Philosophy & Law

The royal coat of arms at the entrance to the Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, London, UK

No Safe Routes

Frances Webber

4 April 2024

The higher courts have always acquiesced to government ministers’ views of national security, but in Shamima Begum’s case the court appears to have given Sajid Javid carte blanche to conclude that deprivation of her citizenship is conducive to the public good, whatever the cost to a British-born woman who at nineteen had lost three children, her liberty, her citizenship, and with it, her right to live anywhere.

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Last Gasp Apparitions

Michael Ledger-Lomas

4 April 2024

Andrew Lang​ was in Oxford when he first encountered the living dead. One autumn night in 1869, he passed John Conington, professor of Latin, staring silently at Corpus Christi College. Nothing odd about . . .

Hegel gets real

Terry Eagleton

22 February 2024

Hegel’s dissatisfaction with the revolutions he surveys comes down in almost every instance to their otherworldliness or estrangement from reality, whether we are speaking of Jesus or Robespierre, ancient . . .

On Mary Magdalene

Marina Warner

22 February 2024

Almost​ every woman in the story of Jesus is called Mary. Sometimes the writers of the gospels got round this by adding a patronymic or a husband (Mary Salome, Mary of Cleophas, Mary Jacobi). The Virgin . . .

Jesuit Methods

Diarmaid MacCulloch

22 February 2024

In the mid-18th century​ an exceptionally adventurous European traveller might have got as far as a desert region in what is now Arizona, to be rewarded with hospitality from the presiding priest in . . .

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.

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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...

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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...

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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....

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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...

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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...

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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.

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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...

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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...

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Short Cuts: Corrupt Cops

Matt Foot, 8 February 2024

I have spent 25 years working as a criminal defence lawyer and have yet to find anyone who knows of a single police officer being convicted for their role in a wrongful conviction.

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Alasdair MacIntyre drew a conclusion he has stuck to ever since: that philosophy takes time. Instead of choosing an opinion that appeals to you and forsaking all others, you need to take on different arguments...

Read more about Like a Top Hat: Morality without the Metaphysics

Antidote to Marx: Oh, I know Locke!

Colin Kidd, 4 January 2024

Contrary to the myth that from itsa founding document America was dedicated to capitalism, private property and the personal accumulation of wealth, ‘happiness’ in its 18th-century definition meant...

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Rwanda Redux

Tom Hickman, 14 December 2023

If Parliament deems Rwanda to be a safe third country, in the face of the Supreme Court judgment, it is rejecting and contradicting the ruling of our highest court on the facts, and thus infringing the...

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Short Cuts: War Crimes

Conor Gearty, 30 November 2023

All agree that Israel has a right to defend itself, though there are many differences of opinion among lawyers as to the basis for this. What no one contests, however, is that serious violations of humanitarian...

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Searching for the Bee: Rarities and Marvels

Helen Pfeifer, 30 November 2023

For the 13th-century Muslim scholar Zakariyya al-Qazwini and his contemporaries, to contemplate the wonders of nature was to contemplate the majesty of God, so much so that cosmography was a mainstay of...

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Diary: When I Met the Pope

Patricia Lockwood, 30 November 2023

The invitation​ said ‘black dress for Ladies’. ‘You’re not allowed to be whiter than him,’ my husband, Jason, instructs. ‘He has to be the whitest. And you cannot wear a hat because that...

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To call him a ‘great republican’ doesn’t mean much nowadays and downplays his radicalism. Nonetheless, like de Gaulle, he is an undisputed national figure whose legend is apparently sacrosanct, if...

Read more about Coins in the Cash Drawer: Jean Jaurès’s Socialism

Why did he not speak out? The Pope at War

Richard J. Evans, 19 October 2023

Only when a dictatorship actually attacked the Church and distanced itself from Christianity did it alienate the papacy, but even the actions of Hitler’s Germany in this direction were insufficient to...

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Let them eat oysters: Animal Ethics

Lorna Finlayson, 5 October 2023

It hardly needs to be said that all is not well with our world. We are disempowered, isolated and (quite rationally) anxious about the future. The animal world offers both an escape and the promise of...

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We are our apps: Visual Revolutions

Hal Foster, 5 October 2023

The voice, the face and the gaze, all crucial to our ‘being with others’, are ‘disrupted and distorted’ by chatbots, artificial intelligence, eye tracking, iris scanning, facial coding and all...

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Stay away from politics: Why Weber?

William Davies, 21 September 2023

Weber insists that everything remain in its rightful place. Politicians should stick to politics, and scientists to science. Religion should vacate public life, except as an inner psychological ‘vocation’...

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Macaulay seems to have belonged to what revisionist historians now refer to as the Christian Enlightenment, a movement that stood apart from the more familiar Enlightenment of sceptical or deistic philosophes....

Read more about ‘Drown her in the Avon’: Catharine Macaulay’s Radicalism

Short Cuts: Convention Rights

Tom Hickman, 7 September 2023

Only the Greek junta in 1969 and Russia last year have left the European Convention on Human Rights – Russia went shortly before it was to be expelled for invading Ukraine. No democratic country has...

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Leader of the Martians: J.L. Austin’s War

Thomas Nagel, 7 September 2023

J.L. Austin was fascinated by many details of language for their own sake, and in 1947 brought together a group of philosophy dons, mostly younger than himself, to pursue these investigations collectively....

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The Race-Neutral Delusion

Randall Kennedy, 10 August 2023

There are good reasons why some progressives tolerated racial affirmative action without feeling much enthusiasm for it, or are even quietly pleased that it has ended, hopeful that something better, more...

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St Francis wrote poetry, tamed a wolf, received the stigmata on a mountainside, and if you love a kitsch Nativity figurine, you have St Francis to thank. He was a poor scribe and a worse artist, but great...

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Coke v. Bacon

Stephen Sedley, 27 July 2023

Both sides of Edward Coke’s reputation have endured. Not long ago the benchers of the Inner Temple refused to name a new building after him because of his brutal prosecution of Walter Raleigh. Yet Coke’s...

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