Saturday, January 26, 2013

CFP: Open Borders, Lost Ideal (panel for Ideals and Reality in Social Ethics Conference, Newport, March 2013)

Ideals and Reality in Social Ethics, University of Wales, Newport 19-21 March 2013

Call for papers

Panel: Open Borders: past reality, lost Ideals

Conveners: Speranta Dumitru (University Paris Descartes) and Chris Bertram (University of Bristol)
The topic of “open borders” looks like an awkward one for research in social ethics. Unlike many other ideals which face costs and feasibility constraints as a real challenge, the case for open borders, a reality until the 20th century, is rarely considered in social ethics and remains under-theorized even as a costly and remote ideal.

This is all the more surprising as some rather powerful arguments exist in other research fields or from institutionalized practices. These arguments are both consequentialist and deontological. From a consequentialist point of view, controlling borders imposes huge costs on national governments, on economies and on individual lives, while re-opening borders could produce important gains in terms of global development. According to some economists’ estimates, removing barriers in labor mobility would double the world GDP (Clemens, 2011), while even a 3% increase would be worth more than aid, trade and debt relief combined (Pritchett, 2006). From a deontological perspective, freedom of movement is sometimes argued for within societies as a primary good (Rawls, 1993), a basic right (Shue, 1980) or central human capability (Nussbaum, 2000; Robeyns, 2003; Kronlid, 2008), but remains under-theorized at a global level. And while the right to leave any country has been institutionally recognized as a fundamental human right (UDHR, 1949), social ethicists have hitherto been mostly concerned by its negative effects on sending and receiving countries.

What do such theoretical predilections say about current research programmes in social ethics? Does a status quo bias influence normative research? Is freedom of movement an under-theorized concept beyond the field of migration? If open borders were to be defended as an ideal, what would be the means to achieve it?

To participate, please send abstracts of 300 words by 4th February to both conveners at and

Thursday, January 24, 2013

CFP: Sciences Po graduate political theory conference

The first Sciences Po Graduate Political Theory Conference is going to take place at Sciences Po, Paris, from June 20 to June 21st 2013.

We welcome contributions from young political theorists across the board, including the disciplines of political theory proper, the history of political thought, the epistemology of political science, etc. We are equally interested in accommodating a variety of theoretical approaches (analytical, normative, conceptual, historical) and intend to encourage a dialogue between these different methodologies. Also, we aim at geographic diversity, in that we shall try to promote a substantive academic exchange between young political theorists from Europe and their peers across the world.
The Sciences Po Graduate Political Theory Committee is happy to announce that Joseph Raz, famous legal, political and moral philosopher, will deliver the keynote address. The work of Joseph Raz covers a wide spectrum of topics, ranging from the relationship between law and politics, authority and reason, coercion and autonomy, moral neutrality and liberalism, to the normative intricacies of practical deliberation. Contributions that touch upon any of these subject-matters are warmly encouraged.
The Sciences Po Graduate Political Theory Conference will give doctoral students the opportunity of presenting their current work in front of their peers and other senior political theorists.
Each (2 to 2 and ½ hours-long) session of the conference will concentrate on two to three papers and will be led by a discussant from Sciences Po. Presentations will be followed by a Q&A period open to the public (professors and graduate students alike).
Submission Information
Submission deadline: February 15, 2013
Submission/selection procedure: A detailed abstract (500 to 1,000 words) of the proposal should be sent to in PDF format. Any personal or institutional identification element should be expunged from the document (any information about the author that is included in the paper in one way or another will automatically lead to a rejection of the paper). Political theory students from the Ecole Doctorale of Sciences Po, Paris, will select approximately 15 proposals on a blind basis. The proposals and final papers should be written in English, which is also the working language of the Graduate Conference. The selected participants will be notified of their acceptance by March 15, 2013. All the other proposals will be acknowledged.
Selection committee: Aurélia Bardon (Sciences Po/CEVIPOF), Benjamin Boudou (Sciences Po/CEVIPOF), Elisabeth Chertok (Sciences Po/CEVIPOF), Alicia-Dorothy Mornington (Sciences Po/CEVIPOF), Giulia Oskian (Sciences Po/CEVIPOF), Andrei Poama (Sciences Po/CERI), Denis Ramond (Sciences Po/CEVIPOF), Elise Rouméas (Sciences Po/CEVIPOF)
For any further questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact us

A Non-Ideal Theory of Law

The Green Bag/ Journal of Law symposium on Orin Kerr's "A Theory of Law is now online.  It includes a contribution from me, "A Non-Ideal Theory of Law."  Crooked Timber's Kieran Healey has one of the best entries, but I think the most important piece is by Jeffrey Lipshaw; I will be citing that one in the future.