Monthly Archives: May 2012

CFP: Methods in Practice (MANCEPT 2012)

(From Jens Olesen)

Call for Papers for the MANCEPT Workshop

“Methods in Practice”

Manchester Workshops in Political Theory
Ninth Annual Conference, 5-7 September 2012
Convenor: Jens Olesen (Oxford)

Methodological discussions in Political Theory are often unduly abstract, concentrating almost exclusively on epistemological issues that are said to lie at the heart of the method under investigation or on inconsistencies in its underlying philosophy of language. Whilst being aware of these issues is no doubt necessary, the danger is that methods are being treated as ends in themselves rather than as means to a certain end. As the proof of the pudding lies in the eating rather than in the recipe, in this workshop we will judge methods in Political Theory according to their merit, or lack thereof. That is to say, we will analyze what methods can or cannot claim to be able to show when they are being implemented. Thus, we shift the focus away from methods’ theoretical underpinnings to methods in practice. In doing so, we seek to redress the imbalance between the analysis of methodological claims, on the one hand, and of their substantive outcomes on the other, which characterizes most of the existing literature. This division of labour is detrimental to scholarship because the way in which theorists choose to, say, interpret a text is inextricably linked to the outcome of their analysis.
The theme of the workshop may be broadly construed, and include any of the following:
• Methods of Interpretation and their application to texts in the History of Political Thought (for instance, Gadamer, Derrida, Strauss reading Plato; Strauss, Skinner on Machiavelli or Hobbes; Feminist or Postcolonial attempts at re-reading the canon)
• Gender Theory and Feminist ‘Interventions’ (Butler, Fraser)
• Critical Theory: Habermas and beyond (Forst, Fraser, Honneth)
• Deconstruction (of core concepts in Political Theory, such as authority or power) and Postmodern Approaches to political theorizing (Deleuze, Lyotard, Rancìere)
• Genealogy (tracing the evolution of concepts à la Foucault or Skinner; writing conceptual history like Koselleck)
• (Re-)Writing the History of Political Thought (Oakeshott, Wolin, Lovejoy)
• Studies of Ideology (Liberalism and its discontents)
• Marx and Marxian Political Theory
Advanced graduate students, early career and senior researchers are invited to submit paper proposals for this workshop by Sunday 10 June 2012. read more...

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Call for Abstracts: TVA Conference: Rawls and Kant

Final Call for Abstracts
Themes from the Moral Philosophy of Rawls and Kant
Tennessee Value and Agency (TVA) Annual Conference
University of Tennessee
November 16-18, 2012

Keynote speakers:
Thomas M. Scanlon, Harvard University
Pamela Hieronymi, UCLA

Abstracts (of 2-3 double-spaced pages and prepared for blind review) are due by June 15, 2012 by email to Adam Cureton (

John Rawls spent most of his career writing about justice and democratic
political systems, but scattered throughout his earliest papers, course
lectures and books are suggestive remarks and undeveloped ideas about moral philosophy more generally, including its proper methodology, the role of normative ethical theory, the relevance of empirical psychology as well as
substantive positions on moral topics ranging from supererogation to guilt,
shame and love. Perhaps Rawls’ greatest influence in moral philosophy so far has been through his students and colleagues, who have in various ways developed, refined and reworked dominant themes in an evolving tradition of moral philosophy that many of them share with Rawls and Kant. read more...

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Special Issue Ethics and Social Welfare 6(2) on “Family Values”

The journal Ethics and Social Welfare features a special issue on “Family Values: Ethical Perspectives on Contemporary Living Arrangements and Parenthood” (edited by Gideon Calder and Jurgen De Wispelaere) that will be of interest to political philosophers working on the family and parenting.

Content Editorial Gideon Calder & Jurgen De Wispelaere Is the Family Uniquely Valuable? Anca Gheaus The Future of the Family David Archard Kantian Voices in the Family Values Debate Brenda Almond The Family and Neoliberalism: Time to Revive a Critique Bob Brecher On the Duties of Shared Parenting Philip Cook

The Social Politics of Breastfeeding: Norms, Situations and Policy Implications read more...

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CFP: ‘Exploring the Green Framework’

Ninth Annual MANCEPT Political Theory Workshops

(5th -7th September 2012)

University of Manchester

Call for Papers: Exploring the ‘Green Framework’

Environmental issues are fast becoming a central and pressing concern of the political landscape. The ‘Green Framework’, is comprised of an emphasis on both Green ‘issues’ and the development of the Green ‘approach’. It is being invoked and provoking questions across an array of academic fields and traditions of scholarship. This workshop hopes to explore the possibilities of how Green issues and Green thinking are deployed in current efforts of political scholarship. read more...

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Matthew Adler, Well-Being and Fair Distribution: Beyond Cost-Benefit Analysis

Matthew Adler has a major new book with OUP that will interest many readers of this blog. Here is the description:

Well-Being and Fair Distribution provides a rigorous and comprehensive defense of the “social welfare function” as a tool for evaluating governmental policies. In particular, it argues for a “prioritarian” social welfare function: one that gives greater weight to well-being changes affecting worse-off individuals. In doing so, the book draws on many literatures: in theoretical economics, applied economics, philosophy, and law. Topics addressed include the following: the nature of well-being and the possibility of interpersonal comparisons; the measurement of well-being via “utility” numbers; why a “prioritarian” social welfare function is more appealing than alternative forms (for example, a utilitarian, leximin, or “sufficientist” function); whether fair distribution should be conceptualized on a lifetime or sublifetime basis; and social choice under uncertainty. read more...

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Understanding Equality – Reminder

Understanding Equality
Friday 25 May 2012, 10.00am – 6.00pm
Room 349, Senate House
10.00 Registration
10.15 Joseph Raz (Columbia & King’s College London)
Equality: Political not Philosophical
11.45 Coffee
12.00 Veronique Munoz-Darde (UCL & Berkeley)
All the Fun in the Fair: The Elusive Case of Equality
1.30 Lunch (own arrangements)
2.30 Niko Kolodny (Berkeley)
Rule Over None: Social Equality and the Value of Democracy
4.00 Tea
4.30-6.00 Sam Scheffler (NYU): The Practice of Equality
REGISTRATION (essential)
To register please send a message to with
“Understanding Equality Reg” as the subject header.

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