Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow
Ambrose Lee is a political and legal philosopher, currently holding a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship at the Centre for Criminology, to undertake a 3 year research project titled 'Internal Constraints to Coercive Harm Prevention'. This project builds on the AHRC-funded 'Preventive Justice' Project, which Ambrose worked with Professors Andrew Ashworth and Lucia Zedner as a research officer. The aim of the 'Preventive Justice' Project was to develop an account of the principles and values that should guide and limit the state’s use of coercive techniques in the prevention of harms, in particular its criminal law and other similar instruments. Building on this, Ambrose's current project investigates the rationale(s) behind why the state should prevent harms in the first place. Once this is identified, constraints on the state's use of coercive techniques to prevent harms can then be derived, by asking whether those coercive techniques contradict or undermine the rationale(s). The resulting set of constraints to coercive harm prevention would then be internal to the preventive rationale, which have to be accepted on pain of contradicting or undermining it, as opposed to constraints external to the preventive rationale that are more prevalent in contemporary literature.
Before he joined the Law Faculty and the Centre for Criminology, Ambrose was a lecturer in metaethics in the Division of Law and Philosophy at University of Stirling. He obtained his doctorate from the same university in 2011, with a thesis titled 'Duties of Minimal Wellbeing and Their Role in Global Justice'. Ambrose is also currently a Research Associate at Corpus Christi College, Oxford.
Besides political and legal philosophy, Ambrose also has a keen interest in metaethics and moral philosophy. More specifically, he is interested in the following issues: theories of distributive justice (both domestic and global), value incommensurability, the nature of goodness, the nature of respect, justification of legal punishment, the nature of law, criteria for criminalization, the nature of wellbeing, and its relationship with morality.
This paper is about how best to understand the notion of ‘public wrongs’ in the longstanding idea that crimes are public wrongs. By contrasting criminal law with the civil laws of torts and contracts, it argues that ‘public wrongs’ should not be understood merely as wrongs that properly concern the public, but more specifically as those which the state, as the public, ought to punish. It then briefly considers the implications that this has on criminalization.
AYK Lee, 'Co-national and Cosmopolitan Obligations towards Foreigners' (2011) 31 Politics 159 [...]
This article specifically argues against those who think that, by appealing to Thomas Hurka's argument for co-national obligations in his ‘The Justification of National Partiality’, these co-national obligations take priority over certain cosmopolitan obligations towards foreigners, when the shared history of the co-nationals is (a) a history of shared suffering, (b) a shared history of mutual benefit or (c) a shared history of jointly benefiting others. I shall argue that if this is the case, then Hurka's account surprisingly gives us a reason to fulfil our cosmopolitan obligations towards foreigners first before fulfilling our special obligations towards co-nationals.
Research: Primarily political philosophy (especially theories of distributive justice) and philosophy of law; secondarily metaethics and moral philosophy.