In Memoriam: Glen Newey

Glen Newey, professor of Political Philosophy at the Institute for Philosophy, passed away on 30 September 2017 as a result of a tragic accident. He was a remarkable personality and a unique scholar, who chaired the section for practical philosophy at Leiden University with great enthousiasm. Colleagues, friends and students will miss Glen badly for his scholarship, his strong sense of commitment, and his unique sense of humour. Glen was a political thinker of international repute, whose untimely death has shocked colleagues around the world.

Glen Newey's scholarly work focused on the promise and limitations of political liberalism. He published two books on toleration as a problematic ideal in modern democracies: Toleration in political conflict (2013) and Virtue, reason and toleration (2008). He edited a widely praised volume on free speech, Freedom of expression: counting the costs (2008). A fierce critic of moralizing, Glen was not interested in telling people what to think, but sought to understand the complex and often tragic choices involved when political ideals like freedom and toleration are confronted with realities of conflict, disagreement, and relations of power.

Glen was interested more generally in the role of rationality and ideals in political life and in political thinking. His book After Politics (2001), which criticized liberal political theory for ignoring the conditions of politics, was at the forefront of a revival of ‘realist’ political philosophy, in the tradition of Machiavelli and Hobbes (on whose Leviathan he published a guidebook). Glen’s work influenced many theorists currently working in this tradition. He was set to develop his ideas further in a dialogue with critics, entitled Rogue Theodicy. The volume is forthcoming, but will now sadly miss his response to his interlocutors.

Glen recently completed a book manuscript on the nature of politics, and was preparing new books on markets and slavery. He contributed widely to public debate, not least on his blog for the London Review of Books.
In addition to his prolific academic activities, Glen was active in a number of social organizations, including Amnesty International and Fondation Shan, a Brussels based foundation offering help to handicapped children.
Our thoughts go out to his family, to whom we wish great strength.

— His colleagues at the Institute for Philosophy

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