•  157
    In an important piece of work Derek Parfit distinguishes two different forms of egalitarianism, ‘Deontic’ and ‘Telic’. He contrasts these with what he calls the Priority View, which is not strictly a form of egalitarianism at all, since it is not essentially concerned with how well off people are relative to each other. His main aim is to generate an adequate taxonomy of the positions available, but in the process he draws attention to some of the different problems they face. I shall argue that…Read more
  •  137
    What Is the Point of Justice?
    Utilitas 24 (4): 525-547. 2012.
    Conflicting answers to the question of what principles of justice are for may generate very different ways of theorizing about justice. Indeed divergent answers to it are at the heart of G. A. Cohen's disagreement with John Rawls. Cohen thinks that the roots of this disagreement lie in the constructivist method that Rawls employs, which mistakenly treats the principles that emerge from a procedure that involves factual assumptions as ultimate principles of justice. But I argue that even if Rawls…Read more
  •  125
  •  111
    Citizenship and justice
    Politics, Philosophy and Economics 10 (3): 263-281. 2011.
    Are the rights, duties, and virtues of citizenship grounded exclusively in considerations of justice, or do some or all of them have other sources? This question is addressed by distinguishing three different accounts of the justification of these rights, duties, and virtues, namely, the justice account, the common-good account, and the equal-membership account. The common-good account is rejected on the grounds that it provides an implausible way of understanding what it is to act as a citizen.…Read more
  •  88
    On explaining political disagreement: The notion of an essentially contested concept
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 33 (1). 1990.
    Although the notion of an essentially contested concept may shed light on the logic of disputes over the proper application of some key political terms, it nevertheless plays no genuine role in explaining the intractability of these disputes. The notion of an essentially contested concept is defended against some influential criticisms, showing how it is possible for one conception of an essentially contested concept to be justifiably regarded as superior to other competing conceptions. Two poss…Read more
  •  77
    "Equality of opportunity for all" is a fine piece of political rhetoric but the ideal that lies behind it is slippery to say the least. This book defends a particular account of the ideal and its place in a more radical version of what it is to level the playing field.
  •  77
    What’s wrong with everyday lookism?
    Politics, Philosophy and Economics 20 (3): 315-335. 2021.
    Everyday lookism, by which I mean the widespread practice of commenting upon and judging the appearance of others, is often regarded as morally troubling. But when, and why, is it morally problemat...
  •  75
    Justice, Contestability, and Conceptions of the Good
    Utilitas 8 (3): 295-305. 1996.
    Brian Barry's Justice as Impartiality is a highly enjoyable and rewarding book. It throws new light on some familiar theories of justice, and shows how the idea that principles of justice are those principles which no one could reasonably reject can yield prescriptions for constitutional design. But I shall argue that Barry's defence of his theory is less robust than he thinks, and more generally that there is reason to suppose that principles of justice are as contestable as conceptions of the …Read more
  •  72
    Political philosophers have again become concerned with the role of the virtues in justifying social, political, and economic arrangements, and have explored the issue of which institutions can provide space for the virtues to flourish. In After Virtue, MacIntyre launched an attack on liberalism, arguing that the institutions it defends undermine the virtues. This paper examines MacIntyre's account and the responses it has provoked. It argues that MacIntyre makes an important criticism of libera…Read more
  •  55
    XI: Equality, personal responsibility, and gender socialisation
    Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 100 (3). 2000.
    A number of egalitarians have reached the conclusion that inequalities are just provided that they are the outcome of holding people appropriately responsible for their choices, and that only inequalities which can be traced back to the circumstances in which people happen to find themselves are objectionable. But this form of egalitarianism needs to be supplemented with an account of when it is appropriate to hold people responsible for their choices that is properly sensitive to the profound e…Read more
  •  52
    Rawlsian Theory and the Circumstances of Politics
    Political Theory 38 (5): 658-683. 2010.
    Can Rawlsian theory provide us with an adequate response to the practical question of how we should proceed in the face of widespread and intractable disagreement over matters of justice? Recent criticism of ideal theorizing might make us wonder whether this question highlights another way in which ideal theory can be too far removed from our non-ideal circumstances to provide any practical guidance. Further reflection on it does not show that ideal theory is redundant, but it does indicate that…Read more
  •  49
    Appearance, Discrimination, and Reaction Qualifications
    Journal of Political Philosophy 24 (4). 2016.
  •  45
    Citizenship Tests: Can They Be a Just Compromise?
    Journal of Social Philosophy 45 (2): 137-161. 2014.
  •  44
    Liberalism and the Value of Community
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 23 (2). 1993.
    Over the past decade or so the term ‘communitarianism’ has been applied to a wide range of positions with great variation between them. This is not in itself an objection to its continued use, for a concept may be coherent and illuminating even though it shelters considerable diversity. What is troubling about the body of literature now labelled as communitarian is that it frequently appeals to images of community without giving the notion the analytical attention it deserves and that we have co…Read more
  •  43
    Justice, feasibility, and ideal theory: A pluralist approach
    Social Philosophy and Policy 33 (1-2): 32-54. 2016.
    :A qualified pluralism is defended that recognizes value in a variety of forms of political theory and resists arguments that purport to show that one particular approach should occupy a privileged position. Against realists, it is argued that abstract analyses of political values that bracket a wide range of facts about people and their circumstances can be both coherent and important, whereas against those who think “ideal theory” or the identification of ultimate principles should come first,…Read more
  •  43
    Appearance, Discrimination, and Reaction Qualifications
    Journal of Political Philosophy 25 (1): 48-71. 2016.
  •  39
    Equality of Opportunity and Differences in Social Circumstances
    Philosophical Quarterly 54 (216). 2004.
    It is often supposed that the point of equality of opportunity is to create a level playing-field. This is understood in different ways, however. A common proposal is what I call the neutralization view: that people's social circumstances should not differentially affect their life chances in any serious way. I raise problems with this view, before developing an alternative conception of equal opportunity which allows some variations in social circumstances to create differences in life prospect…Read more
  •  37
    Justice, holism and principles
    Res Publica 15 (2): 179-194. 2009.
    Some moral theorists defend a holistic account of practical reasons and deny that the possibility of moral thought depends upon the existence of moral principles. This article explores the implications of this position for theorising about justice, which has often aspired to provide us with an ordered list of principles to govern our institutions and practices.
  •  36
    Putting story‐reading to bed: a reply to Segall
    Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 14 (1): 81-88. 2011.
  •  34
    Public Justifiability, Deliberation, and Civic Virtue
    Social Theory and Practice 33 (4): 679-700. 2007.
  •  32
    Explaining political disagreement
    Cambridge University Press. 1993.
    This book examines a number of different accounts developed by philosophers and political theorists to explain why political disagreement is so extensive and persistent. The author argues that moral and political questions can have correct answers, but that not every reasonable person will necessarily be satisfied with these answers. He develops a framework that gives a role to the individual's reasons for his or her beliefs, but also to psychological and sociological factors, to explain the int…Read more
  •  29
    Imposing liberal principles
    Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 1 (3): 98-116. 1998.
    (1998). Imposing liberal principles. Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy: Vol. 1, Pluralsim and Liberal Neutrality, pp. 98-116.