Philosophy & Law

Collage of a woman's portrait by Anne Rothenstein.

Why complain?

Lorna Finlayson

12 May 2022

The crisis facing higher education in the UK is not an excuse for delaying action on sexual violence. If we wait to save the university first, we may well wait for ever. For that reason, though, it’s hard to resist the comparison between complaining in the university as it now exists and complaining on the deck of the Titanic.

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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 . . .

Destroying the Asylum System

Frances Webber

7 April 2022

Many of the Nationality and Borders Bill’s measures are aimed at stopping uninvited refugees arriving at Britain’s borders. Anyone landing at a UK port without a visa will immediately be liable to . . .

A UK Bill of Rights?

Tom Hickman

24 March 2022

The United Kingdom​ might soon have its first bill of rights since the English Bill of Rights of 1688. On 14 December last year, the government published the much anticipated Independent Human Rights . . .

Financial Weaponry

Tom Stevenson

24 March 2022

There is​ a striking asymmetry in the global economy. In terms of trade and GDP the world has three poles: the United States, the EU and China. But in the international financial system a single state . . .

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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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...

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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...

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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,...

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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...

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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,...

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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...

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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...

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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,...

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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;...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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,...

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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,...

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Out Hunting: In Baltimore

Gary Younge, 29 July 2021

The demand of Black Lives Matter and others to ‘defund the police’ follows the logic that addressing the causes of crime – by funding housing, drug rehabilitation, education and mental health services...

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Ghosting: Dead to the World

Hal Foster, 29 July 2021

How​ long can you be absent before you are declared dead? Do you have any civil rights during this interval – which some societies set at the biblical seven years – or are you merely the target of...

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Thomas Becket​ was not the first archbishop of Canterbury to meet a violent end – Archbishop Alphege was killed by Vikings in 1012 – but he was unique in other ways. Unlike his...

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