I’ll be talking on Against Marriage in the Bigg Books speaker series in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne on 20 November 2018. You can find more details here.
Clare Chambers is Reader in Political Philosophy at University of Cambridge. She is a political philosopher specializing in feminist philosophy, contemporary liberalism, theories of social justice, and social construction. She will argue for the abolition of state-recognised marriage on the grounds that it violates both equality and liberty, even when expanded to include same-sex couples. Instead she will defend the idea of a the marriage-free state: an egalitarian state in which religious or secular marriages are permitted but have no legal status.
I’ll be talking about Against Marriage at the Cambridge Festival of Ideas on Monday 15th October 2018, in the Frankopan Hall of Jesus College, Cambridge. Tickets are available here.
Many states have recently expanded their definition of marriage to allow marriage between same-sex couples: a welcome move towards equality, but does this go far enough? Philosopher Clare Chambers argues for a more extreme position: that the state should not recognise marriage at all. State recognition of marriage, she will argue, is a violation of both equality and liberty – no matter how marriage is redefined.
Tickets were sold out and so the talk was live-streamed. You can watch it on youtube here:
I presented my paper “Reasonable disagreement and the neutralist dilemma: Abortion and circumcision in Matthew Kramer’s Liberalism with Excellence” at the University of Edinburgh in March 2018. You can read their account of the session on the Just World Institute blog here.
Marriage is an odd mix of sex, religion, and politics. Our speakers ask what marriage is and whether there is there any distinctive moral value in it. Should the state promote it? Is it possible to have an ‘equal’ marriage, or is marriage fundamentally an oppressive institution? Should marriage be rejected in favour of civil partnerships, or something else, or perhaps nothing else?
You can watch a video of the event and listen to the podcast here.
Speakers Clare Chambers
Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, University of Cambridge
Convened by Dr Clare Chambers (Philosophy) and Dr Duncan Bell (POLIS)
University of Cambridge
Michaelmas Term 2017 All sessions are held on Fridays at 1 – 2.30pm in the Bawden Room of Jesus College. This is in West Court, which can be accessed either via the main entrance of Jesus College or directly from Jesus Lane. Refreshments will be served at the close of formal proceedings. There are no precirculated papers and all are welcome. 6 Oct: Tom Shakespeare, University of East Anglia: “The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: making use of the stilts?” 20 Oct: Avia Pasternak and Jeff Howard, UCL: “Criminal Acccountability, Restorative Justice, and the Moral Standing of States” 3 Nov: Katrin Flikschuh, LSE: “Philosophical Racism” 17 Nov: Bernardo Zacka, University of Cambridge: “When the Rules Run Out: Informal Taxonomies at the Front Lines of Public Service”
Lent Term 2018
All seminars will be held in Upper Hall, Jesus College. Please note that this is a different room from that used by the Seminar in MT. Upper Hall is in the old part of Jesus College, enter via the Porters’ Lodge.
The seminars are held on Fridays at 1 – 2.30pm, followed by refreshments. There are no pre-circulated papers and all are welcome.
**Please note also that the third Seminar this term deviates from the fortnightly pattern, to accommodate a speaker coming from overseas.**
19th January: Cecile Laborde, University of Oxford. “Liberal Egalitarianism and the Critique of Religion”
2nd February: Heather Widdows, University of Birmingham. Title TBC.
9th February (NOTE DATE): Sam Moyn, Yale University. “The Doctor’s Plot: How Philosophizing Human Rights Began”
2nd March: Herjeet Marway, University of Birmingham. “Procreative Justice and Genetic Selection for Non-Disease Traits: The Case of Fair Skin”
I’m a Symposiast at the 2017 Joint Sessions of the Aristotelian Society and the Mind Association in Edinburgh. My paper is called “Ideology and Normativity” and it responds to Sally Haslanger. You can find details here and read my paper here.
All seminars this term will be held in JESUS COLLEGE, in the Prioress’s Room. Please note that this is NOT the same college as last term. Moreover, long-standing seminar members should not that this is NOT the usual room in Jesus College. The seminar will be signposted.
As usual the seminars take place at alternate Fridays at 1pm – 2.30pm, with refreshments served at the close of formal proceedings. There is no pre-circulated paper and all are welcome.
20th Jan: Dana Mills, University of Oxford. “The Dancer of the Future from a Socialist Point of View: Eleanor Marx, Isadora Duncan, and Choreographing Socialist Feminism” 3rd Feb: Herjeet Marway, University of Birmingham. “Should we genetically select for the beauty feature of fair skin? Procreative Beneficence versus Procreative Justice.” 17th Feb: Chris Armstrong, University of Southampton. “Institutions, Growth, and Global Justice” 3rd March: David Runciman, University of Cambridge. “States, Corporations, Robots”
I had a profoundly moving and informative time listening and speaking at the Genital Autonomy 14th Annual Symposium on Changing Global Perceptions: Child Protection & Bodily Autonomy. The Symposium was at Keele University on 14-16 September 2016. You can find details of the Symposium here. My talk was titled “Cultural v. Cosmetic v. Clinical Surgery: Challenging the Distinction.”
There is a general consensus in liberal theory, practice, and law that female genital mutilation (FGM) is a violation of rights and justice that should be banned. However, there is no such consensus about male circumcision or cosmetic surgery, including labiaplasty. These practices are legal in most liberal states and there is no general critique of them in mainstream liberal theory. This talk will consider the philosophical reasons in favour of distinguishing FGM from male circumcision and labiaplasty, and find them wanting. Both cosmetic and clinical surgeries are fundamentally cultural. I argue that male circumcision and cosmetic surgery should be regulated in the same way as FGM – which means, among other things, much stricter regulations on when such surgeries can be performed on children.
I was delighted to be a representative of contemporary political philosophy, talking about Feminism in Philosophy, in this year’s Balzan-Skinner conference in the History of Political Thought. Find details here. The conference is on 22 May 2015.
I was neither an organiser or paper-giver at this conference for David Miller in May 2015, but I was honoured and delighted to give a toast to David, who supervised my DPhil with Lois McNay. Thanks to Chris Bertram for the photo, and to Dan Butt, Sarah Fine and Zofia Stemplowska for organising the conference.