Jonathan said: “The perspective of ‘real-world political philosophy’ suggests that, rather than looking for models of an ideally just society, the political philosopher should seek out the most serious injustices in the actual world and join with others to propose steps to remove or mitigate those injustices.
“An objection to this approach is the claim that without some sort of ideal of justice, first, there is nothing to guide social change, and second, there is no role for the political philosopher. My response draws on the insights of standpoint theory, from Marxism, feminism and critical race theory, to explain how philosophy can be used to identify myths that disguise the injustice of the status quo, and thereby make that injustice evident, without appealing to ideal theory.”
Jonathon was formerly Professor of Philosophy and Dean of Arts and Humanities at University College London (UCL). His recent work has largely concerned equality, disadvantage, social justice and poverty, as well as applied topics such as public safety, disability, gambling, and the regulation of recreational drugs, which he has discussed in his books Ethics and Public Policy: A Philosophical Inquiry (Routledge 2011) and The Human Right to Health (Norton 2012). His most recent book is An Introduction to Moral Philosophy (Norton 2018).
Earlier works include Disadvantage (OUP 2007), with Avner de-Shalit; An Introduction to Political Philosophy (OUP, 1996, third edition 2016); Why Read Marx Today? (OUP 2002); and Robert Nozick (Polity 1991). He has had a long-standing interest in health and health promotion, including questions of justice in health care resource allocation, the social determinants of health, and incentives and health behaviour. He has been a member of the Nuffield Council of Bioethics, the Academy of Medical Science working party on Drug Futures, the Gambling Review Body, the Homicide Review Group, an external member of the Board of Science of the British Medical Association, and a Trustee of GambleAware. He writes a regular column on higher education for the Guardian.
Members of the public are welcome to attend and no booking is required. Tea and coffee will be served from 5.30 pm. Find out more about Jonathan Wolff