|Associate Professor in Political Theory in the School of Government and International Affairs||SE101, Southend House||+44 (0) 191 33 47182|
|Centre Director in the Centre for the History of Political Thought|
Maria Dimova-Cookson completed her DPhil in Politics on the political philosophy of the British idealists at the University of York. She has previously studied philosophy as an undergraduate at Sofia University and MA in political philosophy at the University of York. Her academic appointments have been at UCL, as a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow and University of Sheffield as a lecturer in political theory. Since 2005 she has worked at SGIA, Durham University.
Dr Dimova-Cookson’s research focuses on moral and political issues in the history of and contemporary political thought including the dual nature of liberty, justifications of human rights, moral development, value pluralism, ethical particularism versus ethical universalism, and multiculturalism. Her latest monograph Rethinking Positive and Negative Liberty argues that the distinction between positive and negative freedom remains highly pertinent today, despite having fallen out of fashion in the late twentieth century. It proposes a new reading of this distinction for the twenty-first century, building on the work of Constant, Green and Berlin who led the historical development of these ideas. Four book reviews have been published:
by Gary Browning in Utilitas
by Andrew Vincent in Global Intellectual History:
by George Crowder in European Legacy:
by Ruzha Smilova in Political Studies Review:
Her latest research project focused on the ideals of meritocracy and pluralism as two of the dominant strains of political thought in liberal democracies. In his latest book Michal Sandel speaks about ‘the tyranny of merit’ and reveals the problematic moral underpinnings of meritocracy. He argues it is a key factor behind the failure of liberal regimes to counter the rise of populism. If meritocracy is reviewed through the lens of autonomy, however, we can elicit the more specific ways in which it contributes to liberty and see in what form it could be protected and utilised. Autonomy and, in a similar fashion, merit, vary in nature depending on whether they are based on a concept of negative or positive freedom. The loss of common good lamented by Sandel, can be addressed through a more productive assessment of the relation between merit and common good. Value pluralism also has to be reconsidered in order to rehabilitate the role of final ends and ‘the truth’ in the context of politics as well as personal life. While pluralism has served the goal of protecting diversity and fostering toleration, it has undermined the capacity of liberalism to combat proactively injustices by engaging directly with ideological debates. While parity and incommensurability of values have to be registered and protected, this should only be seen as a temporary measure. The ambiguity between pluralism as tragic conflict of values and pluralism as value diversity needs to be resolved in order to engage in productive debates about values.
- •The concept of liberty; the positive/negative freedom distinction; contemporary theories of liberty
- •The political philosophy of the British idealists and British political thought in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century
- •The political philosophy of Benjamin Constant and Isaiah Berlin
- •Human rights, multiculturalism and global justice
- •Moral issues in contemporary political theory; moral development; value pluralism; ethical particularism versus ethical universalism; ethics of giving
- Durham Human Rights Centre (Law School)
- Political Theory
- Dimova-Cookson, Maria (2020). Rethinking Positive and Negative Liberty. Routledge.
- Dimova-Cookson, Maria (2001). T.H.Green's Moral and Political Philosophy: A Phenomenological Perspective. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Chapter in book
- Dimova-Cookson, Maria (2021). ‘Moral and Personal Positive Freedom’. In Positive Freedom: Past, Present and Future. Christman, John Cambridge University Press. 45-64.
- Dimova-Cookson, Maria (2014). “Welfarist and Moral Justifications of the Strong State: Reconciling Hobhouse’s and Bosanquet’s Perspectives on the Role of the State”. In The Victorian Legacy in Political Thought. Marshall, Catherine & Guy, Stéphane Oxford: Peter Lang. 145-166.
- Dimova-Cookson, Maria (2014). “Do We Owe More to Fellow Nationals? The Particular and Universal Ethics in Bosanquet’s General Will and Miller’s Public Culture”. In Ethical Citizenship. British Idealism and the Politics of Recognition. Brooks, Thom Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 200-223.
- Dimova-Cookson, Maria (2013). “T.H. Green”. In Wiley-Blackwell's International Encyclopaedia of Ethics. LaFollette, Hugh Wiley-Blackwell. 2238-2243.
- Dimova-Cookson, Maria (2013). 'Defending Isaiah Berlin's Distinctions between Positive and Negative Freedoms'. In Isaiah Berlin and the Politics of Freedom: Berlin's 'Two Concepts of Liberty' 50 years Later. Baum, Bruce David & Nichols, Robert New York: Routledge. 73-86.
- Dimova-Cookson, Maria (2012). “Late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century British thought”. In The Routledge Companion to Social and Political Philosophy. Gaus, Gerald & D’Agostino, Fred London: Routledge. 146-157.
- Dimova-Cookson, Maria (2012). 'Subaltern Studies, Post-colonial Marxism and ‘Finding Your Place to Begin from’ An Interview with Dipesh Chakrabarty'. In Dialogues with Contemporary Political Theorists. Browning, Gary, Prokhovnik, Raia & Dimova-Cookson, Maria Palgrave Macmillan. 58-73.
- Browning, Gary, Prokhovnik, Raia & Dimova-Cookson, Maria (2012). Introduction - Dialogues with Contemporary Political Theorists: Then and Now. In Dialogues with Contemporary Political Theorists. Browning, Gary, Prokhovnik, Raia & Dimova-Cookson, Maria Palgrave Macmillan. 1-23.
- Dimova-Cookson, Maria (2012). Republicanism, Philosophy of Freedom and the History of Ideas: An Interview with Philip Pettit. In Dialogues with Contemporary Political Theorists. Browning, Gary, Prokhovnik, Raya & Dimova-Cookson, Maria Palgrave. 155-169.
- Dimova-Cookson, Maria (2009). "Introduction". In Multiculturalism and Moral Conflict. Dimova-Cookson, Maria & Stirk, P.M.R. Routledge. 1-16.
- Dimova-Cookson, Maria (2007). A new scheme of positive and negative freedom: re-constructing T. H. Green on freedom. In T.H. Green. Morrow, John Aldershot: Ashgate. 149-173.
- Dimova-Cookson, Maria (2006). 'Resolving Moral Conflicts:British Idealist and Contemporary Liberal Approaches to Value Pluralism and Moral Conduct'. In T.H.Green: Ethics, Metaphysics and Political Philosophy. Dimova-Cookson, Maria & Mander, William J. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 292-315.
- Gary Browning, Raia Prokhovnik & Maria Dimova-Cookson (2012). Dialogues with Contemporary Political Theorists. International Political Theory. Palgrave.
- Dimova-Cookson, Maria & Stirk, P.M.R. (2009). Multiculturalism and Moral Conflict. Routledge Innovations in Political Theory. London: Routledge: Routledge.
- Dimova-Cookson, Maria & Mander, William (2006). T.H. Green: Ethics, Metaphysics and Political Philosophy. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
- Dimova-Cookson, Maria (2022). The Two Modern Liberties of Constant and Berlin. History of European Ideas 48(3): 229-245.
- Dimova-Cookson, Maria (2019). Where does real freedom begin? T.H.Green, P.P.Nicholson and the necessary but elusive binaries of freedom. Collingwood and British Idealism Studies 25(1): 129-159.
- Dimova-Cookson, Maria (2013). Can social justice, economic redistribution and voluntariness fit into a single concept of liberty? Pettit versus Hobhouse. International Journal of Social Economics 40(12): 1108-1122.
- Dimova-Cookson, Maria (2012). 'Liberty as Welfare: the basecamp counterpart of positive freedom'. Collingwood and British Idealism Studies 18(2): 133-165.
- Dimova-Cookson, Maria (2011). Justice as a secondary moral ideal: the British idealists and the personal ethics perspective in understanding social justice. European Journal of Political Theory 10(1): 46-70.
- Dimova-Cookson, Maria. (2010). “Republicanism, philosophy of freedom and the history of ideas: An interview with Philip Pettit”. Contemporary Political Theory 9(4): 477-489.
- Dimova-Cookson, Maria (2007). On the link between the desire to be good and the nature of the good – a rejoinder to John Offer’s reply. British Journal of Politics and International Relations 9(3): 533-534.
- Dimova-Cookson, Maria (2005). 'Internalism and Externalism in Ethics Applied to the Liberal-Communitarian Debate'. British Journal of Politics and International Relations 7(1): 18-28.
- Dimova-Cookson, Maria (2004). 'Conceptual Clarity, Freedom and Normative Ideas: Reply to Blau'. Political Theory 32(4): 554-562.
- Dimova-Cookson, Maria (2003). 'Bentham, Mill and Green on the Nature of the Good'. Journal of Bentham Studies 6.
- Dimova-Cookson, Maria (2003). A New Scheme of Positive and Negative Freedom: Re-constructing T.H. Green on Freedom. Political Theory 31(4): 508-32.