Category Political Philosophy

On the basic liberty to eat what you like

Contrary to popular reports, the recent School Food Plan for England and Wales does not call for packed lunches to be banned. However, the idea of a ban, mooted by Henry Dimbleby – one of the report’s authors – is interesting because of the response it has provoked. Dimbleby suggests that a blanket ban might […]

What Indian roads tell us about anarchy

 A common retort to anarchists and libertarians* is to say that if they really want to see how great life is when people get the government off their backs, they should visit Somalia, or other failed states where rule of law has effectively collapsed. Having spent the last couple of weeks in India, I might […]

Should votes be for sale?

Ahead of Tuesday’s U.S. Presidential election, Stephen Levitt, citing the work of Glen Weyl, has made a provocative suggestion for improving the electoral process – people should be permitted to vote multiple times, paying increasingly higher fees for each additional vote. I’m attracted to this idea because it addresses one of the major drawbacks of […]

Does Obama believe in determinism, left-libertarianism or justice as fair reciprocity?

Dylan Matthews has made an interesting attempt to reverse-engineer part of Barack Obama’s political philosophy, based on some remarks he made in Roanoke, Virginia a couple of weeks ago: There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me —because they want to give something back.  They know they didn’t — look, if you’ve […]

Should Academics Brainwash their Students? and Other Professional-Ethical Dilemmas

Related to my discussion a couple of weeks ago of the problems and responsibilities of philosophers engaging with non-academics, you might be interested to look at Simon Caney’s latest article (or, for that matter, the rest of the latest issue of Ethics and International Affairs). Caney’s paper addresses the question of what academics can contribute […]