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Profile: Annabelle Lever (University of Geneva)
  1. Annabelle Lever (forthcoming). Democracy and Folk Eistemology: A Reply to Talisse. Critical Review of Social and Political Philosophy.
    According to Robert Talisse, ‘we have sufficient epistemological reasons to be democrats’ and these reasons support democracy even when we are tempted to doubt the legitimacy of democratic government. As epistemic agents, we care about the truth of our beliefs, and have reasons to want to live in an environment conducive to forming and acting on true, rather than false, beliefs. Democracy, Talisse argues, is the best means to provide such an environment. Hence, he concludes that epistemic agency, correctly understood, (...)
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  2. Annabelle Lever (forthcoming). De La Vie Privée. authorhouse, uk.
    La vie privée est une valeur janusienne. Elle nous permet d’une part de nous retrancher du monde extérieur mais d’un autre côté la forme qu’elle prend et l’étendue de sa protection sont fondamentalement des questions d’ordre public. C’est donc, sans surprise, que la vie privée et sa protection font partie de nos conflits les plus insolubles sur le rôle que doit tenir l’Etat et les droits et les devoirs des individus. Cet ouvrage explore ces deux facettes janusiennes de la vie (...)
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  3. Annabelle Lever (forthcoming). Privacy and Democracy: What the Secret Ballot Reveals. Law, Culture and the Humanities.
    : Does the rejection of pure proceduralism show that we should adopt Brettschneider’s value theory of democracy? The answer, this paper suggests, is ‘no’. There are a potentially infinite number of incompatible ways to understand democracy, of which the value theory is, at best, only one. The paper illustrates and substantiates its claims by looking at what the secret ballot shows us about the importance of privacy and democracy. Drawing on the reasons to reject Mill’s arguments for open voting, in (...)
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  4. Annabelle Lever (2014). Book Review: A Response to James Rule. Journal of Law, Culture, and Humanities 10 (1).
    James Rule is puzzled by the ‘idiosyncratic’ approach that I take to the philosophical study of privacy. As evidence for this idiosyncracy, he cites my relative indifference to the distinction between consequentialist and deontological perspectives on privacy although these differences are proof of ‘intricate, yet enormously consequential intellectual tensions’. My choice of philosophical topics is ‘unsystematic’ and more a reflection of my own ‘intellectual hobby-horses’ than a ‘well-worked-out view of what students most need to know’. Finally, Rule concludes, because ‘the (...)
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  5. Annabelle Lever, When the Philosopher Enters the Room. Comments on Jonathan Wolff's Philosophy and Public Policy.
    What can philosophy tell us about ethics and public policy? What can the ethics of public policy tell us about philosophy? Those are the questions that Jonathan Wolff addresses in his wonderful little book. At one level, of course, the answer is straightforward – ethics is a branch of philosophy, so philosophy can tell us about the ethics of public policy, understood as a matter of deciding ‘what we should do’ in a manner that is institutionalised and collectively binding. But (...)
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  6. Annabelle Lever (2013). A Democratic Conception of Privacy. Authorhouse, UK.
    Carol Pateman has said that the public/private distinction is what feminism is all about. I tend to be sceptical about categorical pronouncements of this sort, but this book is a work of feminist political philosophy and the public/private distinction is what it is all about. It is motivated by the belief that we lack a philosophical conception of privacy suitable for a democracy; that feminism has exposed this lack; and that by combining feminist analysis with recent developments in political philosophy, (...)
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  7. Annabelle Lever (2013). Democracy and Lay Participation: The Case of NICE. In Henry Kipppin Gerry Stoker (ed.), The Future of Public Service Reform. bloomsbury academic press.
    What is the role of lay deliberation – if any – in health-care rationing, and administration more generally? Two potential answers are suggested by recent debates on the subject. The one, which I will call the technocratic answer, suggests that there is no distinctive role for lay participation once ordinary democratic politics have set the goals and priorities which reform should implement. Determining how best to achieve those ends, and then actually achieving them, this view suggests, is a matter for (...)
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  8. Annabelle Lever (2013). Democracy and Security. The Philosophers' Magazine 63 (4):99-110.
    It is especially hard, at present, to read the newspapers without emitting a howl of anguish and outrage. Philosophy can heal some wounds but, in this case, political action may prove a better remedy than philosophy. It can therefore feel odd trying to think philosophically about surveillance at a time like this, rather than joining with like-minded people to protest the erosion of our civil liberties, the duplicity of our governments, and the failings in our political institutions - including our (...)
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  9. Annabelle Lever (2013). Privacy, Democracy, and Security. The Philosophers' Magazine 63:99-105.
    It is especially hard, at present, to read the newspapers without emitting a howl of anguish and outrage. Philosophy can heal some wounds but, in this case, political action may prove a better remedy than philosophy. It can therefore feel odd trying to think philosophically about surveillance at a time like this, rather than joining with like-minded people to protest the erosion of our civil liberties, the duplicity of our governments, and the failings in our political institutions - including our (...)
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  10. Annabelle Lever (2013). Privacy: Restrictions and Decisions. In Steven Scalet and Christopher Griffin (ed.), APA Newsletter on Philosophy and Law. 1-6.
    This article forms part of a tribute to Anita L. Allen by the APA newletter on Philosophy and Law. It celebrates Allen's work, but also explains why her conception of privacy is philosophically inadequate. It then uses basic democratic principles and the example of the secret ballot to suggest how we might develop a more philosophically persuasive version of Allen's ideas.
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  11. Annabelle Lever (2013). 'Taxation, Conscientious Objection and Religious Freedom'. Ethical Perspectives 20 (1):144-153.
    This is part of a symposium on conscientious objection and religious freedom inspired by the US Catholic Church's claim that being forced to pay for health insurance that covers abortions (the effect of 'Obamacare')is the equivalent of forcing pacifists to fight. This article takes issue with this claim, and shows that while it would be unjust on democratic principles to force pacifists to fight, given their willingness to serve their country in other ways, there is no democratic objection to forcing (...)
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  12. Annabelle Lever, Vote Obligatoire. Dictionnaire Critique Et Interdisciplinaire de la Participation.
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  13. Annabelle Lever (2012). New Frontiers in the Philosophy of Intellectual Property. Cambridge University Press.
    The new frontiers in the philosophy of intellectual property lie squarely in territories belonging to moral and political philosophy, as well as legal philosophy and philosophy of economics – or so this collection suggests. Those who wish to understand the nature and justification of intellectual property may now find themselves immersed in philosophical debates on the structure and relative merits of consequentialist and deontological moral theories, or disputes about the nature and value of privacy, or the relationship between national and (...)
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  14. Annabelle Lever (2012). Neuroscience V. Privacy? : A Democratic Perspective. In Sarah Richmond, Geraint Rees & Sarah J. L. Edwards (eds.), I Know What You're Thinking: Brain Imaging and Mental Privacy. Oxford University Press. 205.
    Recent developments in neuroscience create new opportunities for understanding the human brain. The power to do good, however, is also the power to harm, so scientific advances inevitably foster as many dystopian fears as utopian hopes. For instance, neuroscience lends itself to the fear that people will be forced to reveal thoughts and feelings which they would not have chosen to reveal, and of which they may be unaware. It also lends itself to the worry that people will be encouraged (...)
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  15. Annabelle Lever (2012). On Privacy. Routledge.
    Privacy is a Janus-faced value. It enables us to shut the world out, but the forms it takes and the extent to which it is protected are fundamentally public matters. Not surprisingly, then, privacy and its protection are the object of some of our most intractable conflicts over the proper role of the state and the rights and duties of individuals. -/- This book explores the Janus-faced features of privacy, and looks at their implications for the control of personal information, (...)
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  16. Annabelle Lever (2012). 'Privacy, Private Property and Collective Property'. The Good Society 21 (1):47-60.
    This article is part of a symposium on property-owning democracy. In A Theory of Justice John Rawls argued that people in a just society would have rights to some forms of personal property, whatever the best way to organise the economy. Without being explicit about it, he also seems to have believed that protection for at least some forms of privacy are included in the Basic Liberties, to which all are entitled. Thus, Rawls assumes that people are entitled to form (...)
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  17. Annabelle Lever (2011). Treating People as Equals: Ethical Objections to Racial Profiling and the Composition of Juries. [REVIEW] Journal of Ethics 15 (1/2):61 - 78.
    This paper shows that the problem of treating people as equals in a world marked by deep-seated and, often, recalcitrant inequalities has implications for the way we approach the provision of security and justice. On the one hand, it means that racial profiling will generally be unjustified even when it might promote collective interests in security, on the other, it means that we should strive to create racially mixed juries, even in cases where defendant and alleged-victim are of the same (...)
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  18. Annabelle Lever (2010). Compulsory Voting: A Critical Perspective. British Journal of Political Science 40:897-915.
    Should voting be compulsory? This question has recently gained the attention of political scientists, politicians and philosophers, many of whom believe that countries, like Britain, which have never had compulsion, ought to adopt it. The arguments are a mixture of principle and political calculation, reflecting the idea that compulsory voting is morally right and that it is will prove beneficial. This article casts a sceptical eye on the claims, by emphasizing how complex political morality and strategy can be. Hence, I (...)
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  19. Annabelle Lever (2010). 'Democracy and Voting: A Response to Lisa Hill'. British Journal of Political Science 40:925-929.
    Lisa Hill’s response to my critique of compulsory voting, like similar responses in print or in discussion, remind me how much a child of the ‘70s I am, and how far my beliefs and intuitions about politics have been shaped by the electoral conflicts, social movements and violence of that period. -/- But my perceptions of politics have also been profoundly shaped by my teachers, and fellow graduate students, at MIT. Theda Skocpol famously urged political scientists to ‘bring the state (...)
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  20. Annabelle Lever (2009). Is Compulsory Voting Justified? Public Reason 1 (1):57-74.
    This paper examines Jeremy Waldron’s ‘core case’ against judicial review. Waldron’s arguments, it shows, exaggerate the importance of voting to our judgements about the legitimacy and democratic credentials of a society and its government. Moreover, Waldron is insufficiently sensitive to the ways that judicial review can provide a legitimate avenue of political activity for those seeking to rectify historic injustice. While judicial review is not necessary for democratic government, the paper concludes that Waldron is wrong to believe that it is (...)
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  21. Annabelle Lever (2009). Is Judicial Review Undemocratic? Perspectives on Politics 7 (4):897-915.
    This paper examines Jeremy Waldron’s ‘core case’ against judicial review. Waldron’s arguments, it shows, exaggerate the importance of voting to our judgements about the legitimacy and democratic credentials of a society and its government. Moreover, Waldron is insufficiently sensitive to the ways that judicial review can provide a legitimate avenue of political activity for those seeking to rectify historic injustice. While judicial review is not necessary for democratic government, the paper concludes that Waldron is wrong to believe that it is (...)
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  22. Annabelle Lever (2009). Racial Profiling and Jury Trials. The Jury Expert 21 (1):20-35.
    How, if at all, should race figure in criminal trials with a jury? How far should attorneys be allowed or encouraged to probe the racial sensitivities of jurors and what does this mean for the appropriate way to present cases which involve racial profiling and, therefore, are likely to pit the words and actions of a white policeman against those of a young black man?
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  23. Annabelle Lever (2008). 'A Liberal Defence of Compulsory Voting': Some Reasons for Scepticism. POLITICS 28 (1):61-64.
    Liberal egalitarians such as Rawls and Dworkin, insist that a just society must try to make sure that socio-economic inequalities do not undercut the value of the vote, and of other political liberties. They insist on this not just for instrumental reasons, but because they assume that democratic forms of political participation can be desirable ends in themselves. However, compulsory voting laws seem to conflict with respect for reasonable differences of belief and value, essential to liberal egalitarians. Nor is it (...)
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  24. Annabelle Lever (2008). Is It Ethical To Patent Human Genes? In Gosseries Axel, Marciano A. & Strowel A. (eds.), Intellectual Property and Theories of Justice. Basingstoke & N.Y.: Palgrave Mcmillan. 246--64.
    This paper examines the claims that moral objections to the patenting of human genes are misplaced and rest on confusions about what a patent is, or what is patented by a human gene patent. It shows that theese objections rest on too simple a conception of property rights, and the connections betwteen familiar moral objections to private property and moral objections to the patenting of human genes. Above all, the paper claims, objections to HGPs often reflect worries about the lack (...)
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  25. Annabelle Lever (2008). Mrs. Aremac and the Camera: A Response to Ryberg. Res Publica 14 (1):35-42.
    In a recent article in Respublica, Jesper Ryberg argues that CCTV can be compared to a little old lady gazing out onto the street below. This article takes issue with the claim that government surveillance can be justified in this manner. Governments have powers and responsibilities that little old ladies lack. Even if CCTV is effective at preventing crime, there may be less intrusive ways of doing so. People have a variety of legitimate interests in privacy, and protection for these (...)
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  26. Annabelle Lever (2007). What's Wrong with Racial Profiling? Another Look at the Problem. Criminal Justice Ethics 26 (1):20-28.
    According to Mathias Risse and Richard Zeckhauser, racial profiling can be justified in a society, such as the contemporary United States, where the legacy of slavery and segregation is found in lesser but, nonetheless, troubling forms of racial inequality. Racial profiling, Risse and Zeckhauser recognize, is often marked by police abuse and the harassment of racial minorities and by the disproportionate use of race in profiling. These, on their view, are unjustified. But, they contend, this does not mean that all (...)
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  27. Annabelle Lever (2007). Democracy and Judicial Review: Are They Really Incompatible? Public Law:280-298.
    This article shows that judicial review has a democratic justification even though judges may be no better at protecting rights than legislatures. That justification is procedural, not consequentialist: reflecting the ability of judicial review to express and protect citizen’s interests in political participation, political equality, political representation and political accountability. The point of judicial review is to symbolize and give expression to the authority of citizens over their governors, not to reflect the wisdom, trustworthiness or competence of judges and legislators. (...)
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  28. Annabelle Lever (2007). Mill and the Secret Ballot: Beyond Coercion and Corruption. Utilitas 19 (3):354-378.
    In Considerations on Representative Government, John Stuart Mill concedes that secrecy in voting is often justified but, nonetheless, maintains that it should be the exception rather than the rule. This paper critically examines Mill’s arguments. It shows that Mill’s idea of voting depends on a sharp public/private distinction which is difficult to square with democratic ideas about the different powers and responsibilities of voters and their representatives, or with legitimate differences of belief and interest amongst voters themselves. Hence, it concludes, (...)
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  29. Mathias Risse, Annabelle Lever & Michael Levin (2007). Exchange: Racial and Ethnic Profiling. Criminal Justice Ethics 26:3-35.
    In this paper I respond to Mathias Risse's objections to my critique of his views on racial profiling in Philosophy and Public Affairs. I draw on the work of Richard Sampson and others on racial disadvantage in the USA to show that racial profiling likely aggravates racial injustices that are already there. However, I maintain, clarify and defend my original claim against Risse that racial profiling itself is likely to cause racial injustice, even if we abstract from unfair background conditions. (...)
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  30. Annabelle Lever (2006). Privacy Rights and Democracy: A Contradiction in Terms? Contemporary Political Theory 5 (2):142.
    This article argues that people have legitimate interests in privacy that deserve legal protection on democratic principles. It describes the right to privacy as a bundle of rights of personal choice, association and expression and shows that, so described, people have legitimate political interests in privacy. These interests reflect the ways that privacy rights can supplement the protection for people’s freedom and equality provided by rights of political choice, association and expression, and can help to make sure that these are, (...)
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  31. Annabelle Lever (2006). Sven Ove Hansson and Elin Palm, Eds., The Ethics of Workplace Privacy Reviewed By. Philosophy in Review 26 (5):348-350.
  32. Annabelle Lever (2005). Beate Rossler, Ed., Privacies: Philosophical Evaluations Reviewed By. Philosophy in Review 25 (1):67-69.
  33. Annabelle Lever (2005). Democracy and the Rule of Law. Contemporary Political Theory 4 (2):204-206.
    This book addresses the question of why governments sometimes follow the law and other times choose to evade the law. The traditional answer of jurists has been that laws have an autonomous causal efficacy: law rules when actions follow anterior norms; the relation between laws and actions is one of obedience, obligation, or compliance. Contrary to this conception, the authors defend a positive interpretation where the rule of law results from the strategic choices of relevant actors. Rule of law is (...)
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  34. Annabelle Lever (2005). Feminism, Democracy and the Right to Privacy. Minerva 2005 (nov).
    This article argues that people have legitimate interests in privacy that deserve legal protection on democratic principles. It describes the right to privacy as a bundle of rights of personal choice, association and expression and shows that, so described, people have legitimate political interests in privacy. These interests reflect the ways that privacy rights can supplement the protection for people’s freedom and equality provided by rights of political choice, association and expression, and can help to make sure that these are, (...)
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  35. Annabelle Lever (2005). States and Citizens: History, Theory, Prospects. Contemporary Political Theory 4 (1):85.
  36. Annabelle Lever (2005). Why Racial Profiling is Hard to Justify: A Response to Risse and Zeckhauser. Philosophy and Public Affairs 33 (1):94–110.
    In their article, “Racial Profiling,” Risse and Zeckhauser offer a qualified defense of racial profiling in a racist society, such as the contemporary United States of America. It is a qualified defense, because they wish to distinguish racial profiling as it is, and as it might be, and to argue that while the former is not justified, the latter might be. Racial profiling as it is, they recognize, is marked by police abuse and the harassment of racial minorities, and by (...)
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  37. Annabelle Lever (2004). Anita L. Allen, Why Privacy Isn't Everything: Feminist Reflections on Personal Accountability Reviewed By. Philosophy in Review 24 (1):1-3.
  38. Annabelle Lever (2004). Claudia Card, Ed., The Cambridge Companion to Simone De Beauvoir Reviewed By. Philosophy in Review 24 (3):172-174.
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  39. Annabelle Lever (2004). Jo Ellen Jacobs, The Voice of Harriet Taylor Mill Reviewed By. Philosophy in Review 24 (2):118-119.
  40. Annabelle Lever (2001). Ethics and the Patenting of Human Genes. Journal of Philosophy, Science and Law 1 (1).
    Human gene patents are patents on human genes that have been removed from human bodies and scientifically isolated and manipulated in a laboratory. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (the USPTO) has issued thousands of patents on such genes, and patents have also been granted by the European Patent Office, (the EPO). Legal and moral justification, however, are not identical, and it is possible for a legal decision to be immoral although consistent with legal precedent and procedure. So, it is (...)
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  41. Annabelle Lever (2001). Must Privacy and Sexual Equality Conflict? A Philosophical Examination of Some Legal Evidence. Social Research 67 (4):1137-1171.
    Are rights to privacy consistent with sexual equality? In a brief, but influential, article Catherine MacKinnon trenchantly laid out feminist criticisms of the right to privacy. In “Privacy v. Equality: Beyond Roe v. Wade” she linked familiar objections to the right to privacy and connected them to the fate of abortion rights in the U.S.A. (MacKinnon, 1983, 93-102). For many feminists, the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade (1973) had suggested that, notwithstanding a dubious past, legal rights to privacy (...)
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  42. Annabelle Lever (2000). The Politics of Paradox: A Response to Wendy Brown. Constellations 7 (2):242-254.
    What role should rights play in feminist politics and the quest for equality? This article examines Wendy Brown's response to that question in her 'suffering rights as paradoxes' and shows that for all its merits, it draws our attention away from the central question of how to describe women's interests, given the many differences amongst women.
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