Liberal Theory

Constellations Special Issue on Human Rights

The Current issue of Constellations (Volume 20, Issue 1, March 2013) has a special section on human rights, guest edited by Rainer Forst, Christoph Menke, and Stefan Gosepath. The section contains six papers by Seyla Benhabib, Charles Beitz, Etienne Balibar, Ahmed An-Na’im, Costas Douzinas, and Susanne Baer. This special issue originated in the international conference, “Human Rights…

Typology of Religious Arguments in Public Reason

Andrew March (Yale) has posted Rethinking Religious Reasons in Public Justification on SSRN. Here is the abstract: This paper intervenes in the debate on the place of religious arguments in public reason. I advance the debate not by asking whether something called “religious reasons” ought to be invoked in the justification of coercive laws, but

Seyla Benhabib: ‘Transnational Legal Spheres and the Construction(s) of Cultural Difference’

Seyla Benhabib, Eugene Meyer Professor of Political Science and Philosophy at Yale University, presents her lecture, entitled “Transnational Legal Spheres and the Construction(s) of ‘Cultural’ Difference”. The lecture is followed by a Q & A session. The event was held on November 29, 2012, as part of the Graduate Center, CUNY 2012-2013 Mellon Sawyer Seminar Series, “Democratic

Two New Papers by Waldron on Human Dignity

Jeremy Waldron has posted the following papers on SSRN: Is Dignity the Foundation of Human Rights? Abstract: The paper will consider the common claim that human rights are based on human dignity as a foundational value. I will make some criticisms of that idea, arguing instead that dignity is a status that comprises fundamental human

Symposium on Jonathan Quong’s ‘Liberalism Without Perfection’

Under the title Political Liberalism Vs. Liberal Perfectionism, the new issue of Philosophy and Public Issues (Vol. 2 NS, No. 1, 2012) has published a symposium on Jonathan Quong’s Liberalism Without Perfection (OUP 2011). Quong replies there to four critical commentaries on his book by Gerald Gaus, Michele Bocchiola, Joseph Chan, and Ben Colburn. Rejecting liberal

Leslie Green on Freedom, Autonomy, and Authenticity

Professor Leslie Green has posted What is Freedom for? on SSRN. Here is the abstract: Two conceptions of the value of political freedom are popular. According to one, freedom serves autonomy, creating one’s own path through life. According to the other, freedom serves authenticity, keeping faith with an identity one did not choose. This paper

The Routledge Companion to Social and Political Philosophy

The Routledge Companion to Social and Political Philosophy Edited by Gerald Gaus and Fred D’Agostino. Published 27th November 2012, by Routledge. 1050 pages. Description: The Routledge Companion to Social and Political Philosophy is a comprehensive, definitive reference work, providing an up-to-date survey of the field, charting its history and key figures and movements, and addressing

Conference: ‘John Rawls: Past, Present, Future’

To mark the tenth anniversary of John Rawls passing away (November 24, 2002), The Global Justice Program at Yale University, led by Thomas Pogge, hosts a full-day meeting tomorrow, November 30, 2012. The organizing committee invited papers from young scholars below 37. For the conference program and the accepted papers, available for download, see here.

Rainer Forst on ‘Toleration and Democracy’

Rainer Forst, Professor of Political Theory at Goethe University Frankfurt, presents his talk entitled “Toleration and Democracy”, followed by commentary by Adam Etinson. The event was held on November 8, 2012, as part of the Graduate Center, CUNY 2012-2013 Mellon Sawyer Seminar Series, “Democratic Citizenship and the Recognition of Cultural Differences.”

Reading Group on Corey Brettschneider’s New Book

The blog Public Reason hosts a reading group on Corey Brettschneider’s new book, When the State Speaks, What Should It Say?. Jonathan Quong (Manchester) posted yesterday the first post of the reading group, offering a brief summary of the introduction and the first chapter, with three critical comments. See the Schedule of reading group here. Also, in a




The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran announces the publication of Sketches of Iran: A Glimpse from the Front Lines of Human Rights, available now at In this unprecedented collection of drawings, editorial cartoons, and portraits of human rights defenders, internationally acclaimed Iranian artists depict the pain and the resiliency of those in Iran who refuse to relinquish their rights, despite the Iranian government’s attempts to silence them.


After the “Arab springs” and other protest movements that prompted many rises and falls in last year’s index, the 2013 Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index marks a return to a more usual configuration.


  • Iran: Prosecute Officials in Detained Blogger’s Death | Human Rights Watch →Iran’s judiciary should conclude a speedy, independent, and transparent criminal investigation followed by prosecution of those believed responsible for the death of the blogger Sattar Behesht. Beheshti died in the custody of Tehran’s cyber police in November 2012. Iranian officials should stop harassing his family and hampering their efforts to seek justice and ensure that those responsible for the blogger’s death are held to account. Although Beheshti died almost four months ago, there is no indication that the judiciary has concluded the criminal investigation into the officers accused of responsibility for his death, despite promises by officials that the case would be sent to the courts for prosecution before mid-February.
  • New report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran →”The Special Rapporteur assesses in this report that there continues to be widespread systemic and systematic violations of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Reports communicated by nongovernmental organisations, human rights defenders, and individuals concerning violations of their human rights or the rights of others continue to present a situation in which civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights are undermined and violated in law and practice. Moreover, a lack of Government investigation and redress generally fosters a culture of impunity, further weakening the impact of the human rights instruments Iran has ratified.”
  • Resetdoc Videos: Andrew Arato on ‘The Arab Spring and Democratic Constituent Power’ →In order to create a new democratic political order the initial transformation process needs even more participation and a democratic constituent power, argues political scientist Andrew Arato at Reset-Dialogues’ Istanbul Seminars. Democracy making is a consensual process with an active input from civil society groups, and not just from elites. In Egypt this constituent democratic form never really emerged yet, also because the Brotherhood allowed the military to impose its own rules, asking for quick elections in return.
  • Wege zu einem authentischen Säkularismus, von Nader Hashemi – →”Zwei Jahre nach Beginn des Arabischen Frühlings bestätigt eine Reihe politischer Entwicklungen eine Behauptung aus meinem Buch “Islam, Secularism and Liberal Democracy” (2012). Darin argumentierte ich, dass in muslimischen Gesellschaften der Weg zur Demokratie, welche Biegungen und Wendungen er auch nevhmen wird, “nicht umhin kann, die Tore der religiösen Politik zu durchqueren”.”
  • Call for Iran to end house arrest of opposition leaders | →Six leading human rights organisations have called on Iran to end the “arbitrary” house arrest of opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, who have been cut off from the outside world for nearly two years without being put on trial.
  • Photo Essays: 50 Years of Women’s Right to Vote in Iran – →In 1963 – 50 years ago, women in Iran got the right to vote. Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi allowed women to vote as one part of a broader reform program to modernize the country. Women’s voting rights in particular were granted in late January by way of a national referendum. Initially, the majority of Iranians stood behind the reform agenda known as the White Revolution. id-1963 brought heavy opposition to implementing the reform, and Iran’s spiritual elites were bitterly against the White Revolution. It was this context that propelled the rise of Ayatollah Khomeini, who would go on to lead his own revolution.