Jeremy Waldron

Jeremy Waldron is University Professor at New York University. One Another’s Equals: The Basis of Human Equality came out in 2017.

Framing​ a constitution for a country undergoing political upheaval is a messy and dangerous business, and it is by no means guaranteed to succeed. We think of South Africa in the early 1990s as a heartening example. ‘A relatively conservative Afrikaner leader decided to negotiate before he had lost,’ the journalist Colin Eglin said, ‘and an imprisoned leader of a...

When American politicians are caught having illicit sex – like Eliot Spitzer, who resigned as governor of New York in 2008 after it was revealed that he was using a call-girl when he went to Washington, or Mark Sanford, governor of South Carolina, who got into trouble when his aides discovered that he was really visiting a divorcée in Buenos Aires when he said he was hiking in the...

Reality Check: The One Per Cent Doctrine

Jeremy Waldron, 10 April 2008

‘If there’s a one per cent chance that Pakistani scientists are helping al-Qaida build or develop a nuclear weapon, we have to treat it as a certainty in terms of our response … It’s not about our analysis, or finding a preponderance of evidence. It’s about our response.’ The One Per Cent Doctrine: it’s a striking methodology and a liberating one, and many people think it’s the only way to respond to the threat of low-probability, high-impact events. With it, the endless evidence-gathering and analysis that characterises traditional intelligence policy gives way to clarity.

Boutique Faith: Against Free Speech

Jeremy Waldron, 20 July 2006

I have always liked hanging around courtrooms. In the Crown Court in Oxford in the late 1970s, I happened on the trial of a racist agitator, who had festooned the streets of Leamington Spa with posters depicting Britons of African ancestry as apes. He was charged under the Race Relations Act with inciting racial hatred. Leamington Spa at that time was home to Robert Relf, a leader of something called the ‘British Movement’, who had made a name for himself earlier in the 1970s by advertising his house for sale ‘to a white family only’. I don’t remember exactly what Relf’s involvement was in the case that I sat through. I do remember that the defendant was convicted by the jury and sentenced by a crusty old English judge to a short term of imprisonment.

Deservingness: Equality of Opportunity

Jeremy Waldron, 19 September 2002

To reconcile ‘equal chances’ and ‘most deserving’, my chance of succeeding must refer to the abstract probability of my succeeding established on the basis of complete ignorance of anyone’s abilities. (So someone who knew us only as numbers would say that Einstein and I have an equal chance of winning when we sit down at the start of the test for the physics prize.)

Unlike a Scotch Egg: Hate Speech

Glen Newey, 5 December 2013

‘You are a totalitarian asshole.’ It’s probably not the sort of email that often drops into an All Souls professor’s inbox but, as Jeremy Waldron tells us, some people...

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Rock Bottom: legislation

Thomas Nagel, 14 October 1999

This short, assertive and engaging book has a chip on its shoulder, hence the title. In the academic culture of legal theory that Waldron partly inhabits, legislatures come in for a lot of...

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