Philosophy & Law

Trial’s End

Madeleine Schwartz

21 July 2022

It didn’t take long for the French press to notice that many of the men did not fit the stereotype of someone who has been radicalised, which in French popular understanding tends to entail fervent religious belief and antisocial behaviour. Most of them talked about smoking pot, about going to clubs and drinking. Few were practising Muslims.

Read More

After Roe v. Wade

LRB contributors

21 July 2022

Elif Batuman, Edna Bonhomme, Hazel V. Carby, Linda Colley, Meehan Crist, Anne Enright, Lorna Finlayson, Lisa Hallgarten and Jayne Kavanagh, Sophie Lewis, Maureen N. McLane, Erin Maglaque, Gazelle Mba, Azadeh . . .

Who was Jane Roe?

Deborah Friedell

23 June 2022

The lawyers who tried to uphold the Texas statutes – ostensibly representing the Dallas district attorney, Henry Wade – argued that whoever Roe really was, she didn’t have sufficient ‘standing’ . . .

Why complain?

Lorna Finlayson

12 May 2022

Sexual violence​ at universities is shrouded in myth and misunderstanding. Media reports of a ‘rape culture’ among students and ‘epidemic’ levels of sexual predation by staff have created the . . .

Black Marxism

Kevin Okoth

7 April 2022

The title​ of Cedric Robinson’s Black Marxism is misleading. Shelving it under ‘Marxism’ never seems right for a book that questions the compatibility of Black radicalism and Marxist politics . . .

Bantu in the Bathroom

Jacqueline Rose, 19 November 2015

Pistorius was surely not aware that when he insisted the person he shot in the bathroom was an intruder he was re-enacting one strand of his nation’s cruellest past.

Read More

The Adulteress Wife: Beauvoir Misrepresented

Toril Moi, 11 February 2010

In June 1946 Simone de Beauvoir was 38. She had just finished The Ethics of Ambiguity, and was wondering what to write next. Urged by Jean Genet, she went to see the Lady and the Unicorn...

Read More

Where is my mind?

Jerry Fodor, 12 February 2009

If there’s anything we philosophers really hate it’s an untenable dualism. Exposing untenable dualisms is a lot of what we do for a living. It’s no small job, I assure you. They...

Read More

Lunging, Flailing, Mispunching: Richard Dawkins

Terry Eagleton, 19 October 2006

Imagine someone holding forth on biology whose only knowledge of the subject is the Book of British Birds, and you have a rough idea of what it feels like to read Richard Dawkins on theology....

Read More

No, it’s not anti-semitic: the right to criticise Israel

Judith Butler, 21 August 2003

Profoundly anti-Israel views are increasingly finding support in progressive intellectual communities. Serious and thoughtful people are advocating and taking actions that are anti-semitic in...

Read More

You can’t build a new society with a Stanley knife: Hardt and Negri’s Empire

Malcolm Bull, 4 October 2001

Forget Bob Geldof, Bono and the other do-gooders, Genoa’s only significance was as the latest battle in the war of Neoliberalism. It was a clear victory this time for the...

Read More

Why anything? Why this?

Derek Parfit, 22 January 1998

It might have been true that nothing ever existed: no living beings, no stars, no atoms, not even space or time. When we think about this possibility, it can seem astonishing that anything exists.

Read More

Subduing the jury

E.P. Thompson, 4 December 1986

It was nice to be awoken on 12 November by the BBC informing us that the Queen’s Speech would announce measures ‘to strengthen the jury system’. It is, after all, a very ancient...

Read More

The Contingency of Language

Richard Rorty, 17 April 1986

About two hundred years ago, the idea that A truth was made rather than found began to take hold of the imagination of Europe. The French Revolution had shown that the whole vocabulary of social...

Read More

Short Cuts: Destroying the Asylum System

Frances Webber, 7 April 2022

Refugees are rarely able to get visas: you aren’t classified as a refugee under the 1951 Geneva Convention until you are outside your country and unable or unwilling to return. And once outside it, you...

Read More

With six conservatives on the nine-person court, Chief Justice John Roberts knows that another prudent defection on his part will not be enough to save Roe. But he might entice one of the conservative...

Read More

A UK Bill of Rights?

Tom Hickman, 24 March 2022

There is nothing wrong in principle with a new bill of domestic rights. It has been the policy of each of the three main political parties at various times over the past two decades and can be done consistently...

Read More

The EU claims it runs a ‘fully autonomous sanctions regime’ in the service of ‘safeguarding EU values’. But for the most part its sanctions, and those of the UK, are applied in conjunction with...

Read More

Thou Old Serpent!

James Butler, 10 March 2022

Almost no first-hand accounts of the experience of possession exist. The actions and utterances of possessed women – the most famous cases all involve women, though men and children suffer possession...

Read More

Elizabeth Anscombe, Philippa Foot, Mary Midgley and Iris Murdoch all matriculated at Oxford in the late 1930s. When most of the men went off to war, they found themselves, as women philosophy students,...

Read More

In the Shallow End

Conor Gearty, 27 January 2022

Boris Johnson’s Brexit administration is in many ways an exercise in nostalgia, a search for a lost England, and the Supreme Court under Lord Reed is similarly backward-looking. It has reverted to an...

Read More

Despite their diversity, it is possible to discern a figure in the carpet of Malcolm Bull’s books. They are all about what one might call lessness: the emancipatory power of weakness, failure, diminishment,...

Read More

Diary: Epistemic Injustice

Bernadette Wren, 2 December 2021

If a whistle-blowing report on the Gender Identity Development Service at the Tavistock Clinic was needed, I wish I’d written it myself. It would have highlighted the isolation of a group of conscientious...

Read More

Peace without Empire

Perry Anderson, 2 December 2021

Gradual changes have already started to act as counterforces to the follies of unbridled speculation, fears of uncontrolled immigration and contagions of civil war. For Stella Ghervas, balance of power...

Read More

Cassirer saw the history of philosophy, like the history of science, as a series of intellectual excursions which at first threw up a lot of dust, but then settled down to form an intellectual acquis communautaire,...

Read More

We must think! Hannah Arendt’s Islands

Jenny Turner, 4 November 2021

Thinking is what Arendt probably claimed to have been spending whole days doing: ‘the two in one’, ‘the soundless dialogue ... between me and myself’. She would be thinking, and she would be smoking;...

Read More

Short Cuts: Plainly Unconstitutional

Frederick Wilmot-Smith, 21 October 2021

The​ judiciary, Alexander Hamilton wrote in ‘Federalist No. 78’, was ‘beyond comparison the weakest of the three departments of power’. Today, in the United States, that...

Read More

A Decent Death

Stephen Sedley, 21 October 2021

It has for many years been a crime in this country to cause an animal unnecessary suffering. Perhaps we need to turn our attention to the desire of human beings to be similarly spared, if that is their...

Read More

Short Cuts: Raab’s British Rights

Francis FitzGibbon, 7 October 2021

Dominic​ Raab is the eighth lord chancellor and secretary of state for justice since the Conservative Party entered government in 2010. The average tenure has been nineteen months, with a...

Read More

Systemite Pop: The Children of God

Tabitha Lasley, 23 September 2021

The Children of God called themselves several different things: the Family of Love, the Family, the Family International. These name changes suggest something of a branding problem. Indeed, by the time...

Read More

Invidious Trumpet: Find the Printer

Thomas Keymer, 9 September 2021

Warrants could be readily obtained (or sometimes just not obtained) to raid the premises of printers, arrest and interrogate writers, or confiscate and destroy equipment. Informal harassment was rife,...

Read More

As William Blake finds eternity in a grain of sand, so Walter Benjamin’s Surrealist gaze finds momentous meanings in the trifling and discarded. In the same way, he believes that every moment of time,...

Read More

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.

Newsletter Preferences