case study narratives at competitor institutions - although having read Durham Law School's impact case studies, I'm unsurprised to see them score so strongly.

These results matter for several reasons. The next exercise is not until 2020 so these rankings will be used to allocate QR funding to universities and inform league tables. But most importantly, these results are a confirmation of the research excellence found throughout the British university sector. The full results for all subjects can be found here.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Durham ranked one of the top 10 best cities in the UK

Details here - and unsurprising to anyone who's been here.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Monday, November 17, 2014

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Next talk: the Ethics, Politics, and Health Symposium, part of the President of Ireland’s Ethics Initiative

. . . and taking place at the University of Limerick. Details here for looks like a great event!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Ancient Republics: A Workshop (Part I)

In collaboration with the Centre for the Study of the Ancient Mediterranean and Near East (CAMNE), the Department of Classics and Ancient History at Durham University is hosting a workshop on Ancient Republics (14-15 November 2014), with the project of investigating the 'Republic' in its many manifestations in the ancient world, and its significance for later theories of Republican thought.  This project represents a collaboration between the Department of Classics and Ancient History at Durham University, the Department of Classics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the Department of Philosophy at the University of California-San Diego.


The first part of the workshop will take place in Durham and will investigate pre-Roman types of 'Republics', with emphasis on ancient Greece and the Near East from the Classical to the late Hellenistic periods.  The second part is scheduled to take place at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on 9-10 April 2015, and it will focus on the 'Republic' and Republicanism in the Roman Republic and Empire.   We hope that further workshops on this fascinating and understudied topic will be planned in the future.


Ancient Republics: A Workshop (Part I)

Friday, 14 November - Saturday, 15 November 2014


All sessions take place at the Ritson Room (CL007)

Department of Classics and Ancient History

Durham University

38 North Bailey, Durham, DH1 3EU


Friday 14 November


Coffee/Tea/Biscuits (from 3pm, Classics and Ancient History Department Library)

Brief Introduction by Phillip Horky (4pm)


Session 1 (4pm-8pm, including break)

Chair: P.J. Rhodes (Durham University)

  • S. Roy (Haverford College): 'Republicanism in the Ancient Near East' (4pm-5:15pm)
  • C. Atack (St Hugh's College, Oxford): 'The tension between monarchy and republic in Xenophon's Cyropaedia' (5:15pm-6:30pm)

Short Break: (6:30pm-6:45pm)

  • R. Brock (University of Leeds): 'koinônia politôn politeias’: membership and participation in the polis'(6:45pm-8pm)


Saturday 15 November 


Session 2 (9:30am-12pm)

Chair: Malcolm Schofield (St. John's College, Cambridge)

  • P. S. Horky (Durham University) and M. R. Johnson (University of California-San Diego): 'A Pythagorean Republic? On Law and Justice attributed to Archytas of Tarentum' (9:30am-10:45am)
  • C. Rowe (Durham University): 'Platonic Republics' (10:45am-12pm)

Lunch 12pm-1:30pm


Session 3 (1:30pm-4pm)

Chair: A. Russell (Durham University)

  • B. Gray (University of Edinburgh): 'Hellenistic poleis' civic ideals, humanism and republicanism' (1:30pm-2:45pm)
  • V. Arena (University College London): 'Republicanism, Rousseau, and the Roman Republic?' (2:45pm-4pm)

The workshop is free and open to the public.  For further information, including how to register, please email the Durham organizer Phillip Horky (  



Phillip Horky (Durham University)

Monte Ransome Johnson (University of California-San Diego)

Grant Nelsestuen (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Monday, November 10, 2014

The facts about immigration & Labour's policies

The FACTS about immigration and Labour's policies to deal with this...

In a week in which the Shadow Home Secretary will visit Basildon to discuss immigration with local residents, I think it is important that we set the record straight over UKIP's misleading statistics and inform people of Labour's policies for government.

UKIP claim they are 'straight talking'. They plaster the phrase all over their leaflets. They think if they talk louder than everyone else and do it with a pint in one hand and a fag in the other, the public will simply believe them. (It helps that they are the only party in British politics not to have been placed under any scrutiny by the media!)
Well in Basildon, UKIP call it straight talking and everyone else just calls it lying and here is why:
CLAIM: UKIP claims there are 26 million unemployed people across Europe after your job
The total number of EU migrants who came to the UK last year is less than 1% of 26 million. And even then many of them were students, not unemployed workers. This isn’t a serious claim.
CLAIM: Immigrants can claim benefits straight away
This is untrue.
Unless non-EU immigrants have indefinite leave to remain – i.e have lived in the UK for 5 years or more - you can't normally claim benefits, such as income support or housing benefit.
EU migrants cannot claim benefits unless they have been in the UK for more than 3 months and are settling in the UK – which means passing what’s called the Habitual Residence Test. Labour wants to extend this period to 6 months.
CLAIM: Most immigrants claim out of work benefits
Overall, migrants pay more in taxes than they claim in benefits and only 2.6% of EU migrants claim unemployment benefits. The rest are working, studying or supporting themselves, for instance a retired person living with family. Non-EU migrants usually can’t claim benefits at all.
CLAIM: Immigrants get priority for housing
This is not true. The previous Labour Government changed the rules so most foreign nationals who have recently come to England are not eligible for social housing.
The current and previous government have also put in place powers new guidance so that Councils can ensure people have a local connection before getting housing.
New research from the House of Commons library shows that foreign nationals who arrived in the past two years make up 0.5% of those living in social housing.
CLAIM: We can’t do anything about EU immigration and that’s what people are worried about
We can. We can have longer and stronger restrictions on new EU countries, which Labour is committed to.
We can also ensure EU migration is not used to exploit and undercut local jobs and wages. Serious exploitation and undercutting should be a crime and only Labour will do that.
We can also change Europe to make the system fairer.
What level will immigration be under Labour?
We believe immigration was too high and we want it to come down.
But we won’t set a false target for all immigration as the Government has done because that has badly failed. They promised net migration would be in the tens of thousands. In fact it is going up and is over 200,000 – more than double what the Tories promised.
We believe there should be different kinds of controls and targets for different kinds of immigration. So we should not tolerate illegal immigration. We should have less low-skilled immigration. We will continue with the cap. And routes that are open to abuse, such as student visitor visas, should be toughened up. But we also know that university students and doctors coming to work in our NHS are valuable and shouldn’t be reduced.
Overall the pace and scale of immigration under the last Labour Government was too high and we support measures to bring it down.
Will Labour stop free movement of labour in Europe?
We believe free movement of labour needs to be reformed.
We are calling for changes to benefit rules so people coming to look for work are not able to claim benefits for the first 6 months, that people who commit crimes having not been in the UK for long are more easily deported, and for longer transitional controls for new countries joining. And we believe Europe should look at this for the long term. But we don’t believe it is in Britain’s interests to pull out of Europe.
Why is Labour moving to the right on immigration?
We’re not. Neither a right wing reactionary completely closed door policy nor a right wing free market completely open door policy is right for Britain. We know immigration is important for Britain but that’s why it needs to be properly controlled and managed so the system is fair for all.
By stopping exploitation and reinforcing NMW for all, aren’t we just making it even more desirable for EU immigrants to come here?
Exploiting immigrants make them a cheaper option than local workers. That’s the problem we need to tackle.
Immigration and wages
Whilst there is no evidence of an overall impact on wages, some studies have shown that for the lowest paid, there was a small downward pressure on lower wages as a result of immigration.

Don't forget to join Yvette and myself at the immigration streetstall in Basildon town centre at 1pm on Wednesday 12 November.

Feel free to come and talk to us about a whole range of issues, including policing, streetlights, crime and immigration. 
Copyright © *2014, Gavin Callaghan, All rights reserved.

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Sunday, November 09, 2014

Dudley Knowles (1947-2014)

Dudley Knowles was Professor of Philosophy at the University of Glasgow.

The Daily Nous has links to announcements here.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Why the Magna Carta matters for political theory

... is the subject of my video podcast for Magna Carta 800th & the PSA HERE.

Friday, October 31, 2014

CFP: Northwestern University conference on ethics and political philosophy

CFP re: faculty and students - keynote speakers are Frances Kamm and Joseph Raz

Submission Guidelines: 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.  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 work of Frances Kamm and Joseph Raz, such as authority, death and dying, duties, freedom, law, moral status, normativity, permissible harm and killing, practical reason, responsibility, rights, terrorism, torture, value, and war.  Essays should be prepared for blind review in word, rtf, or pdf format.  Graduate submissions should be sent by e-mail to;  faculty submissions should be sent by e-mail to   The deadline is February 15, 2015.  Notices of acceptance will be sent by March 15.  For more information, please contact Kyla Ebels-Duggan at the e-mail address above or visit our website:


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Durham University - Research Fellowships

NOTE: Interested readers should contact me about these opportunities.
Durham University is delighted to announce its 2015/16 International Fellowship Scheme, designed to attract the most talented researchers in Europe and beyond, and to build international networks of scholars with a common passion for today’s most important research challenges.

2015/16 Junior Research Fellowships
Up to 21 Junior Research Fellowships are available (REF: 4076) starting salary will be in the range £31,324 – £35,256 p.a. The closing date is 05 December 2014. Details can be found at:

2015/16 Senior Fellowships
Up to 16 Senior Research Fellowships and 8 Policy & Enterprise Fellowships are available. These Fellowships are available for periods of 6 weeks to 6 months between October 2015 and September 2016 (with a typical stay of 3 months). Applications are considered from researchers with an established or emerging international reputation for scholarship or research leadership. The closing date is 09 January 2015. Details can be found at:

Full details about the Durham International Fellowships for Research and Enterprise and how to apply can be found at:  

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Beyond Retribution - in Think

My article "Beyond Retribution" is in the current issue of Think and can be found here. The abstract:

Retribution enjoys an unwarranted appeal from the public and its politicians. This is because it is impractical and perhaps even incoherent. This does not mean that we should reject the importance of morality for criminal justice nor should we reject the link between desert and proportionality. Nevertheless, we can reject the way retribution has understood these ideas in defense of a more plausible and compelling alternative.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

UKIP must adapt - or it will die

My latest piece for Newcastle's The Journal which can be found HERE.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

In Defence of Punishment and the Unified Theory of Punishment: A Reply

. . . can be found here at SSRN to download. The abstract:

Punishment is a major contribution to contemporary debates concerning the philosophy of punishment. The book advances three overlapping aims. The first is to provide the most comprehensive coverage of this fast moving field. While there are several excellent introductions available, they have become dated without substantive coverage of recent work on communicative theories of punishment or restorative justice, for example. A second aim of the book is to advance a new theory—the ‘unified theory’ of punishment—as a distinctive and compelling alternative to existing approaches. The third and final aim is to consider the relation of theory to practice in order to highlight the conceptual as well as more practical challenges each penal theory faces.

Mark Tunick raises several concerns with my analysis in Punishment. While noting is ‘in many respects an engaging work’, Tunick expresses reservations about my treatment of several penal theories, especially retributivism. He is especially critical of my unified theory of punishment and he has doubts even of the possible coherence of such an account. These are important issues and I am delighted to have this opportunity to clarify my position. I will begin by addressing Tunick’s criticisms of my treatment of some penal theories in general before turning to the central issue about the plausibility—even possibility—of a unified theory of punishment. Much of the concerns raised appear to rest on misinterpretations of my arguments, a problem that I have encountered before from Tunick in his review of my previous book which I also address.

The piece is forthcoming at Criminal Law and Philosophy.

Monday, October 20, 2014

University & College Union members vote to strike

The University & College Union (UCU) are in a trade dispute with employers concerning changes to the USS pension plan. The results of a ballot of UCU members:

Are you prepared to take industrial action consisting of strike action?

    Number of ballot papers counted: 17,212
    Number voting YES: 13,395 (77.8%)
    Number voting NO: 3,817 (22.2%)

Are you prepared to take industrial action consisting of action short of a strike?

    Number of ballot papers counted: 17,154
    Number voting YES: 14,879 (86.7%)
    Number voting NO: 2,275 (13.3%)

The turn-out was about 45%.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Announcement: Cultural Heritage Ethics

An announcement I received and wanted to share:
Cultural Heritage Ethics is an intra-disciplinary book that bridges the gap between theory and practice by bringing together a stellar cast of academics, activists, consultants, journalists, lawyers, and museum practitioners, each contributing their own expertise to the wider debate of what cultural heritage means in the twenty-first century. The volume feels the pulse of the debate on heritage ethics by discussing timely issues such as access, acquisition, archaeological practice, curatorship, education, ethnology, historiography, integrity, legislation, memory, museum management, ownership, preservation, protection, public trust, restitution, human rights, stewardship, and tourism.

This volume is neither a textbook nor a manifesto for any particular approach to heritage ethics, but a snapshot of different positions and approaches that will inspire both thought and action.

Cultural Heritage Ethics provides invaluable reading for students and teachers of philosophy of archaeology, history and moral philosophy – and for anyone interested in the theory and practice of cultural preservation.


Cultural Heritage Ethics was published on 15th October 2014 and can be read for free online at where it is also available in inexpensive e-book, paperback and hardback editions.


Open Book Publishers is a non-profit organization, run by academics in Cambridge and London. We are committed to making high-quality research freely available to readers around the world. We rely on our friends and colleagues to assist in spreading the word about our books, and we thank you for your support.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Talking about asylum seekers, Middlesbrough and why the government should bring back the Migrant Impact Fund it scrapped

... can be heard here on BBC Radio Tees (from 2.07).

FACT: The current government has declined each and every opportunity to discuss immigration policy with me.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

October 14 is a great day

...because it is my birthday! On this date:

 *1066 - William the Conqueror wins the Battle of Hastings
*1322 - Robert the Bruce of Scotland defeats King Edward II of England, forcing recognition of Scotland's independence
* 1582 - This day did not exist this year in Italy, Poland, Portugal, or Spain because of implementation of the Gregorian calendar
* 1789 - George Washington proclaims the first Thanksgiving Day(!)* 1806 - The Battle of Jena: France defeats Prussia --- and an important event for young Hegel
*1843 - The British arrest Daniel O'Connell for conspiracy
*1912 - Teddy Roosevelt shot by an assassin while campaigning in Milwaukee. He continued to deliver his speech...with the bullet still lodged in him
*1926 - A.A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh is published for the first time
*1933 - Nazi Germany withdraws from the League of Nations
*1947 - Chuck Yeager is the first person to fly faster than the speed of sound
1956 - Dr B R Ambedkar converts to Buddhism - along with 385,000 of his followers
 *1962 - the Cuban Missile Crisis begins
* 1963 - the first time a newspaper uses the term "Beatlemania"
* 1964 - Martin Luther King is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
* 1969 - Britain introduces the 50 pence coin, replacing the ten shilling note
* 1979 - the first Gay Rights March on Washington, DC
* 1982 - Ronald Reagan declares a 'War on Drugs'
* 1994 - Yasser Arafat, Yitzhak Rabin, and Shimon Peres receive the Nobel Peace Prize

There are also several famous people who share my birthday, including:
Akbar (1582)
James II of England and VII of Scotland (1633)
William Penn (1644)
Eamon de Valera (1882)
Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890)
E. E. Cummings (1894)
Hannah Arendt (1906)
C. Everett Koop (1916)
Roger Moore (1927)
Ralph Lauren (1939)
Cliff Richard (1940)
Thomas Dolby (1958)
Steve Coogan (1965)

Famous deaths on this day include Harold Godwinson (1066, King of England), Errol Flynn (1959), Bing Crosby (1977) and Leonard Bernstein (1990).

October 14th is World Standards Day, World Organ Donation Day(?!), and Teacher's Day in Poland.

Monday, October 13, 2014

See no EVEL - On English devolution

. . . is my most recent piece for Progress Online, a Labour Party group. Direct link here.

An interview with me on how restorative justice can and should be reformed

. . . can be found at the Howard League for Penal Reform's website (from 1 min 30 secs). This is part of their What is Justice? series - and there are some fantastic clips.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Remove international students from immigration targets, says Durham lecturer

. . . is the headline for this online post from The Bubble, an online magazine based in Durham. The "Durham lecturer" interviewed is yours truly.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Prof Thom Brooks - Inaugural Lecture on "Why Hegel Matters"

My Inaugural Lecture on Why Hegel Matters takes places next week on Thursday, 16 October 2014 at University College, Durham (known locally as Durham Castle) from 8.00-9.00pm in the Senate Suite.

A brief blurb:

G. W. F. Hegel is a 19th Century philosopher widely held to be one of the most important and obscure in the canon. In his Inaugural Lecture, Professor Thom Brooks addresses why Hegel’s philosophical insights should have importance for us today in thinking about ethics, law and public policy.
Thom Brooks is Professor of Law and Government at Durham University’s Law School, Director of the Centre for Criminal Law and Criminal Justice and an Associate member of the Philosophy Department. His books include Punishment (2012), Hegel’s Political Philosophy (2007, 2d 2013) and he co-edited Rawls’s Political Liberalism with Martha C. Nussbaum. Brooks is well known for his work in criminal justice - his ‘unified theory of punishment’ is identified by RCUK as one of the Top 100 Big Ideas for the Future (2009) – and immigration, publishing the only comprehensive report on the UK citizenship test which has been cited in several Parliamentary debates. Brooks is the 2014 ‘Lecturer of the Year’ for his Faculty.

Please register your attendance in advance of the event.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Many thanks to RIPPLE at KU Leuven

Many thanks to the fabulous political philosophers at RIPPLE (Research in Political Philosophy Leuven) -- possibly the largest group of political philosophers I've seen outside Oxford. (And this says much about how extraordinary - and wonderful - this group is.) The discussion was terrific with excellent questions from beginning to end and a highly enjoyable visit.

I am especially grateful to a former student of mine now PhD student at KU Leuven, Michael Jewkes, for the invitation to take part in Ripple's seminar series.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

English devolution opens a Pandora's Box

. . . or so I argue in today's the Journal available online here (and in the print edition pages 4-5).

Durham University's Law School ranked 3rd best in the UK

. . . in the University Guide published this past weekend by the Times and can be found here. Cambridge is ranked 1st and Oxford is 2nd.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Friday, September 19, 2014

My thoughts on Scotland's No vote

. . . can be found here and delighted by the result!

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Many thanks to the Hegel Society of Great Britain

. . . for the invitation to speak at its conference on "Hegel's Political Philosophy" held at the University of Cambridge last Thursday and Friday. Stimulating papers, terrific discussion and fabulous scholars made for a highly enjoyable time - and hope my powerpoint presentation (the first at a HSGB conference) is not its last...

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Interviewed on RT about UK citizenship test

The news brief notes the test being described as a "bad pub quiz" and "unfit for purpose" - both of which were noted originally in my report about the test and news briefing.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Criminal Justice at a Crossroads: Why Victims Should Have a Say

. . . is my latest piece for Political Insight. Abstract is:

"Public satisfaction with the criminal justice system is plummeting. What can policymakers do? Thom Brooks argues that restorative justice could provide an alternative to the traditional courtroom that would restore public confidence, reduce reoffending and even save money."

Monday, September 01, 2014

One Nation Labour can deliver the Britain we deserve

. . . is the title of my latest piece for Progress, the New Labour pressure group for progressive politics. The piece can be read here - an excerpt:

"One Nation Labour is about building a more equal and fair Britain where all share in prosperity. This powerful vision rejects the ‘divide and rule’ politics that define the Tory party. The Tories have a habit of rewarding favoured special interests above the public interest. One Nation Labour aims to correct this imbalance so that all can benefit, not only a chosen few. We can fight back even more effectively against Tory critics by viewing One Nation Labour through the politics of hope it can deliver. It can deliver the Britain we deserve [. . .]"

Read more

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Brooks Blog reaches 500,000 page views

. . . and 505,397 to be exact with over 450,000 visitors since I launched this blog June 15, 2006. The most read blogposts are:

1. "We are sorry for any inconvenience caused" (8 October 2010) - 23,179 views

2. "Journal rankings for philosophy" (29 September 2011) - 22,987 views

3. "The top philosophy journals: initial results" (18 January 2011) - 17,902 views

4. "Why publish journal articles?" (4 January 2011) -  6,670 views

5. "Hegel's philosophy attacked by Australia's opposition parties, or "The Politics of What?!" (6 September 2013) - 3,362 views

6. "Equality: the ticket to greater citations?" (2 January 2011) - 3,126 views

7. "Journal of Moral Philosophy joins Thomson Reuters ISI" (11 July 2011) - 2,676 views

8. "Senior academics threaten resignations over Big Society" (23 June 2011) - 1,848 views

9. "Thom Brooks on 'Guidelines on How to Referee'" (2 December 2010) - 1,479 views

10. "The UK citizenship test is 'unfit for purpose': news round-up" (18 March 2013) - 1,300 views

Clearly, my blog has become a central focal point for debates concerning academic journal rankings. I have a strong interest in these discussions given my founding the Journal of Moral Philosophy and I became increasingly alarmed at how many developments worldwide were taking place without full consultation with journal editors and their readers. This led me to re-launch with Carol Gould the Association of Philosophy Journal Editors to bring together philosophy journal editors to share ideas about best practice and the promoting our profession. I know my ranking of philosophy journals has been used by departments in North America and Europe -- and I am tempted to start a new discussion about what these rankings should look like now...

This list also contains some surprises. While my guidelines piece has been well received, I would have thought my piece on publishing advice - which I'm perhaps known for even  more and ranks in the top 100 most downloaded SSRN papers all-time - would have made my top 10 blogposts. A second surprise is my news round-up capturing initial media interest in my work on reforming the UK citizenship test makes the top 10, but not a post covering the much wider coverage - in 300+ media outlets - my report on the test received later that spring.

Of course, the biggest surprise of all is that my blog has continued to be received so well for so long. Much of the credit - as always! - must go to my old friend Brian Leiter for his warm support since day one. Much more credit must go to you, my reader, for taking the time to visit these pages. I am extremely grateful - and hope I can provide much of continuing interest in the days, weeks, months and even years ahead!