Dr Michael Neu researches and lectures in political and moral philosophy, with special interests in the politics and ethics of violence.
He has published on contemporary just war theory and the tragedy of justified wars. His teaching is within the humanities across philosophy, politics and ethics.
Michael completed his PhD on The Dilemma of Justified War at Sheffield University (2010), and was subsequently awarded the Political Studies Association (PSA) Sir Ernest Barker Prize for the best dissertation in Political Theory. He is interested in political and moral philosophy, specifically moral questions pertaining to justice, equality and violence.
Michael has been teaching at Brighton since 2012, particularly on the Philosophy, Politics, and Ethics BA. He is also a member of CAPPE and the Understanding Conflict Cluster, as well as co-organiser, with the Humanities undergraduate students, of the annual Philosophy and Humanities Society seminar series (PhilSoc).
Michael is committed to interdisciplinary and collaborative work. He is currently working towards completing two monographs: one, with Robin Dunford, on Just War and the Responsibility to Protect: A Critique (Zed Books, 2018); another, single-authored, on Just Liberal Violence: Sweatshops, Torture, War (Rowman and Littlefield International, Oct, 2017). He also researches on the question of intellectual complicity in violence, including structural violence, and has recently co-edited and co-authored a volume on Exploring Complicity: Concept, Cases and Critique (with Robin Dunford and Afxentis Afxentiou, Rowman and Littlefield International, Dec 2016). With Bob Brecher and Robin Dunford, he is co-editor of a new book series, Off the Fence (with Rowman and Littlefield International). He was also, with Andy Knott, the Convener of the 2016 Political Studies Association "Politics and the Good Life" Conference held at Brighton.
In the more distant future, Michael aims to move away from writing about violence and complicity, towards more positive aspects of the human condition: friendship, humour, and, indeed, the good life; essentially the question of how we can begin to discover, and perhaps sustain, a way of living together that is not as dramatically violent, unequal and unjust as the present condition.
Teaching is one of the most difficult, wonderful and rewarding activities in the world. A good teacher doesn’t look at students as passive recipients of knowledge, but as active collaborators on a common journey that is about learning together. My most important challenge is not to impart knowledge, but to inspire students to think for themselves. I always find I can do this best by taking students seriously – not only as seekers of knowledge, but as persons in the world. Good teaching, then, is about attending closely to the individual as much as about creating a joyful atmosphere where everyone can thrive. I am very grateful to our students for being the sorts of people they are: inquisitive, critical, creative. And I let them know that.
Afxentiou, Afxentis, Dunford, Robin and Neu, Michael (2017) Exploring Complicity: Concept, Cases and Critique [Edited Collections]
Afxentiou, Afxentis, Dunford, Robin and Neu, Michael (2016) Introducing Complicity In: Neu, Michael, Dunford, Robin and Afxentiou, Afxentis, eds. Exploring Complicity: Concept, Cases and Critique. Rowman and Littlefield, London, pp. 1-15. ISBN 9781786600622
Brecher, Bob and Neu, Michael (2016) Intellectual Complicity in Torture In: Neu, Michael, Dunford, Robin and Afxentiou, Afxentis, eds. Exploring Complicity: Concept, Cases and Critique. Rowman and Littlefield, London, pp. 143-160. ISBN 9781786600622
Neu, Michael (2014) The supreme emergency of war: a critique of Walzer Journal Of International Political Theory, 10 (1). pp. 3-19. ISSN 1755-0882
Neu, Michael (2013) The tragedy of justified war International Relations, 27 (4). pp. 461-480. ISSN 0047-1178
Neu, Michael (2012) Why McMahan's just wars are only justified and why that matters Ethical Perspectives, 19 (2). pp. 235-255. ISSN 1370-0049
Neu, Michael (2012) The fragility of justified warfare: a comment on Steinhoff Theoretical & Applied Ethics, 1 (4). pp. 45-53. ISSN 2156-7174
Neu, Michael (2011) Why there is no such thing as just war pacifism and why just war theorists and pacifists can talk nonetheless Social Theory and Practice, 37 (3). pp. 413-433. ISSN 0037-802X
‘The Supreme Emergency of War’, The Journal of International Political Theory, Vol. 10, No. 1 (2014). Print ISSN1755-0882.
Studentship from Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes (German National Acadamic Foundation), 2000-06, including Hölderlin-scholarship for one-year studies at the University of British Columbia (2002-2003)
Research Studentship from Sheffield University for PhD studies (2006-2009), including participation in Excellence Exchange Programme during a research term at Waterloo (Canada)
Bethan Reeves Memorial Prize for best record of academic attainment (Sheffield, M.A., 2004/05).
Andrew Gamble Prize for an Outstanding Thesis (Sheffield, 2010)
Political Studies Association Sir Ernest Barker Prize for best dissertation in Political Theory (UK, 2010)