Category Archives: Problems

Keele University Considers Closing Philosophy Dept.

Keele University is considering closing its philosophy department. Anyone concerned should join this facebook group for more details on how they can help fight it.  Alumni and others concerned by this are encouraged to write emails to this address:

Posted in Academia, Notices, Politics, Problems | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Political Essays

Here are two questions that strike me as worth thinking about. Say you wanted to teach a liberal arts-style freshman seminar that introduced students to the idea of reflecting on politics and society, but you didn’t want to turn it … Continue reading

Posted in Posts, Problems, Teaching | 13 Comments

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and Political Philosophy

Speaking of non-ideal theory (or ideal theory in less than ideal contexts)… I am curious to hear whether my fellow public reasoners believe that the recent US Supreme Court ruling on campaign finance should have any impact on our work … Continue reading

Posted in Discussion, Posts, Problems | 2 Comments

A Thought on the Ideal and Non-Ideal Theory Distinction

Many of you have probably seen Simmons’ article just out in PPA on ideal and non-ideal theory. Simmons defends Rawls’ account of the ideal/non-ideal theory distinction and his paper is a must read. That said, I have been ruminating over … Continue reading

Posted in Discussion, Posts, Problems | 12 Comments

The Burqa in France

According to the BBC, in the latest twist in l’affaire du foulard/voile, a French parliamentary committee has recommended a ban on women wearing Islamic face veils in public [Correction: the proposal applies to public facilities, such as hospitals and mass transit, … Continue reading

Posted in Discussion, Posts, Problems | 2 Comments

Query: Should the US defend Google?

So, another query: Should the US defend Google?  Why or why not?US to protest formally to China over Google ‘attacks’

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humanitarian intervention question

A question: do people think international humanitarian intervention (or any international intervention, for that matter; perhaps even any intervention at all) has to be coercive?  That is, as a conceptual issue, is intervention necessarily coercive?

Posted in Discussion, Posts, Problems | 4 Comments

Credit Cards and Exploitation

PBS‘ Frontline this week aired an interesting episode on the credit card industry, which began with a discussion of some of the controversial practices initiated by Providian and soon adopted by the bulk of its competitors. I think the episode raises some interesting philosophical questions about … Continue reading

Posted in Discussion, Posts, Problems | 4 Comments

Should Laura Dekker be allowed to sail around the world?

What do people think about this case?  Should the Dutch have interfered with her and her parents?

Posted in Posts, Problems | 3 Comments

Vote Buying and Selling

Here are some questions I’m thinking about, and I wonder what you think. Suppose, for the sake or argument, I’ve established that voters have a duty to vote for candidates or policies which they justifiedly believe will promote the common … Continue reading

Posted in Discussion, Posts, Problems | 19 Comments

Recommendations for readings on human rights

Hi everyone, A graduate student of mine is interested in doing some research on the topic of human rights.  I was wondering if anyone could recommend a good review article that presents the main debates in the contemporary literature on human rights, or … Continue reading

Posted in Problems | 5 Comments

What is a Means of Production?

Though I’m a political philosopher, Marxism/Socialism is not my area of expertise.  Still, I was surprised when, while teaching an essay by Kai Nielsen the other day, I discovered that I really don’t know what a means of production is supposed … Continue reading

Posted in Discussion, Posts, Problems, Teaching | 16 Comments


Does anyone have any idea why the word “mercantalism” is not in the discourse of American politics?

Posted in Posts, Problems | 6 Comments

Experimental Philosophy of Freedom

Consider the following case: Tanya lives in a small, newly created country in Eastern Europe. Perhaps the most important issue in the region is the treatment of a disenfranchised minority that lives throughout the country. Tanya truly dislikes the minority … Continue reading

Posted in Posts, Problems | 6 Comments

A Thought about Racial Profiling

I have been thinking about the ethics of racial profiling. Say that racial profiling, roughly, involves law enforcers paying extra attention to members of a certain race, because it is known that members of that race are more likely to … Continue reading

Posted in Posts, Problems | 11 Comments

Waste, yet again

I had to take a break from this but am back at it full force. What do people think of the following as a definition of waste? I think it gets around some of the problems people pointed out earlier … Continue reading

Posted in Posts, Problems | 5 Comments

On the charge “That is Utopian”

Greetings Public Reasoners, Nicole’s post has gotten me thinking (okay, it’s gotten me to post; I’ve been thinking about this for a while) about the significance of data to political theory. In particular, it’s gotten me thinking about people charging … Continue reading

Posted in Posts, Problems | 12 Comments

Experimental Political Philosophy

Some people might be interested in an experiment that will be appearing in Utilitas on how people think about meeting needs. I should mention that the experiment plays a rather minor role in the paper which argues for a new … Continue reading

Posted in Posts, Problems | 9 Comments

Why Libertarians Should Be Welfare Liberals

I came across a nice paper by John Simmons a while back on why libertarians should be actual consent theorists and decided that I could combine his argument with something derived from an argument I’ve got coming out in the … Continue reading

Posted in Posts, Problems, Working Papers | 12 Comments

Why not hybrid embryos?

Recently, British MP’s voted to allow the creation of hybrid embryos for medical research. These embryos would be 99.9% “human” but 0.1% “cow” or “rabbit” — the animal element is simply the use of animal eggs, from which animal DNA … Continue reading

Posted in Posts, Problems | Tagged , , | 4 Comments