Monthly Archives: August 2011

2012-13 Tulane CEPA Fellowships

Tulane University Center for Ethics and Public Affairs | Deadline: 15 November 2011

This is a great fellowship opportunity in a great place:

The Murphy Institute’s Center for Ethics and Public Affairs at Tulane University invites applications for up to three Faculty Fellowship positions for the 2012-2013 academic year. These fellowships are available to support outstanding faculty whose teaching and research focus on ethics, political philosophy, political theory, or questions of moral choice in areas such as, but not restricted to, business, government, law, economics, and medicine. While fellows will participate in conferences and seminars organized by the Center, they will be expected to devote most of their time to conducting their own research. Faculty Fellows receive a stipend of 60,000 USD and are eligible for Tulane faculty benefits, including health insurance. Applicants should hold a doctorate in philosophy, political science, political theory, or political economy (or a related discipline), or a professional, terminal degree in a field such business, law, or medicine, at the time of application. Tulane University is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply. Required application materials include the completed fellowship application form, curriculum vitae, project description with bibliography, scholarly paper, and 2 reference letters. Applicants must submit their materials via Academic Jobs Online website. For more information and the application form click here or contact Margaret Keenan at mkeenan [at] or 504-862-3236.


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My Warmest Thanks, and One Final Bleg

I’d like to thank all of you who sent me comments on the RNR (“Foundations of a Nonideal Theory of Justice”) I posted here the other week. Almost all of you homed in on a problem with the Side-Constraint Principle that had been worrying me: its unexplained (and unjustified) reference to ideal primary goods.  I’ve now fixed the issue and would like to post the paper here one final time (old revisions are in red; new ones in blue) before I send the paper back to the journal later this week.  Any last-minute comments/suggestions/worries would be immensely appreciated.  Again, I really can’t thank you all enough.  Your feedback has been invaluable!


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Grad CFP: “From Meydan Tahrir to Wisconsin”

Cornell University, 27-28 April 2012 | CFP Deadline: 1 Nov 2011

Via Pinar Kemerli at Cornell:

“From Meydan Tahrir to Wisconsin: Rethinking Revolution, Democracy and Citizenship”

An interdisciplinary graduate student conference, hosted by the political theory graduate students in the Department of Government at Cornell University, April 27 – 28, 2012.

From revolutionary awakenings in the Arab world to protests against austerity measures in Europe and assaults on labor rights in Wisconsin, a “specter is haunting the world” – the specter of democracy and equality. This conference aims to bring together a diverse group of graduate students to discuss the significance of these revolutionary mobilizations and moments of solidarity for political thought. How do unfolding events challenge us to reconsider political concepts such as democracy, revolution, and citizenship? In light of these historical developments, papers might address political possibilities and anxieties unleashed by the current revolutionary enthusiasm: To what extent are these demands for economic equality, labor rights, and democracy compatible with contemporary hegemony of (neo)liberalism? Does the Tea Party as a conservative social movement challenge our ideas regarding the content of democratic politics? Is it the attempt to weaken union rights in Wisconsin that represents an undermining of democratic citizenship, or the recall efforts that have followed them? When are “rebels/protesters” justified in claiming popular authority and taking up “constituent power”? How should we interpret the nationalist discourse and imagery evoked in revolutions? What is at stake in the tendency to present the Egyptian revolution as a radical break from the past, as a distinctively “secular moment”? What do transnational connections between the protesters in Tahrir Square and the public workers of Wisconsin tell us about revolutionary enthusiasm from afar, about democracy’s ‘witness’, or about projection of democratic imagery and metaphor?


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RNR Help? “Foundations of a Nonideal Theory of Justice”

Hi everyone, I’ve been working on this paper for a number of years, and it is finally under revise-and-resubmit.  Given that I work in a very small department and am not great at networking, I could really use some help vetting my revisions.  I would be very grateful if anyone here is willing to read it and send thoughts about it my way (revisions are in red).  Here is a brief abstract:

This paper systematically extends John Rawls’ original position to nonideal theory, showing how the parties to a “nonideal original position” ought to prioritize four types of nonideal primary goods over Rawls’ principles and priority relations, and then agree to five lexically ordered principles for distributing those goods under nonideal conditions.  All five principles (and their orderings) are also shown to fare very well in reflective equilibrium, cohering with a number of pretheoretic moral intuitions.


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CONF: Graduate Student Panel of the Interdisciplinary Conference “The Politics of Interpretation & The Interpretation of Politics”, 23-24 September, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford

Within the last fifty years, interpretation has become one of the most important intellectual paradigms of humanities and social sciences scholarship. Theories about law and literature, philosophy and political thought, history and theology all rely on textual interpretation. Issues such as the role of intentions in the interpretation of texts, the question of whether texts determine, or constrain, interpretations of them, and how much, if any, contextual information is required for their understanding, concern all those disciplines, and call for cross-disciplinary collaboration and exchange. Finally, the simultaneous proliferation of certain interpretive approaches such as ‘hermeneutics’, ‘deconstruction’, and ‘feminist (re)readings’ of texts across disciplinary divides has shown the permeability of these boundaries, and has thus made this call for collaboration even more pertinent.

This conference will provide a setting in which distinguished proponents and critics of some of the prevalent interpretive approaches currently used in humanities and social sciences research are able to engage, for the first time, in a rigorous debate about the advantages and costs of each approach, and to discuss the political assumptions that inform them, as well as aims that drive them.

One of the primary goals will be to evaluate the validity of each interpretive method in reference to the readings it produces when applied to texts. Some of the key questions in this respect include: What is it that each method can or cannot claim to be able to show? To what extent do these methods succeed both in theory and in practice? Do they prevent or improve our understanding of texts? A second focus of the conference is to shed light upon the political dimension of interpretive enterprises and to decode their ideological presuppositions. There has virtually been no interdisciplinary exchange about the question of whether these approaches are ideologically sustained, and if so, whether ideologically charged approaches in turn induce interpreters to systematically ignore some aspects of texts, whilst emphasizing others. Here, consequences will be drawn for the interpretation of politics, widely construed.

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Two monographs of possible interest to Public Reason readers

I’ve been encouraged by a fellow reader of this blog to post an announcement about my two books that have come out in the last year.

Cover of Rawls, Dewey, and ConstructivismThe first is called Rawls, Dewey, and Constructivism (2010), and was reviewed positively on Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews here. You can find the book on Amazon here: USUKCA.

From the publisher:  In Rawls, Dewey, and Constructivism, Eric Weber examines and critiques John Rawls’ epistemology and the unresolved tension – inherited from Kant – between Representationalism and Constructivism in Rawls’ work. Weber argues that, despite Rawls’ claims to be a constructivist, his unexplored Kantian influences cause several problems. In particular, Weber criticises Rawls’ failure to explain the origins of conceptions of justice, his understanding of “persons” and his revival of Social Contract Theory. Drawing on the work of John Dewey to resolve these problems, the book argues for a rigorously constructivist approach to the concept of justice and explores the practical implications of such an approach for Education.


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