1. Revitalising democracy and civil society

As Alfred Landecker Professor of Values and Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government, I am engaged in a project to support the aims of the Foundation by examining the conflicts between majority rule and nationalism on the one hand, and protection of minority rights on the other. In particular I am interested in the institutions of law and civil society that provide a check on authority and protect minority rights.

2. Social equality

I have been attempting to develop an account of a ‘Society of Equals’ which is distinct from the type of distributive equality which at the time formed the mainstream of thinking on equality in analytic political philosophy. This approach runs through my writing on disability, inequality, poverty, social exclusion, and structural injustice. My view is that social equality is often best understood in negative terms; a society that avoids exploitation, marginalisation, social exclusion, and other damaging asymmetric relations.

3. Ethics and public policy

My book Ethics and Public Policy was first published by Routledge in May 2011, with a second edition in 2019, It brings together published and unpublished work in a number of areas of public policy, such as the regulation of drugs, animal experimentation, gambling, immigration, and the regulation of safety. The point of the book is not only to shed light on these areas, but also to consider the appropriate methodology for connecting philosophy and public policy.

4. Inequality in the city

This is a new project with Avner de-Shalit, following on from our previous work together. We look at what values a city must embody if it is to be regarded as egalitarian. It combines empirical interviews, to elicit the views of city-zens, with theoretical approaches.