Wednesday, January 30, 2008

West Ham 1-0 Liverpool

Well, at least our run of league draws is over... Didn't see the game but it sounds as if we were pretty poor. Again it was a defensive mistake that cost us - after recent own goals from Aurelio and Skrtel, this time Carragher conceding a penalty. Not even the Liverpool website disputed that, but did claim we'd been denied one of our own for a blatant handball 15 minutes earlier. Sadly, wasn't to be.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Liverpool 5-2 Havant & Waterlooville

Despite talk of the romance of the cup, no one seriously expected a 'cupset' here so it was a massive surprise when H&W took the lead not once but twice in the first half. A Liverpool team stripped of its spine (Reina, Carragher, Gerrard and Torres) looked short of fluency, but its hard to say whether it was complacency or the weight of expectation. In any case, Skrtel had a debut to forget - needlessly conceding a corner that led to the first goal before a wicked deflection that may see the second credited as his own goal.

Nonetheless, once Benayoun pulled us level - again - before half-time, I never had any serious doubts. I didn't buy the idea that H&W wouldn't be fit - they're used to playing 90 mins and one of them's a binman - but quality told in the end. Benayoun completed his second hat-trick of the season (the first against Besiktas) while a brief run-out for Carragher and Gerrard (principally I assume for the benefit of the H&W players) was time enough for the latter to set up Crouch to complete the scoreline. Maybe that fifth makes Liverpool look more dominant than they were, at least in the first half, but H&W should be rpoud of themselves.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Estlund ch.2

The second installment of the Public Reason reading group is available here. Again, I got first comment (I think this must be because most contributors are in the US - or more inclined to take their time to think...). Discussion of the first chapter proved most informative and David Estlund even wrote an interesting reply. I'm looking forward to chapter 4, though Jonathan has set a high bar...

Monday, January 21, 2008

Liverpool 2-2 Aston Villa

This game reminds me of the Spurs match earlier in the season: we were fairly dominant but failed to build a lead, fell behind to two quick goals and were lucky to scrape a draw. I suppose in the context, I should praise our battling spirit, but the truth is it's two points dropped.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Guitar Hero

Last night I went on a pub crawl to celebrate Nick's birthday, which was actually earlier in the week. We ended up back at his place, playing Guitar Hero III. I didn't actually attempt this, having found Smashing Pumpkins and Metallica challenging enough (I had a go at 'One' but Steve predictably thrashed me), but the most impressive was Dragonforce's 'Through The Fire And Flames' (links: video, check out the guitar duel from c.3:20, lyrics, someone playing Guitar Hero, scarily well).

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

GPTW: Defining the Demos

This afternoon I'm presenting at the Graduate Political Theory Workshop on the appropriate boundaries of the demos. Abstract follows:

Democracy is an inclusive ideal but, until recently, little attention has been paid to who should be included. Democratic practice takes constituencies, such as the nation-state, for granted, while democratic theory has little to say on the topic. Among those who have explicitly addressed the issue (Arrhenius, Dahl, and Goodin) a popular answer has been the ‘all-affected principle’, which claims everyone affected by a decision should have a say in making it. This raises several well-known problems, such as defining who is relevantly affected.

This paper argues that the all-affected principle effectively gets things back to front. I argue that it is important to understand democracy as a system of collective agency, not simply equal respect for each person as a moral patient. Since not all patients are agents, this in itself suggests that not all with interests at stake should be enfranchised. I go on to discuss the importance of democracy in allowing us to impose costs and benefits on each other in order to achieve coordination in ways that are, in the long-run, presumptively beneficial to all. While any given agent may lose from any given decision, all have reason to comply to the system as a whole because, provided that it is fair, it not only ensures coordination but gives them a chance to have their way in future. The collective decision procedure therefore allows some members of the demos to impose costs on other members of the demos as if they were parts of a collective agent. This power is, however, limited to imposing burdens on other members of the demos, not outsiders.

Agents are normally responsible for the consequences of their actions and so, I suggest, it is for the demos conceived of as a collective agent – what a group do, the group is responsible for. The group are legitimately entitled to distribute internal costs according to their own mechanisms of justice and democracy, but they are not thereby entitled to impose costs on outsiders. Collective agency is therefore limited by something like Mill’s harm principle – the demos are not entitled to negatively affect outsiders through their agency, and if they do are presumably liable to pay compensation. Whereas Goodin conceives of such reparations as an inferior substitute for enfranchising those others, however, I argue it is the ideal. We do not think you are entitled to a say in whatever I do if it may affect you, merely that I am debarred from negatively affecting (harming) you in certain ways. Similarly, the demos is not required to give any affected outsiders influence in its decisions, simply not to inflict certain setbacks on those outsiders (or to compensate them), because they are not automatically compensated by being part of the democratic distribution of benefits and burdens. I conclude that being affected does not entitle one to influence in decisions and the boundaries of the demos must be settled prior to democratic decision.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Liverpool 5-0 Luton (FA Cup replay)

Back in 2006 our run to lifting the FA Cup began with a thrilling 5-3 win over Luton. Having already been frustrated by a 1-1 draw last week, however, it seemed Benitez was taking no chances, and fielded arguably our strongest team, aside from Itandje in goal, with even Gerrard and Torres starting.

A determined Luton rearguard, marshalled by Don Hutchinson of all people, impressively held out for almost all of a very one-sided first half, but the commentators were only ever talking of how long it would be. Fortunately for us, a lapse of cocentration in first half injury time allowed Babel (who's already hit the post) to fire in the first and that seemed to break the Luton resistance as Liverpool were 4-0 up by 64 minutes.

Gerrard's first and Hyypia's both came from headers, underlining Liverpool's dominance in the air, and Gerrard struck two long-range shots to complete a hat-trick shortly before making way for Lucs Leiva. Luton can hold their heads up high for even taking us to a replay, much less holding out as long as they did, but they'll be more grateful for the extra money; while I think we can be pleased enough with a professional 5-0 win. Hopefully we won't need our full team in the next round, which will probably be against Swansea (subject to replay tomorrow).

Monday, January 14, 2008

And yet another...

As if it weren't enough that most of my peers from college have finished, today saw my friend Julia's successful viva. Well done!

Estlund Reading Group Begins

The previously advertised reading group on David Estlund's new book has begun over at Public Reason. And I got to make the first comment!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Middlesbrough 1-1 Liverpool

Another frustrating draw. Although, let it not be forgotten that the Riverside hasn't been a happy hunting ground in recent year - we hadn't so much as scored here since 2002. Moreover, 'Boro tend to raise their game for the top sides, as shown by the fact that Arsenal lost here. (On the subject of which, Arsenal were also held at home by Birmingham, like us - simply underscoring the fact that blips happen, the trouble is ensuring they're not too regular).

I suppose I can take some comfort from the fact we came from behind to equalize, via a great Torres goal. Also Agger's presence on the bench was a welcome sight after four months out. UPDATE: Spoke too soon. I'm pretty worried about him now... This Skrtel had better be good!

Friday, January 11, 2008

0th Week Round-Up

It's good to be back in Oxford...

On Monday, I went for a quick congratulatory post-viva drink with Steve.

On Tuesday I had lunch with interview candidates for the JRF in Politics at Jesus and then in the evening went to Intrusion (the monthly goth night) down the Cellar.

On Wednesday I spent most of the day at the Centre for Political Ideologies Workshop on 'the Real and the Imaginary' and then in the evening had my supervisor to the formal graduate dinner at Jesus (three free meals over two days there!) before going on to the post-BPhil Philosophy party in Holywell Manor. Just before dinner I got offered some more Mill teaching too, which pretty much completes my load for the term.

Thursday wasn't really a productive day but I did try to get some work done - been trying to get through some reading on Hegel for Jerry's class.

This morning I was invigilating undergraduate Collections (internal college exams), which meant I got paid while I was reading the paper for Monday's Nuffield seminar(!) In the afternoon, I received an invitation to interview for the Queens JRF in Politics, which meant I had to spend most of the afternoon finding and editing some writing samples (rather than writing my presentation for next week's graduate political theory workshop) but was very welcome news.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Term's almost upon us and lecture lists are available here. Select highlights:

4:30 Moral philosophy seminar

5 Law faculty seminar on political philosophy (I'm waiting to see the contents - but suspect it'll be Rawls and Dworkin)

2 'Sexual ethics' with Prof R. M. Adams
5 Graduate Political Theory Workshop

11 Philosophy of beauty with Roger Scruton
10-12 (even weeks) Julian Savulescu's Applied Ethics group
5 Jerry's Hegel & Marx class

Teaching day?

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Reviewing Terrorism

The Review Journal of Political Philosophy is seeking submissions on terrorism (via here and here). I've informed Rob, but will also be trying to polish off a piece of my own.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

ESF Journal Rankings

It's a slightly old post, but Thom Brooks links to ESF journal rankings in philosophy. Some of interest:

American Philosophical Quarterly
Australasian Journal of Philosophy
Economics and Philosophy
Journal of Philosophy
Law and Philosophy
Philosophical Quarterly
Philosophical Review
Philosophy and Phenomenological Research
Philosophy and Public Affairs
Social Philosophy and Policy

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice
Journal of Applied Philosophy
Journal of Ethics
Journal of Moral Philosophy
Journal of Political Philosophy
Journal of Value Inquiry
Legal Theory
Political Theory
Politics, Philosophy and Economics
Res Publica

Ethical Perspectives

Monday, January 07, 2008

Another One Done...

Congratulations to my friend Steve on passing his viva this afternoon.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Luton 1-1 Liverpool (FA Cup)

This is, I believe, the first time in Rafa's tenure that Liverpool have faced a team below the Championship, and I expected him to follow Wenger's strategy of employing (for the most part) a youthful reserve side - including at least some of Hobbs, Insua, El Zhar, Spearing, Leto and maybe even Simon. As it was, eight changes were made and while the likes of Itandje, Leiva and Babel got starts, it was still a strong side.

It's all the more frustrating then that they were unable to defeat a team in the League One relegation zone (albeit only because of a ten point penalty). It's true that Luton didn't create too many dangerous chances, and even their equalizer was an own goal by Riise, but the fact is that nor did we and they were good money for a draw. Speaking of which, no one can really begrudge them a much needed and lucrative return tie at Anfield. For them, it's probably the best result, and I'm not too bothered about fixture congestion either. This time I think we should play the reserves - they can't do much worse...

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Political Thought Conference

I've just finished with the Oxford political thought conference (mention of which here), which has taken up most of my time since I got back. The two conveners chose an interesting mix of papers - half analytic philosophy (Cohen, Steiner, Mendus and McDermott) and half continental/post-modern/structural. No need to say which I preferred, but I attended seven of the sessions and benefited from at least five, finding the one on sex and genos in Republic particularly interesting...

As ever, it's not simply the papers that matter. Last year, I thought the social side of the conference was a bit of a let-down, in that I met very very people I didn't already know and think I spent most of the social time with fellow Oxford grad students. I think this is partly down to the slightly strange way the conference is run, so I wasn't an official participant or there for meals etc. Nonetheless, I think this year was much better.

Special credit to those willing to talk to graduate students, in the bar or over coffee. I got to meet Keith Sutherland, who has already published one book on sortition and whose Imprint Academic are hoping to publish more soon. I also got to pick up an issue of Polis (23:2) dedicated to Ernest Barker on Plato and Aristotle, which has an interesting looking paper about Greek democracy. On the subject of journals, I met Simon Tormey, reviews editor at Contemporary Political Theory, which may be useful (I'm still trying to get a copy of the Estlund book). Plus I got to have a chat with Hillel Steiner (who I may well see again at this year's Warwick grad conference) about his paper, over coffee, and meet and talk to several other interesting people and old friends. (Another plug: Clare's book, out very soon).

Thursday, January 03, 2008


I'm back in Oxford now. The journey/move went fairly well, apart from having misplaced the plug adaptor for my computer speakers, meaning I have no music :(

Since I'm spending most of the next two days at the Political Thought Conference that shouldn't be a huge loss though.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

G A Cohen Bites

I'm returning to Oxford tomorrow, hoping to make it to the Political Thought Conference (programme), although I've heard Jerry Cohen's stuff before. On the subject though, I've just been directed to this podcast interview, via CT.