This is a series of essays I wrote as an undergraduate, honours, and then masters student in political thought and social and political theory. I’ve edited some to remove youthful hyperbole and imperfections of style, but essentially they’re the work of a political science student in his early twenties, written from 1989 to 1992.
Beyond the Social Contract looks at Mary Midgley’s “Duties Concerning Islands” and why we should care about rights beyond the human.
Why the Lottery Won’t Work considers the pitfalls of Barbara Goodwin’s proposed system of judicial roulette.
It’s For Your Own Good examines paternalism and autonomy in the light of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men.
The Force Behind Advance Directives responds to Allen Buchanan’s discussion of personal identity, autonomy, and living wills.
Ambiguous Utopias compares Ursula Le Guin’s novel The Dispossessed with Thomas More’s original Utopia.
“We Think with Other Thoughts” looks at changing conceptualizations of rights in the American revolutionary era.
Why Was There No League of Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights? considers how notions of human rights changed in the first half of the twentieth century.