Reading Ethics and Political Philosophy (REAPP)

Co-directors: Dr Patrick Tomlin and .



REAPP brings together moral and political philosophers working in the Departments of Philosophy and Politics and International Relations. Sharing a commitment to the methods of analytical philosophy, REAPP's members work together under the following themes.


Dr Luke Elson works on questions concerning how one option can appear (or be) more valuable than another, and how this can be impacted by indeterminacy.

Dr Brian Feltham is interested in the substantive moral presuppositions, shared or otherwise, that contextualise deliberations about fairness.

Professor Brad Hooker is writing a book on fairness and has published papers on fairness, needs, desert, and impartiality.

Dr Patrick Tomlin is interested in the relationship between fairness and other moral concepts, including claims and equality. He has written on the luck egalitarian conception of fairness.

Normative Methodology

Professor Jonathan Dancy works on the nature of normativity, the structure of basic normative concepts, on reasons and practical reasoning, and on the nature of action.

Dr Brian Feltham works on beliefs and praxis in the context of practical rationality as well as on the partial and impartial structures of both practical deliberation and normative theorising. He has co-edited and contributed to books on both of these subjects.

Professor Brad Hooker has published papers on metaethical naturalism, on theory vs. anti-theory in ethics, on convergence in ethical theory, on intuitionism, on reflective equilibrium, and with Philip Stratton-Lake on the buck-passing theory of value.

is interested in whether the notion of morality is a useful one and also in the extent to which social conventions including the law either influence or constitute what is usually called 'morality'.

Professor Philip Stratton-Lake is interested in the nature and use of intuitions in philosophy, especially in moral philosophy, and whether some intuitions ground knowledge.

Criminal Justice

Professor Catriona McKinnon is interested in how theories of criminal justice illuminate thinking about climate justice and ethics. She is also working on the idea of climate change as a crime against humanity.

is interested in the idea that the function of state punishment is to express social disapproval of crime and in how this idea relates to both retributivist theories of punishment and to notions of toleration.

Dr Patrick Tomlin is interested in four areas of criminal law theory - theories of punishment, theories of criminalization, the criminal trial and sentencing. He is especially interested in the way that principles or values from the different areas affect which principles or values we ought to affirm in the others, and in decision-making about crime and punishment under conditions of moral and empirical uncertainty.

Value and Rights

Professor Alan Cromartie is writing a general book about the thought of Thomas Hobbes and a number of specialised papers on the origins of rights-talk.

Professor Jonathan Dancy works on the nature of value, on possible forms of value, and on the relation between values and reasons. He is broadly opposed to Scanlon's buck-passing approach to these issues.

Dr Luke Elson has published on the so-called 'incommensurability of value', a phenomenon where two items (houses, policies, cars, jobs) are such that neither is better, but neither are they precisely equally good. He wonders whether this phenomenon reveals something basic about the value of nature.

Dr Brian Feltham is interested in the importance of value theory to practical reason, in particular resisting the pressure to adopt broadly consequentialist and/or impartial views of value. He is also interested in the limits and varieties of subjectivity and objectivity in matters of value.

Professor Brad Hooker has published papers on rights in general and on specific rights.

Professor Catriona McKinnon works on climate justice for future generations, political liberalism, toleration and its limits, and the ethics of despair in climate politics.

 has published on the relationship between rights and interests and in particular on the idea that some of our rights are grounded in our normative interests.

Professor Philip Stratton-Lake is interested in the nature of value, and its relation to reasons. In his work he develops and defends Scanlon's "buck-passing" account of value.

Dr Mark Tebbit is completing the 3rd Edition of his textbook on The Philosophy of Law: An Introduction (Routledge, 2014). The book covers philosophy of criminal law, along with legal theory, obligation and rights. His interests include criminal defences, the law on insanity and individual responsibility.

Dr Patrick Tomlin is interested in political liberalism (especially its application to criminal justice), theories of equality, theories of fairness, criminal justice, and moral uncertainty and disagreement.

REAPP hosts seminars and workshops, a working paper series, and an annual conference, and we offer an MA(Res) in Ethics and Political Theory. Members of REAPP welcome applications from prospective PhD students on REAPP's themes, and can offer co-supervision across the Departments of Politics and Philosophy.


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