Thomas Halper

Position: Professor
Campus Affiliation: Baruch College
Degrees/Diplomas: Ph.D. Vanderbilt University
Research Interests: American politics, constitutional law
Prof. Halper has taught at Tulane University and Coe College and is currently professor of political science at Baruch College. He has written four books: Positive Rights in a Republic of Talk (Springer, 2003), The Misfortunes of Others (Cambridge University Press, 1989), Power, Politics, and American Democracy (Scott, Foresman, 1980), and Foreign Policy Crises (Merrill, 1971).
He has also written over forty articles and book chapters, including “Graham Greene and Bridges across Borders,” Graham Greene Studies (2021); Justice Holmes and the Question of Race, British Journal of American Legal Studies (2021); “Trainspotters and Bullet Boys,” Culture and Society (2014); “Accommodating Death,” in Philosophy of Medicine (2000); “Privacy and Autonomy,” Journal of Medicine and Philosophy (1996); “Life and Death in a Welfare State,” Milbank Quarterly (1985); “On Death, Dying and Terminality,” Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law (1979); “The New ‘Deserving Poor’ and the Old,” Polity (1973); “Logic in Judicial Reasoning,” Indiana Law Journal (1968).


halper positive rightsThomas Halper, Positive Rights in a Republic of Talk: A Survey and a Critique(London: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2003).

Positive Rights in a Republic of Talk will appeal to philosophers and social scientists interested in issues of rights and social justice, and to graduate students and journalists seeking a critical survey of the field. Innumerable recent books have addressed the issues of rights and social justice, but none combines the comprehensiveness, disinterestedness, and brevity found in this work. Positive Rights in a Republic of Talk is unique in its critical, let-the-chips-fall-where-they-may approach; is untainted with special pleading for specific philosophical schools or social policies; is distinctive in its range, examining the views of classical as well as contemporary thinkers and trendy as well as more established approaches; is relentless in its confrontation of the abstract with the concrete; discusses positive rights in such contexts as health care, education, foreign aid, homelessness, welfare, and disaster relief policies; is distinctive in its prose, which is vivid, engaging, clear, occasionally funny, and never pompous or engorged with jargon; can be read and enjoyed by serious non-specialists as well as specialists.

halper misfortunesThomas Halper, The Misfortunes of Others: End-Stage Renal Disease in the United Kingdom (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1989).

In this important new study, Thomas Halper examines the policies and practices of the British National Health Service in treating kidney disease. Technological advances since the 1960s mean that end-stage renal disease, an otherwise fatal condition, can usually be treated successfully.  In Britain, however, the availability of resources necessary for treatment is still limited and many people must go untreated.  Professor Halper discusses a number of issues, both ethical and political, that arise from having to choose who does and does not get treated.  These issues include: the right to health care; the interaction between political demands, government agencies, and public policy; the promise of technology in a society where resources are scarce; and duties owed the individual by the community (and vice versa).

The book draws on numerous personal accounts, often moving or unintentionally revealing, and prove interesting to professionals and students with an interest in philosophy (especially medical ethics), health care, public health care, public health, public policy, and British politics.

halper power politics demThomas Halper, Power, Politics, and American Democracy (Scott Foresman, 1980).




halper foreign poilicy crisesThomas Halper, Foreign Policy Crises: Appearance and Reality in Decision Making (Columbus, Ohio: Charles E. Merrill Publishing Co., 1971).

“This book stresses the importance of appearances in three areas of Presidential decision-making in foreign policy crises. First, Halper suggests that Presidents define crises in terms of challenges to personal and national appearances rather than in terms of threats to substantive national goals. Second, he argues that Presidents often accept appearances rather than realities in their efforts to deal with foreign policy crises. Third, Halper claims that Presidents are willing to mislead the public by creating appearances. Evidence on these three themes is gleaned from five crises during the kennedy-Johnson yearsL The Bay of Pigs, The Dominican Republic, The Gulf of Tonkin, The Tet Offensive, and The Cuban Missile Crisis”
—William O. Chittick, “Review: Foreign Policy Crises: Appearance and Reality in Decision Making” in The Journal of Politics 34, no. 4 (November 1972).

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