Category Archives: Articles

Global Justice: Theory Practice Rhetoric

“Global Justice: Theory Practice Rhetoric” has recently received a generous grant by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft to upgrade its structure and web appearance. Two exciting re-launch issues to celebrate this, and to launch the new format of the journal, will appear in late 2015 and early 2016 (watch this space). But today we would like to introduce you to our brand new website (including a new electronic submission system):

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Ethics for the down-and-out?

A couple of weeks ago, I (perhaps unwisely) posted a sarcastic and hastily written note in response to a news story about the crime-fighting adventures of ethicist Jonathan Glover [original post now removed].  It turns out that I didn’t make my intent clear enough, and that at least some people read it as an attack on Professor Glover’s conduct or personal character.  Fortunately, Glover himself seems to be an unusually forgiving and generous-spirited soul, and despite his initial displeasure at the note (which might have had others threatening legal action), an email exchange between us quickly turned into a friendly correspondence between philosophers interested in similar themes.  For the record, I really did not mean to imply anything about this philosopher’s personal qualities, about his handling of an attempt to defraud him, or about how he came by whatever wealth he may possess (by buying a house a very long time ago, as he tells me). Sure, there is a sense in which I do think that people like Jonathan Glover – and, for that matter, people like me – shouldn’t exist (and are fair game for a certain amount of satire or vitriol).  In any even minimally acceptable society, there just would not be neighbourhoods where the average house costs in the region of £3 million, sat alongside areas of crushing poverty, with tens of thousands of people who cannot afford to keep a roof over their heads at all.  Which is also to say, of course, that the homeless and destitute wouldn’t exist either (as George Bernard Shaw put it: “I hate the poor and look forward to their extermination.”) – but I’ll leave it to the right-wing press and the Bullingdon Club boys who populate our Government (speaking of categories of people that shouldn’t exist) to poke fun and sneer at the poor and the working class.  There also wouldn’t be people like me swanning around Oxbridge colleges eating pheasant and wearing gowns, while the higher education system (along with all the other major public services) crumbles around us.


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Political Utopia: Promise or Peril? Ideal Theory Conference, April 25th-26th, 2014

For those of you interested in the nonideal/ideal theory debates in political philosophy, I thought I’d let you know that Bowling Green State University is hosting a conference on the subject in three weeks. Registration is still open if you’re able to attend. We’ll make the papers available when the authors are ready. We’re hoping to collect them in a volume. The line-up is great, and I expect the papers to advance the discussion.

Conference website here.

Conference flier here.

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CRISPP £500 2012 Essay Prize

Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy (CRISPP) is pleased to announce that the winner of the 2012 £500 essay prize for the best article published in volume 15 (2012) is Sylvie Loriaux for her article:

Fairness in international economic cooperation: moving beyond Rawls’s duty of assistance, Vol.15 Iss.1 (2012) pp. 19-39

The judges explain why this outstanding article was selected:

Loriaux argues that developed societies owe to their developing counterparts a duty of assistance that goes beyond conferring minimal levels of liberal democratic governance. In this, Loriaux makes a case for advanced systems extending egalitarian distributive justice beyond the domestic, and into the interstate, sphere. Loriaux calmly pushes back against a ream of opposing theory, cleverly deploys the WTO as a concrete test, persuasively countering the broad theory via consideration of a particular institutional arrangement.


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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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Genealogies of Political Authority

Hello all. I’ve recently published an article that may be of interest to readers of Public Reason, in particular those of you who are interested in questions relating to the normative status of political authority. I’m currently planning a sequel to the piece in which I expand upon some of the central arguments, so I would greatly appreciate some feedback, if any of you could spare the time. A brief summary follows.

The article begins with an interpretation of Nietzsche’s thought that emphasizes his preoccupation with genealogy as a critical method and his insistence that modern forms of political authority pose a peculiar threat to the emergence of the sovereign individual. In the second section of the article, I distill these reflections into a theory about legitimate political authority. My argument is that there are certain requirements that govern the accounts that state officials may give in order to justify their decisions to citizens. I derive these requirements from a series of thought experiments and call them the requirements of legitimate political reasoning. They are: (1) the requirement of right reasons, that is, publicly offered reasons must track the reasons that were actually operative in the decision-making behind closed doors; (2) the requirement of procedural propriety, that is, the account must not appeal to reasons that are inappropriate or extraneous to the decision in question; and (3) the transparency of reasons requirement, that is, within reasonable limits, the account should consist of the full set of reasons that are appropriate to the decision in question, without any concealment of reasons for political purposes.


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