Hasan Dindjer

Hasan Dindjer Faculty Q&A PhotoPlease tell us a bit about your background.

I grew up in London. At school I was mainly interested in philosophy and politics—so much so that my teachers seemed to find my professed interest in studying law puzzling and possibly delusional. Fortunately, I ended up at New College in Oxford, where, surrounded by wonderful tutors and fellow students, I found that I liked law, and that I didn’t have to entirely abandon my interests in philosophy and politics to study it. With the help of some generous funding, I stayed in Oxford for the BCL, and then spent a year at Harvard doing an LLM (which means I am not quite an Oxford lifer). I came back to Oxford for the DPhil, during which time I was also an Examination Fellow at All Souls—a position I held until moving to my current post at Balliol. I currently live in North Oxford with my partner.

What led you to a career in academia?

There never seemed to come a point when I wanted to stop thinking and writing about law. Legal practice allows this too, of course, but with the downside that there tends to be someone else telling you what to think about, to what end, and usually in very short order. The relative intellectual freedom and intellectual space of academia appeals to me. So does teaching, which in many ways is the most rewarding and consequential part of the job.

What are your research interests and why have you chosen those particular areas?

I have fairly broad interests within both public law and jurisprudence. I’m tempted to say that public law is just the continuation of politics by other means. Of course, that’s not quite right. But my interest in it flows from my interest in politics, in the broadest sense. As for jurisprudence, I find it harder to say. Some normative philosophical questions are ones we can’t avoid asking if we want to know what the law should be. But, as in other parts of philosophy, not all jurisprudential questions have immediate (or even mediate) practical implications, yet seem no less interesting or important for it.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on a manuscript, based on my doctoral work, about the standard of (un)reasonableness in administrative law. The project seeks to integrate doctrinal analysis with wider philosophical concerns about reasons, rationality, and the like. I try to provide an account of what the law is doing and what it ought to be doing in this area.

Separately, I’m writing a paper about why it’s intrinsically valuable, when it is, that public decision-makers give reasons for their decisions to affected parties. Standard ‘dignitarian’ or ‘respect’-based answers to this question seem to me to have significant weaknesses, so I’m trying to develop an alternative.

 What is your favourite thing to do in your spare time?

I cook and eat—neither with great accomplishment but both with more than mere survival as the goal. The balance between production and consumption depends on how much spare time I have. I also take photos. I started out with a DSLR, but I found the thousands of digital files it inevitably led me to produce and then have to sort through more oppressive than fun. I now shoot almost exclusively on film, and do my own developing when I’m feeling particularly adventurous. The glacial pace of the process is relaxing, if nothing else, and there is less choice paralysis to contend with.

What is your favourite place to visit in the world?

I’m not sure I have a single favourite place, but Paris and Istanbul both rank highly on culinary and other metrics. I am also happy more or less anywhere in Italy.

On this page