International Journal of Theory of Politics – Teoria politica
1. Capitalism, Democracy and the Crisis, Again. The Social Question, Today
Neoliberal ideology, which has been transformed into a kind of global meta-political direction, considers democracy as an obstacle to capitalism, as it had already been mentioned by Norberto Bobbio more than thirty years ago. Thus, capitalism —or financial capitalism— has come to oust democracy, namely the power of political self-determination, by establishing a kind of rule of capital in place of the rule of law. The onset of the crisis, which many believe resulted from the lack of limitations and constraints to capitalist activity, could be taken as a factual refutation, or even as a reversal of the neoliberal thesis. Do democratic political answers to the economic crisis exist? Democracy itself is in crisis and according to many observers this crisis has been determined by an unfettered capitalism promoted through those parties and movements that fuelled and adopted policies inspired by neoliberal ideology. In this case, what could be the possible answers that democracy could offer? Answers to which problems? To the state of public finances, with the aim of restoring the economic and political conditions, as well as the arrangements in place prior to the crisis; or to the spread of inequality and poverty, to the worsening of the social question that the crisis and its governance have produced? Should not we consider —tautologically— the restoration of democracy and the power of political self-determination as the remedy to the crisis of democracy itself, as well as to the inability or weakness of political classes subordinated to the economic power, in dealing with the social question? Are technocracies and populisms (of different leanings) remedies or causes of even worst evils?
This post is to announce, and perhaps provide a stable page for linking to posts related to, our reading group on Kevin Vallier’s Liberal Politics and Public Faith. I am modeling this post and the general direction of the group after the successful reading groups here on the Public Reason Blog. The schedule and list of commenters is below, with the posts being weekly starting October 18th. Following Kevin’s precedent, “I suggest that we divide the posts roughly into an expository part and a critical part. I also hope that we can structure criticisms so as to facilitate constructive discussion. Discussion in the comments should focus largely on the issues raised in the post.”
The Princeton University Graduate Conference in Political Theory will be held from April 10-11, 2015.
The Conference offers graduate students a unique opportunity to present and receive feedback on works in progress. Each session focuses exclusively on one paper. After receiving feedback from a Princeton graduate student discussant, each author engages in an extensive question and answer period with Princeton faculty, students, and guests.
We are delighted to announce that Professor Hélène Landemore of Yale University will deliver the 2015 keynote address.
We welcome papers addressing any topic in political theory, political philosophy, or the history of political thought.
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.
CALL FOR ABSTRACTS
The Bowling Green Workshop in Applied Ethics and Public Policy
The Scope of Religious Exemptions
April 17th-18th, 2015
The Bowling Green Workshop in Applied Ethics and Public Policy will take place in Bowling Green, Ohio, April 17th-18th, 2015. The keynote speakers are Robert Audi (University of Notre Dame) and Andrew Koppelman (Northwestern University).
Those interested in presenting a paper are invited to submit a 2-3 page abstract (double-spaced) by November 15th, 2014. We welcome submissions in all areas in applied ethics and philosophical issues relevant to this year’s conference theme: the scope of religious exemptions. We are especially focused on papers that address normative questions about religious exemptions, including the moral-philosophical justifications for religious exemptions and how often and to whom religious exemptions should be granted. We will consider multiple approaches to the topic, not merely in political philosophy and political theory, but normative ethics, metaethics and applied ethics.