Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Liverpool 2-1 Cardiff

While 2-1 may look like a potential banana skin just avoided, I think (hope) it's a sign of continued recovery. We were able to play a few fringe players, most notably Hobbs, and still win. Perhaps the only downside is needing to play both Carra and Gerrard, largely due to injuries. Thankfully we have, as far as I'm aware, avoided further injuries and can now look forward to the quarter final draw. Things are all Premiership now, but I'm not too bothered who we get. I don't think Chelsea or Arsenal would really be any harder than Everton, Blackburn or Man City if they continue to play their youth/reserve sides.

Oxford Union

It seems the OU is generating a fair amount of controversy - BNP and free speech aside. Maybe I should be attending more of their events...

For what it's worth, I think it's wrong to say the OU has such an impact on how British parliament runs. In fact, they refer to the style of debating as 'British Parliamentary', carrying on as they do because it's how parliament runs and for many the Union is training for a later career in politics.

As for whether this is the best way to decide policy, no, probably not; but the Union isn't actually a policy-making body (at least, not at national level). Debating is an intellectual skill and those who take part in competitions are assigned both a motion and a position (proposition or opposition) over which they have no control. Their task is to construct an argument based on limited research and to engage with and refute their opponents.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Liverpool 1-1 Arsenal

If you'd asked me before this game, I'd probably have taken a draw. Although there have been some signs of us returning to form, we'd just come back from a defeat in Turkey while Arsenal had had an extra day's rest after an impressive 7-0 win at home. As it was, a draw was almost certainly the right result, but I can't help feeling a little disappointed having led for most of the match.

Sure Arsenal probably dominated possession and played nice football, as they usually do, but if you look at clean cut chances we had just as many and, while they hit the bar, Almunia was the busiest 'keeper. As it was, injuries to Torres, Alonso and Mascherano also played a part in allowing Arsenal back into the game - I hope they're not out long as we've already seen how much we miss the former two.

Friday, October 26, 2007

What Chance?

Malcolm Clark, over at MMVC, asks:
How about enshrining the right for my vote to stand a reasonable chance of affecting the outcome of an election?

I suggest a 1/n chance as being about right to serve political equality.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Besiktas 2-1 Liverpool

I don't know what has happened to Liverpool's Champions League form all of a sudden. Maybe it's a case of Alternate Season Syndrome (the more general phenomenon behind Second Season Syndrome, I guess) but this is a pretty drastic turnaround, as we've seen in several other aspects of our play (including home and away form).

Though members of the (now Facebook-enabled) GPTW were having drinks in the University club after my talk, I wasn't close enough to a Liverpool screen to see anything of the match really, but knew when the first goal went in. It seems Sami's having a tough time lately and couldn't really be held at fault, but we need Agger back as soon as possible. Him and Alonso are two of our most comfortable in possession and passing so losing both together has understandably had an effect, while Hyypia's lack of pace is stretching the whole defence (at least, I hope that has something to do with the apparent loss of form afflicting the others).

In truth, it wasn't a dreadful performance and we probably deserved at least a draw; although I don't know how so many of the team managed to count 28 shots at goal - the BBC makes it a more modest 18 (11 on target). Too bad Gerrard's goal couldn't inspire another memorable three goal comeback (as in a previous visit to Istanbul), but hopefully it may be a sign/help in his regaining form - and that's somethign we badly need...

Oh, and I think Crouch should've started both today and Sunday.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Paul Raven RIP

Paul Raven, bassist from Killing Joke and various other side projects, including work with Ministry and The Damage Manual, has died of a suspected heart attack.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Everton 1-2 Liverpool

Though anyone inclined towards luck egalitarianism may disagree, we tend to think luck evens itself out. Well, I guess Liverpool had their share of good fortune today. The two penalties were fairly clear - particularly the second, as Phil Neville apparently dived to get a hand on the ball on the line. On the other hand, however, Everton were denied what could have been one or two of their own, and another ref could've red-carded Kuyt for a two footed lunge at Neville (he claims he was sliding in to block the ball and deliberately didn't touch Neville). Hopefully this win will help instill a bit of confidence.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Oceansize Gig 3

Tonight I went to see Oceansize at the re-opened Zodiac. (People are still debating whether to call in 'Cardiac', 'Zodamy' or something else...). To be honest, I probably didn't enjoy it as much as last time - they played a lot of new material from Frames, which I still haven't heard yet. The new stuff did sound good though, so I'm now even more eagerly awaiting that amazon delivery (apparently posted Sunday!) and also I did run into a former student in the crowd, which was quite nice.

Department Desk

About half an hour ago I received an email from the Department saying they wanted to repossess my desk. I think they like sending these things around last thing on a Friday, so nothing can be done over the weekend. Anyway, it appears I was supposed to reapply by 5th October, a fact they claimed had been advertised by email - so the reason I didn't may be to do with not getting any emails.

I admit I don't actually work at my desk that often, since I don't have a computer there and I'm teaching at least three days a week in college anyway, but I do need the space it offers. My room is about 10 sq. m, mostly taken up by my bed and desk, and has no bookshelves, so I've been relying on keeping work-related stuff in my filing cabinet, even if it isn't so convenient.

In a further example of departmental administration, I today received the names of the two 'children' I'm supposed to mentor. Probably a bit late to help them settle in now or even meet them, having missed the welcome party. They said they'd try to match people up by subjects and both work vaguely on democracy I think but neither are theorists.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Student Representation

I'm not sure that the new 'minister for students' will do much more to represent students. After all, students already have votes, and if more of them used them they should be adequately represented as it is. Another good alternative would be to bring back the days when Oxford University had its own MPs...

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Online First

Those with online access to the Journal of Value Inquiry (via Springerlink) can see my Fabre review online.

Ethical Selections

A test of how your moral beliefs fit those of various philosophers (via).

I have to admit some of the choices are rather artificial/limited, and I may come out differently if I re-took this test. Nonetheless, my results are below, and I was very surprised by the top two:

1. Aquinas (100%) Information link
2. Jean-Paul Sartre (93%) Information link
3. John Stuart Mill (88%) Information link
4. Jeremy Bentham (85%) Information link
5. Epicureans (78%) Information link
6. Aristotle (73%) Information link
7. St. Augustine (73%) Information link
8. Nel Noddings (71%) Information link
9. Ockham (65%) Information link
10. Kant (63%) Information link
11. Spinoza (60%) Information link
12. Plato (55%) Information link
13. Nietzsche (50%) Information link
14. Prescriptivism (40%) Information link
15. Ayn Rand (35%) Information link
16. Stoics (32%) Information link
17. David Hume (29%) Information link
18. Cynics (23%) Information link
19. Thomas Hobbes (16%) Information link

Friday, October 12, 2007

Department Emails

Earlier this week, I received an email from the History Faculty asking what lectures/seminars I intended to give next term. I think they must have confused me with this guy (despite different first names, initials, departments and colleges).

On the other hand, I also found I - and a few other people - had mysteriously dropped off the department's email list. (This may be because they optimistically assumed I'd finish in 2+2 years). If you're a grad student at DPIR and haven't received the usual deluge of emails from Jessica Begon (who's temporarily filling Andrew Melling's job) then you may a) not know what's going on in the South East Asia seminar and b like to know about this:

"[T]he Politics Department 'Welcome Party', will take place at 5-7pm on Monday (15th October) in the Common Room of the Manor Road building. Wine (and soft drinks) will be provided, if the opportunity of socialising with your fellow Department members is not inducement enough to attend!"

More seriously, email Jessica to get back on the list, in case anything important happens (and for Graduate Political Theory Workshop abstracts).

Thursday, October 11, 2007


Why did the chicken cross the A80 road?

Maybe there should be a prize for anyone who can come up with an answer better than 'for somewhere to crash'...


A lot of students take a part-time job to make ends meet. In my case, it's teaching, though apparently Avon are trying to attract Oxford students, while 'tabs turn to prostitution.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Liverpool 2-2 Spurs

And suddenly we're conceding goals all over the place... When we lost to Marseille, one of my friends claimed that was like losing to Wigan, based on their respective league positions, and I said that it was really more like losing to Spurs (or Bolton) - who are better than their current position suggests. Even so, at home, we need to be able to win games like this - while our away form is immeasurably better than last year, we've dropped six points at home through inability to win.

For the first 40 minutes, I was actually quite hopeful. After Voronin scored the first, we created several other chances - Gerrard (still not on form) denied only by the wood-work and a late block/tackle. Unfortunately, some uncharacteristic defensive lapses allowed Keane to score either side of half-time, and from then on we struggled. I suppose I should take some comfort from the never-say-die attitude that allowed Torres to score the equalizer well into injury time; I'd certainly have settled for a draw for most of the second half, but we need to improve and soon. Thankfully this international break (unlike the last) may not have come at a bad time - I just hope key players come back fit and it doesn't disrupt our preparation for Everton and Arsenal too badly.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Houses by Lottery

If demand for new flatpack homes is high, they may be allocated by lottery, which seems an obvious way to ensure that "everyone who qualifies will get an equal opportunity to purchase a BoKlok home".

Printing and Post

I've just printed off my application for the Gonville and Caius Research Fellowship. 6 page application form and 6 pages of research summary, both 12(!) copies, and two copies of a 28,000 words writing sample - I must've spent £5 printing it all and now I'm faced with the problem of how to get it there by next Friday, given postal workers are striking. I've just been to the Post Office and am told Special Delivery is not guaranteed while Parcel Force would cost £15+. If I had the time, it'd be cheaper to go to Cambridge myself...

In print

Book note on Andrew Rehfeld The Concept of Constituency: Political Representation, Democratic Legitimacy, and Institutional Design in Political Studies Review vol. 5, issue 3 [Sept 2007] p.408 (c.300 words)

Book note on David van Mill Deliberation, Social Choice and Absolutist Democracy for Political Studies Review vol. 5, issue 3 [Sept 2007] p.411 (c.400 words)

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Liverpool 0-1 Marseille

I can't really say too much about this match as I didn't get to see it, but by all accounts we were well out of sorts. After we beat Toulouse comfortably, and even Rangers beat Lyon, Marseille shouldn't have been too much opposition. As it is, a disappointing performance leaves us something of an uphill struggle now to qualify for the CL knock-out stages - so we'd better rediscover our form before the trip to Besiktas.

Nagel Readings

Core Reading:
T. Nagel (2005) 'The Problem of Global Justice' Philosophy and Public Affairs 33:2 113-47 (here)
A. J. Julius (2006) ‘Nagel’s Atlas’ Philosophy & Public Affairs 34:2 176–192 (here)
J. Cohen & C. Sabel (2006) ‘Extra Rempublicam Nulla Justitia?’ Philosophy & Public Affairs 34:2 147–175 (here)

S. Meckled-Garcia. ‘On the Very Idea of Cosmopolitan Justice: Constructivism and International Agency’ Journal of Political Philosophy (forthcoming) 1-27 (here)
M. Pendlebury (2007) ‘Global Justice and the Specter of Leviathan’ The Philosophical Forum 38:1 43–56 (here)
M. Moore (2006) ‘Globalization and Democratization: Institutional Design for Global Institutions’ Journal of Social Philosophy 37:1 21–43 (here)
M. W. Doyle (2006) ‘One World, Many Peoples: International Justice in John Rawls’s The Law of Peoples’ Perspectives on Politics 4:1 109ff. (here)
S. Chambers (2006) ‘The Politics of Equality: Rawls on the Barricades’ Perspectives on Politics 4:1 81ff. (here)
H. V. Milner (2005) ‘Globalization, Development, and International Institutions: Normative and Positive Perspectives’ Perspectives on Politics 3:4 833ff. (here)

Dispute Over Leg Ownership

Normally debates about the trade in and commodification of body parts focus on paying for parts to be detached, e.g. buying someone's kidney for transplant. This case is somewhat unusual as someone's already-severed leg was auctioned off in a barbecue smoker.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Back in Oxford

I made it back around 2pm today, without too much hold up due to traffic. Still getting my room sorted, and I find a mound of paperwork (some of which should have been forwarded to me while I was away, but wasn't).

Of particular interest is the licence to occupy my room which is a) addressed to Benjamin Saunders (my 8th year and the college still don't know my name...) and b) apparently signed by the Accommodation Officer on 29/08/07 - although I was left in limbo until mid-September before being given confirmation of my room.

Anyway, it's good to be back - I've already met a few of the freshers I'll be living with and bumped into a few friends, hope I'll catch up with everyone else over the next few weeks.