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Prof. Kimberley Brownlee - University of Warwick. Coventry, , GB

Prof. Kimberley Brownlee Prof. Kimberley Brownlee

Professor, Philosophy | University of Warwick


The leading philosophical expert on social human rights and loneliness as well as the leading expert on civil disobedience



Prof. Kimberley Brownlee Publication Prof. Kimberley Brownlee Publication




Social Deprivation & Mental Illness (Associate Professor Kimberley Brownlee Q&A) Atoning for the Presumption to Hold Office | Dr Kimberley Brownlee | The Conscience Project Kimberley Brownlee (Warwick) - ‘Punishment and Precious Emotions: A Hope Standard for Punishment’ The human right against social deprivation (presented by Associate Professor Kimberley Brownlee)”


Areas of Expertise (8)

Politics of Sociability

Freedom of Association

Higher Education

Political Philosophy

Moral Philosophy

Legal Philosophy

Social Human rights

Ethics of Sociability

Education (3)

Oxford University: Ph.D., Philosohpy 2006

Cambridge University: M.Phil, Philosophy 2002

McGill University: B.A., Philosophy 2001

Selected Media Appearances (2)

Uncivil Disobedience

Slate  online


Guest voices include Kimberley Brownlee, Chris Delforce, Candice Delmas, Lauren Gazzola, Paula Hough, David Jochinke, Joanne Lee, Brian Leiter, Clare McCausland, Tyler Paytas, Jacy Reese, Jeff Sebo, and Peter Singer....

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Should an Oxford University philosopher be allowed to teach theories that condemn homosexuality?

Quartz  online


Regardless, every academic Quartz spoke with agreed that Finnis should be free to teach. Kimberley Brownlee, legal and moral philosopher at the University of Warwick in the UK, cites 19th century British philosopher John Stuart Mill, who noted that even when the vast majority think a highly unpalatable view is false, it might still be true or even partially true. “If it’s completely false, we still benefit from hearing it because it prods us to remember the arguments for the views we do hold,” says Brownlee.

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Selected Articles (6)

Acting Defensively for the Sake of Our Attacker’ Journal of Moral Philosophy


Despite worries about paternalism, when we are unjustifiably attacked, we are morally warranted, and sometimes required, to act in self-defense for the sake of our attacker to prevent him from committing this morally defiling act. Similarly, when a third party is unjustifiably attacked and we can assist without undue cost, we are morally warranted, and sometimes required, to act in third-party defense for the sake of the attacker as well as the victim, to prevent the attacker from committing this morally defiling act. The case for these claims can be extended to national defense and humanitarian intervention.

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Prescribing social activities to lonely people prompts ethical questions for GPs The Conversation


GPs in England will now be able to prescribe social activities to their patients, such as dance classes, art groups, walking clubs and volunteer work, as part of the government’s ground-breaking new loneliness strategy. This social prescription initiative funded by the NHS, which has been piloted in South Yorkshire and elsewhere and is now used by approximately 25% of GPs, will expand nationwide by 2023. Although there is no fixed model for social prescriptions, GPs will typically refer patients to intermediaries known as “link workers” who will facilitate access to local social activities as well as community-based therapeutic services and practical support.

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The Civil Disobedience of Edward Snowden: Reply to William Scheuerman Philosophy & Social Criticism


This article responds to William Scheuerman’s analysis of Edward Snowden as someone whose acts fit within John Rawls’ account of civil disobedience understood as a public, non-violent, conscientious breach of law performed with overall fidelity to law and a willingness to accept punishment. It rejects the narrow Rawlsian notion in favour of a broader notion of civil disobedience understood as a constrained, conscientious and communicative breach of law that demonstrates opposition to law or policy and a desire for lasting change. The article shows that, according to Rawls’ unduly narrow conception, Edward Snowden is not a civil disobedient. But, according to the more plausible, broader conception, he is. It then identifies some advantages of the broader conception in contemporary analyses of new forms of disobedience, including globalized disobedience and digital disobedience.

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‘A Human Right against Social Deprivation’ The Philosophical Quarterly


Human rights debates neglect social rights. This paper defends one fundamentally important, but largely unacknowledged social human right. The right is both a condition for and a constitutive part of a minimally decent human life. Indeed, protection of this right is necessary to secure many less controversial human rights. The right in question is the human right against social deprivation. In this context, ‘social deprivation’ refers not to poverty, but to genuine, interpersonal, social deprivation as a persisting lack of minimally adequate opportunities for decent human contact and social inclusion. Such deprivation is endured not only in arenas of institutional segregation by prisoners and patients held in long‐term solitary confinement and quarantine, but also by persons who suffer less organised forms of persistent social deprivation. The human right against social deprivation can be fleshed out both as a civil and political right and as a socio‐economic right. The defence for it faces objections familiar to human rights theory such as undue burdensomeness, unclaimability, and infeasibility, as well as some less familiar objections such as illiberality, intolerability, and ideals of the family. All of these objections can be answered.

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Is Edward Snowden a civil disobedient? OUPblog


Since he exposed himself in June 2013 as the source of the NSA leaks to the Guardian and Washington Post, former CIA analyst Edward Snowden has been called many things including a hero, a traitor, a whistleblower, and a civil disobedient. The last of these labels tracks a much-debated philosophical notion and a practice made famous by Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Aung San Suu Kyi, and others. Paradigmatically, civil disobedience is a constrained, conscientious, and communicative breach of law that aims to raise awareness about a cause and bring about lasting changes in law and policy. Not all civil disobedients champion worthy causes. But, their self-restrained willingness to stand up for what they believe despite the personal risk means that their disobedience should be taken seriously and tolerated if possible. Now, is Edward Snowden a civil disobedient? And if he is, how should society and the law treat him?

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Reasons and Ideals Philosophical Studies


This paper contributes to the debate on whether we can have reason to do what we are unable to do. I take as my starting point two papers recently published in Philosophical Studies, by Bart Streumer and Ulrike Heuer, which defend the two dominant opposing positions on this issue.

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