Philosophy & Law

Epistemic Injustice

Bernadette Wren

20 November 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 clinicians who were trying to cope, in the absence of adequate support, funding and external expertise, with complex clinical, empirical, legal and procedural challenges while an upheaval in cultural narratives of sex and gender took place across the country. GIDS became the scapegoat in a society that needs to look more boldly and intelligently at how we should accommodate a great many new forms of pressure for change.

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Peace without Empire

Perry Anderson

2 December 2021

Financial instability, immigrant pressure and proximate war are not the only subterranean shocks to unsettle the European Union. There are two others, of potentially comparable magnitude. One is the deep . . .

Ernst Cassirer’s Curiosity

Jonathan Rée

18 November 2021

Ernst Cassirer​ got a warm welcome when he moved to the United States in 1941. He was a near perfect embodiment of the idea of the great European thinker: not only a multilingual intellectual historian . . .

Hannah Arendt’s Islands

Jenny Turner

4 November 2021

In summer​ last year, Lyndsey Stonebridge, professor of humanities and human rights at the University of Birmingham, posted a selfie on Twitter modelling her new Hannah Arendt face mask:Preparefor . . .

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 is . . .

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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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...

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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...

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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...

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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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Knife, Stone, Paper: Law Lords

Stephen Sedley, 1 July 2021

The modern relationship of the three principal elements of the constitution – legislature, courts and executive – doesn’t resemble the cogs of a working machine, or the delegation of...

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Winged Words: On Muhammad

Tariq Ali, 17 June 2021

Muhammad never claimed to be anything other than a human being: he was a Messenger of God, not the son of Allah, and not in direct communication with him. The visions were mainly aural: the Prophet heard...

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Human Spanner: Kant Come Alive

Stuart Jeffries, 17 June 2021

Siegfried Kracauer sought out the zeitgeist in places where professional philosophers disdained to tread, and specialised in finding the profound in the superficial. Thirty years later, Roland Barthes...

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The question I am asking is whether, looking at ourselves from outside, we should come to view our attachment to rights and deontology as an unnecessarily cluttered moral outlook, which grossly magnifies...

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Short Cuts: Courthouse Hotel

Duncan Campbell, 20 May 2021

Fifteen​ years after its closure, Bow Street Magistrates’ Court, which over its 271-year history provided a stage for Oscar Wilde, Emmeline Pankhurst, Dr Crippen, ‘Lord...

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A Singular Entity: Classical China

Peter C. Perdue, 20 May 2021

The typical temple of Chinese popular religion contains multiple areas devoted to many gods, more like a circus model of culture than like the Temple of Heaven, where a single officer performed the sacrifice....

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Favourably Arranged: Horoscopy

Claire Hall, 20 May 2021

Ancient anatomists drew what scanty conclusions they could about the inner workings of humans from pigs and dogs; cosmologists speculated about the structure of the world without much evidence, or much...

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The ‘unconstitution’ has worked only because England’s ruling elites, out of decent self-interest, have never fully exploited its incredible lack of formal constraint on executive power....

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Stainless Steel Banana Slicer

David Trotter, 18 March 2021

Gimmickry is the séance during which some commodities, at least, have begun to dance as if of their own free will. Marx’s term for ‘of its own free will’ is ‘aus freien Stücken’...

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At the House of Mr Frog: Puritanism

Malcolm Gaskill, 18 March 2021

No one wants to be ‘puritanical’: better to be thought fun-loving, broadminded, easygoing, even (perhaps especially) if we’re not. Puritans hold a mirror to the anxious self-image of...

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