Other terms are sometimes substituted for ‘discrimination’ as if they were synonymous or at least close. So discrimination on grounds of race is sometimes causally called ‘racial bias’ or ‘racial prejudice’. Discriminators are also sometimes casually called ‘racists’, ‘sexists’, ‘homophobes’, ‘transphobes’, etc. Finally, rules against discrimination are sometimes (even officially) rebranded as ‘equality’ rules. In this talk, I will problematize all of these ways of talking about discrimination and its regulation. None does justice to the idea. All have distracting and extraneous implications. We should stick to calling discrimination ‘discrimination’, and keep all of these other words to refer to the other things, only contingently connected with discrimination, to which in fact they refer.


John Gardner FBA is a Senior Research Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford, with the title of Professor of Law and Philosophy in the University of Oxford. From 2000 to 2016 he held Oxford's Chair of Jurisprudence. Before that he was Reader in Legal Philosophy at King's College London (1996-2000), Fellow and Tutor in Law at Brasenose College, Oxford (1991-6) and Examination ('Prize') Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford (1986-91). He has also held visiting positions at Columbia University, Yale University, the University of Texas at Austin, Princeton University, the Australian National University, the University of Auckland, and most recently Cornell University. He serves on the editorial boards of numerous journals including the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, Ethics, Law and Philosophy, and The Journal of Moral Philosophy. Called to the Bar in 1988, he has been a Bencher of the Inner Temple since 2002 (although he does not practice). He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2013.

John’s major interests are the philosophy of law (including the philosophy of private law, the criminal law and public law) as well as nearby areas of moral and political philosophy and the philosophy of action.  

A full biography can be found here: https://www.law.ox.ac.uk/people/john-gardner

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