Democratic faith

Dewey’s concept of democratic faith looks like an oxymoron. It is not that one cannot believe in democracy—of course one can—but to say that democracy can be an object of belief, something one believes in, and, in a way, idolizes, seems to go against the very idea of democracy. A truly democratic mindset seems to […]

Archaeology and memory

Archaeology of memory clearly makes sense – as does historical archaeology. There are events hidden or repressed, traumatic or simply disconcerting that cannot be allowed to reach the surface except very briefly. Think of the Danish King, visiting his Icelandic subjects as King of Iceland. He brings presents – a photographed edition of one of […]


One problem with referenda is the forced choice: In a referendum I am given options that may not reflect the relevant choice. In the first Icesave referendum this was clearly the case: Parliament allows the government to sign an agreement given that a certain debt to the British and the Dutch is to be paid. […]

Lives of Constitutions

Tom Ginsburg, a legal scholar from Chicago, specializing in constitutions was in Iceland last week to talk about the draft constitution, which, unfortunately, seems on the verge of being put aside by the parliament. Currently the draft is being discussed as a constitutional bill, but due to the sustained attacks on it by legal scholars […]

Political Philosophy, haust 2012

Contemporary political debates are to a large extent influenced by John Rawls’s Theory of Justice (1971). Rawls’s work served to renew Western Liberalism where an account of Justice grounded in an imaginary social contract plays the main role in the description of the good society. In this course a number of themes central to, and […]

Toleration and Cultural Difference, sumar 2009

The principle of Toleration occupies a prominent place in modern liberal theory. Value pluralism, which is part and parcel of liberalism, would be unthinkable without a robust notion of toleration which not only prevents government from entering the realm of personal values, but which also characterizes it as an important liberal value itself. This liberal […]

Defiance: A Comment on the Logic of Protest

Birt í Trames, A Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences, 11. árg. (4) 2007 Abstract. Activism and protest occupy an uncertain space within democratic politics. While the right to voice a dissenting opinion is unquestioned in liberal theory, protesters often demand more than the right to express their opinions. Protest groups employ direct and […]

Business Ethics, vor 2006

This course covers basic concepts of ethics and a discussion of some central issues of ethics in business. Special attention will be given to issues about rights and duties in the workplace, whistle-blowing, discrimination and social responsibilities. Aims and objectives: Familiarize students with ethical concepts and theories. Train students in using ethical concepts to deal […]

The Challenge of Philosophy: The Philosophy of Richard Rorty, haust 2003

We will read a portion of Rorty’s work each week in the context of the six themes listed below. In each case we try to get a grasp on what Rorty is trying to say as well as possible interpretations of what he actually is saying. Then we will consider and evaluate his arguments both […]

Business Ethics, vor 2003

The course is designed for students in business and law with no prior training in ethics or moral philosophy. In this course students will get acquainted with some ethical issues frequently dealt with in business. The main focus will be on workplace issues, such as duty, rights, loyalty, discrimination and whistle-blowing. We will also to […]