Quentin Skinner: ‘How Machiavellian was Machiavelli?’

On the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the composition of Niccolò Machiavelli’s The Prince, Quentin Skinner delivered this public lecture, titled ‘How Machiavellian was Machiavelli?’ at the University of York on 12 February 2013. Quentin Skinner is the Barber Beaumont Professor of the Humanities at Queen Mary, University of London.

Welt der Gründe

Felix Meiner Verlag has released Welt der Gründe; Deutsches Jahrbuch Philosophie 4. 2012, edited by Julian Nida-Rümelin and Elif Özmen. The volume contains the papers presented at colloquiums of the 22nd German Congress of Philosophy, as well as plenary and evening lectures given by Jürgen Habermas, Seyla Benhabib, Lorraine Daston, Peter Gärdenfors, Franz von Kutschera,

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

Jeremy Waldron has posted a new paper titled Toleration: Is There a Paradox? on SSRN. Here is the abstract: Philosophers (Bernard Williams, for example) often talk of a paradox of toleration. They say that we can only be said to tolerate that which is acknowledged to be bad or wrong; but, they continue, if something

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.

Professor Joseph Raz has posted Is There a Reason to Keep Promises? at SSRN. Here is the abstract: If promises are binding there must be a reason to do as one promised. The paper is motivated by belief that there is a difficulty in explaining what that reason is.

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.

Why Tolerate Religion?

Princeton University Press has released Brian Leiter’s provocative essay, Why Tolerate Religion?. The text incorporates—”with significant revisions to the account of religion”—material from two earlier articles he published on this subject: “Why Tolerate Religion?” in Constitutional Commentary 25 (2008), and “Foundations of Religious Liberty: Toleration or Respect“, in San Diego Law Review 47 (2010). 

Habermas Revisits ‘Linguistification of the Sacred’

In a much discussed chapter of the second volume of Theorie des kommunikativen Handelns (1981), Jürgen Habermas presented a theory of linguistic transformation of the binding authority of the sacred. His account there was generally considered as a radical formulation of secularization theory. 




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.