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Nick Cowen
University of Lincoln
  1. Millian Liberalism and Extreme Pornography.Nick Cowen - 2016 - American Journal of Political Science 60 (2):509-520.
    How sexuality should be regulated in a liberal political community is an important, controversial theoretical and empirical question—as shown by the recent criminalization of possession of some adult pornography in the United Kingdom. Supporters of criminalization argue that Mill, often considered a staunch opponent of censorship, would support prohibition due to his feminist commitments. I argue that this account underestimates the strengths of the Millian account of private conduct and free expression, and the consistency of Millian anticensorship with feminist values. (...)
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  2. The Mirage of Mark-to-Market: Distributive Justice and Alternatives to Capital Taxation.Charles Delmotte & Nick Cowen - 2019 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy:1-24.
    Substantially increased wealth inequality across the developed world has prompted many philosophers, economists and legal theorists to support comprehensive taxes on all forms of wealth. Proposals include levying taxes on the basis of total wealth, or alternatively the change in the value of capital holdings measured from year-to-year. This contrasts with most existing policies that tax capital assets at the point they are transferred from one beneficiary to another through sale or gifts. Are these tax reforms likely to meet their (...)
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  3. Mill’s Radical End of Laissez-Faire: A Review Essay of the Political Economy of Progress: John Stuart Mill and Modern Radicalism. [REVIEW]Nick Cowen - 2018 - The Review of Austrian Economics 31:373–386.
    Can John Stuart Mill’s radicalism achieve liberal egalitarian ends? Joseph Persky’s The Political Economy of Progress is a provocative and compelling discussion of Mill’s economic thought. It is also a defense of radical political economy. Providing valuable historical context, Persky traces Mill’s intellectual journey as an outspoken proponent of laissez-faire to a cautious supporter of co-operative socialism. I propose two problems with Persky’s optimistic take on radical social reform. First, demands for substantive equality have led past radicals to endorse exclusionary (...)
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  4. Randomized Controlled Trials: How Can We Know “What Works”?Nick Cowen, Baljinder Virk, Stella Mascarenhas-Keyes & Nancy Cartwright - 2017 - Critical Review: A Journal of Politics and Society 29 (3):265-292.
    ABSTRACT“Evidence-based” methods, which most prominently include randomized controlled trials, have gained increasing purchase as the “gold standard” for assessing the effect of public policies. But the enthusiasm for evidence-based research overlooks questions about the reliability and applicability of experimental findings to diverse real-world settings. Perhaps surprisingly, a qualitative study of British educators suggests that they are aware of these limitations and therefore take evidence-based findings with a much larger grain of salt than do policy makers. Their experience suggests that the (...)
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  5. Hayek Versus Trump: The Radical Right’s Road to Serfdom.Aris Trantidis & Nick Cowen - 2020 - Polity 52 (2):159-188.
    Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom has been interpreted as a general warning against state intervention in the economy.1 We review this argument in conjunction with Hayek’s later work and discern an institutional thesis about which forms of state intervention and economic institutions could threaten personal and political freedom. Economic institutions pose a threat if they allow for coercive interventions, as described by Hayek in The Constitution of Liberty: by giving someone the power to force others to serve one’s will by (...)
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  6. Introduction: Symposium on Robust Political Economy.Nick Cowen - 2016 - Critical Review: A Journal of Politics and Society 28 (3-4):420-439.
    Mark Pennington’s Robust Political Economy is a systematic exposition of a framework for analyzing institutional performance. The Robust Political Economy framework evaluates institutions according to their ability to solve knowledge and incentive problems. On grounds of robustness, Pennington combines insights from Austrian market-process theory and public-choice theory to defend classical liberalism from several compelling critiques. These include theories of market failure in economics; communitarian, deliberative-democratic, and liberal-egalitarian theories of justice; and concerns with social capital, domestic and international poverty, and ecology.
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  7. William A. Edmundson: John Rawls: Reticent Socialist. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017. Pp. 212.). [REVIEW]Nick Cowen - 2019 - The Review of Politics 81:521-524.
    Edmundson has written an admirably concise yet powerful book. It blends a critical account of Rawls’ work with an original case for democratic socialism hewn from Rawlsian stone. In my opinion, this case has some flaws but it remains a timely contribution to the enduring quest for justice and social stability.
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  8.  2
    The Mirage of Mark-to-Market: Distributive Justice and Alternatives to Capital Taxation.Charles Delmotte & Nick Cowen - 2022 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 25 (2):211-234.
  9.  13
    Street-Level Theories of Change: Adapting the Medical Model of Evidence-Based Practice for Policing.Nick Cowen & Nancy Cartwright - 2019 - In Nigel Fielding, Karen Bullock & Simon Holdaway (eds.), Critical Reflections on Evidence-Based Policing. London: Routledge. pp. 52-71.
    Evidence-based medicine, with its evidence hierarchies and emphasis on RCTs, meta-analyses and systematic reviews, sets the model for evidence-based policy almost everywhere, policing no exception. But how closely should policing follow this model? We argue that RCTs can tell you little about what you need to know for real-world practice: will this policy work where and when you implement it? Defending that it will do so takes good theory. For RCTs to play a role in theory development, they must be (...)
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    Capital, Ideology, and the Liberal Order.Vincent Geloso & Nick Cowen - 2021 - Analyse & Kritik 43 (2):413-435.
    Thomas Piketty’s Capital and Ideology offers a powerful critique of ideological justifications for inequality in capitalist societies. Does this mean we should reject capitalist institutions altogether? This paper defends some aspects of capitalism by explaining the epistemic function of market economies and their ability to harness capital to meet the needs of the relatively disadvantaged. We support this classical liberal position with reference to empirical research on historical trends in inequality that challenges some of Piketty’s interpretations of the data. Then (...)
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  11. Disagreement About Evidence-Based Policy.Nick Cowen & Nancy Cartwright - forthcoming - In Maria Baghramian, J. Adam Carter & Richard Rowland (eds.), Routledge Handbook of The Philosophy of Disagreement. Abingdon, United Kingdom: Routledge.
    Evidence based-policy (EBP) is a popular research paradigm in the applied social sciences and within government agencies. Informally, EBP represents an explicit commitment to applying scientific methods to public affairs, in contrast to ideologically-driven or merely intuitive “common-sense” approaches to public policy. More specifically, the EBP paradigm places great weight on the results of experimental research designs, especially randomised controlled trials (RCTs), and systematic literature reviews that place evidential weight on experimental results. One hope is that such research designs and (...)
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