Thursday, March 31, 2016


Tonight I sent the final edits on the proofs of Biologically Modified Justice (all 276 pages, which I re-read twice!) which means I can lay to rest a project I started over 16 years ago. According to the CUP website the book should be published in hard copy next month (May).

I worked so long on this project it is hard to summarize the different emotions I have now that it is finished. I'm elated, exhausted, a bit sad all at once. I don't think I will ever take on a project as ambitious as this again. Researching and writing this book really did take a toll on me. Incorporating approximately 250 different articles and books from disciplines as diverse as political theory, philosophy, feminism, evolutionary biology, medicine, biogerontology, demography and psychology was simply exhausting. Added to this was the stress and strain of sending various chapters of the book off to journal publications in different disciplines, having experts in the various fields subject my arguments to critical scrutiny. And then when it came to finding a book publisher the risk was that referees from a specific discipline like political theory or philosophy would not be happy with, or see the relevance of, the amount of science covered in the book. But alas it all proved to be worth it in the end.

I can't wait to hold a copy of the final, finished project. And now I turn my attention to writing a textbook on genetics and ethics for Polity Press this summer. But first, a glass of wine!


Friday, March 25, 2016

Democracy and Education (100 years)

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the publication of John Dewey’s masterful book Democracy and Education.

There is so much that could be said in praise of Dewey’s insightful and original contributions to democracy theory and education. I just wanted to note the following passage, which is very relevant to contemporary debates about ideal theory. When articulating the worth of any mode of social life, Dewey aptly remarked:

“In seeking this measure, we have to avoid two extremes. We cannot set up, out of our heads, something we regard as an ideal society. We must base our conception upon societies which actually exist, in order to have any assurance that our ideal is a practical one. But, as we have just seen, the ideal cannot simply repeat the traits which are actually found. The problem is to extract the desirable traits of forms of community life which actually exist, and employ them to criticize undesirable features and suggest improvement.”