•  68
    Life Value and Social Justice
    Studies in Social Justice 5 (1): 1-10. 2011.
  •  67
    The Life-Value of Death: Mortality, Finitude, and Meaningful Lives
    Journal of Philosophy of Life 3 (1): 1-23. 2013.
    In his seminal reflection on the badness of death, Nagel links it to the permanent loss “of whatever good there is in living.” I will argue, following McMurtry, that “whatever good there is in living” is defined by the life-value of resources, institutions, experiences, and activities. Enjoyed expressions of the human capacities to experience the world, to form relationships, and to act as creative agents are intrinsically life-valuable, the reason why anyone would desire to go on living indefin…Read more
  •  66
    Dedication: Iris Marion Young, 1949-2006
    with Tanya Basok and Suzan Ilcan
    Studies in Social Justice 1 (1). 2007.
  •  56
    Can Only Religion Save Us?
    The European Legacy 15 (1): 1-13. 2010.
    This paper will examine the loss of confidence in secular bases for the normative understanding of, and response to, the fundamental social and political problems. The recent arguments of Richard Falk in favour of a religious foundation for a humane globalization will be taken as paradigmatic. While the paper agrees that the normative core of major world religions supports Falk's particular conclusion that religion can provide the content for a universal critique of inhumane global governance, i…Read more
  •  47
    Human Needs: A Realist Perspective
    Journal of Critical Realism 6 (2): 173-198. 2007.
    This article argues for a realist conception of human needs. By ‘realist’ we mean that certain fundamental needs are categorically distinct from consumer wants, holding independently of people's subjective beliefs as objective life requirements. These basic needs, we contend, are baseline measures of social justice in the sense that no society that does not prioritise their satisfaction can be legitimate. The paper concludes with a comprehensive response to seven core objections to our position.
  •  47
    Jürgen Habermas’s discourse-theoretic reconstruction of the normative foundations of democracy assumes the formal separation of democratic political practice from the economic system. Democratic autonomy presupposes a vital public sphere protected by a complex schedule of individual rights. These rights are supposed to secure the formal and material conditions for democratic freedom. However, because Habermas argues that the economy must be left to function according to endogenous market dynamic…Read more
  •  37
    Free time as a necessary condition of free life
    Contemporary Political Theory 8 (4): 377-393. 2009.
    Human life is finite. Given that lifetime is necessarily limited, the experience of time in any given society is a central ethical problem. If all or most of human lifetime is consumed by routine tasks then human beings are dominated by the socially determined experience of time. This article first examines time as the fundamental existential framework of human life. It then goes on to explore the determination of time today by the ruling value system that underlies advanced capitalist society. …Read more
  •  34
    Duties to the Dead and the Conditions of Social Peace
    The European Legacy 17 (5). 2012.
    This essay focuses on the purported duty?defended by Walter Benjamin but widely assumed in much political theory and practice?of the living to redeem the suffering of those who died as a consequence of oppression, exploitation, and political violence. I consider the cogency and ethical value of this duty from the perspective of a politics grounded in the equal life-value of human beings. For both metaphysical and ethical reasons I conclude that this duty does not obtain, first because the dead c…Read more
  •  34
    This essay is a review ofKarl Marx and Contemporary Philosophy. While the text will provide even knowledgeable Marxist readers with new insights on key texts and concepts in Marx, it nevertheless fails to intervene in crucial contemporary philosophical debates. The book is concerned less with the contemporary significance of Marxist philosophyas philosophyand more with re-reading classical Marxist texts in a contemporary context. This job it does well, but leaves the more important question of w…Read more
  •  27
    At different times Horkheimer, Adorno, and Marcuse argued that immortality is a condition of overcoming misery and achieving complete human freedom. Their arguments were made before “practical immortality” had become a concrete scientific project. The difference between what was then and what is now scientifically possible alters the ethical and political value of the idea of immortality. Had the first generation of critical theorists occupied the present historical moment, they would have reali…Read more
  •  27
    This paper explores the ways in which neoliberal schooling is threatening education. We define education as the development of cognitive and imaginative capacities for understanding of and critical engagement with social reality. Education opens horizons of possibility for collective and individual life-experience and activity by exposing the one-sidedness and contradictions of ruling-value systems. Schooling, by contrast, subordinates thought and imagination to the reproduction of the ruling mo…Read more
  •  24
    Marcuse, human nature, and the foundations of ethical norms
    Philosophy and Social Criticism 34 (3): 267-286. 2008.
    The article is a critical examination of Marcuse's speculations about the possibility of determining a biological foundation for ethical norms. It considers three key objections to this project: that Marcuse fails to adequately define needs, that he misinterprets Freud, and that, details aside, he fundamentally misunderstands what a `biological' foundation for ethics would entail. The objections are accepted, to varying degrees, as regards the content of Marcuse's argument. The article concludes…Read more
  •  22
    The Clash of Ideas in World Politics. By John M. Owen IV
    The European Legacy 17 (5). 2012.
    The European Legacy, Volume 17, Issue 5, Page 704-705, August 2012
  •  21
    This paper explores the metaphysical foundations of critical theory in Marcuse and Habermas's postmetaphysical alternative. It argues that Habermas's attempt to free critical theory from a normative conception of life‐activity deprives it of the conceptual tools required to accurately diagnose the fundamental structure of social problems today. It thus concludes that Marcuse's efforts towards specifying a life‐grounded foundation to critical theory must be renewed if the project of human freedom…Read more
  •  20
    Action, Ethics, and Responsibility
    The European Legacy 18 (6): 789-790. 2013.
    No abstract
  •  19
    Subjecthood and Self-Determination: The Limitations of Postmodernism as Democratic Theory
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 29 (Supplement): 147-169. 1999.
  •  17
    The essay argues that the most influential liberal accounts of moral theory (utilitarianism and deontology) assume that human material nature is the seat of desire, and that desire is essentially unsociable. Moral systems are then interpreted as a means of counteracting the essentially self-interested desires that are assumed to ordinarily drive human beings. The essay challenges the normative presuppositions of these arguments. It maintains that liberal moral philosophy must be interpreted in t…Read more
  •  17
    MacIntyre, Virtue and the Critique of Capitalist Modernity
    Journal of Critical Realism 13 (2): 189-203. 2014.
    This paper is a review essay of two collections of essays focused on the work of Alasdair MacIntyre. The review focuses on three core themes. First, it discusses those papers that explore the central role that the relationship between practices and institutions plays in MacIntyre’s critique of modernity. Second, it turns to those papers that examine the foundational role that human needs play in MacIntyre’s ethics. Third, it places in dialogue those papers that defend MacIntyre’s politics as a f…Read more
  •  17
    Subjecthood and Self-Determination: The Limitations of Postmodernism as Democratic Theory
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 29 (sup1): 147-169. 1999.
    (1999). Subjecthood and Self-Determination: The Limitations of Postmodernism as Democratic Theory. Canadian Journal of Philosophy: Vol. 29, Supplementary Volume 25: Civilization and Oppression, pp. 147-169
  •  16
    Kant, Marx, and the Origins of Critique
    Historical Materialism 14 (2): 203-214. 2006.
  •  16
    Cosmopolitan globalism and human community
    Dialogue 45 (4): 697-712. 2006.
    This article argues that the normative foundations and political implications of David Held’s cosmopolitan social democracy are insufficient as solutions to the moral and social problems he criticizes. The article develops a life-grounded alternative critique of globalization that roots our ethical duties towards each other in consciousness of our shared needs and capabilities. These ethical duties are best realized in political projects aimed at fundamental long-term transformations in the prin…Read more
  •  14
  •  12
    Life-Value vs Money-Value: Capitalism’s Fatal Category Mistake
    The European Legacy 24 (3-4): 437-445. 2019.
    Volume 24, Issue 3-4, May - June 2019, Page 437-445.
  •  12
    Well-Being: Happiness in a Worthwhile Life
    Journal of Critical Realism 15 (3): 305-309. 2016.
  •  11
    Marx is famous for apparently dismissing the practical role of philosophy. Yet, as accumulating empirical knowledge of growing life-crises proves, the simply availability of facts is insufficient to motivate struggles for fundamental change. So too manifest social crisis. The economic crisis which began in 2008 has indeed motivated social struggles, but nothing on the order of the revolutionary struggles Marx expected. Rather than make Marx irrelevant, however, the absence of global struggles fo…Read more