Rupert Read

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Rupert Read
Norwich City Councillor for Wensum Ward
In office
10 June 2004 – 5 May 2011
Preceded by (new seat)
Succeeded by Lucy Galvin
Personal details
Born 1966
Political party Green Party of England and Wales
Alma mater Balliol College, Oxford
Religion Quaker[1]

Rupert Read (born 1966) is an academic and a Green Party politician in England. He is Chair of the Green House thinktank, East of England Green Party Co-ordinator and a Reader in Philosophy at the University of East Anglia.[2]

Read comments regularly through the Eastern Daily Press 'One World Column'.[3] In his regular appearances in the local and national press, he speaks on sustainable transport, green economics and social justice.

Academic career[edit]

Rupert Read
Era Contemporary philosophy
Region Western Philosophy
School Analytic philosophy
Main interests
Philosophy of literature, Philosophy and film, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophy of science

Read studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) at Balliol College, Oxford,[2] before undertaking postgraduate studies in the United States at Princeton University and Rutgers University (where he gained his doctorate). Influenced by Ludwig Wittgenstein’s philosophy, his PhD involved “a Wittgensteinian exploration of the relationship between Kripke’s ‘quus’ problem and Nelson Goodman’s ‘grue’ problem.”[2]

He is Reader in Philosophy at the University of East Anglia, specialising in philosophy of language, philosophy of science, and environmental philosophy, previously having taught at Manchester.[2] He has contributed to many books, including, in 2002, Kuhn: Philosopher of Scientific Revolution, on the work of Thomas Kuhn, and, in 2005, Film As Philosophy: Essays in Cinema After Wittgenstein And Cavell. His book Philosophy for Life: Applying Philosophy in Politics and Culture, was released in July 2007.[4]

Political career[edit]

Caroline Lucas giving a keynote speech, with Rupert Read looking on, at the autumn conference of the Green Party of England and Wales, Hove, 2006

One of 13 Green Party councillors in Norwich, Rupert Read was first elected in 2004 to represent Wensum ward and re-elected in 2007 with 49% of the vote. Read sits on the Joint Highways Committee of the city and county councils, and is spokesperson on Transport for the Green Party city councillors. He is also the Green Party's representative on Norwich Peace Council and has been an active opponent of the British Government's foreign policy.

Having held a number of officer posts for the Eastern Region Green Party, at the beginning of 2007 Rupert Read was selected as Eastern Region Green Party’s lead candidate for the European Parliament elections in 2009 and again in 2014.[5] The East of England is one the Green Party’s stronger regions in terms of support, and under the proportional representation system on which the European Elections operate, the Party was optimistic that he would represent them in the European Parliament. However, he was beaten to the last of the seven seats in the constituency by the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) in 2009, and similarly in 2014. He stood in the Norwich North by-election, 2009, as the Green Party candidate, and came fifth with 9.7% of the vote.

Rupert Read is standing as MP candidate for Cambridge in the 2015 general election.[6]

Transphobia controversy[edit]

In January 2015, Read apologised for tweets in which he questioned the validity of trans people's gender, describing trans women as "a sort of 'opt-in' version of what it is to be a woman".[7] His comments were condemned by the Green LGBTIQ group,[8] and Sarah Brown, former Cambridge councillor and trans activist, slammed him for "endorsing a fringe form of feminism that portrays transgender women as dangerous sex pests and predators".[9][10]

In his apology, Read claimed that "most of the offence caused by my tweets is a result of misunderstandings generated by the fragmented and angry nature of so much debate on Twitter" and reiterated that "it is up to women, not anyone else – and certainly not me – to decide who gets let into women-only spaces, such as women's toilets".[11]

Selected bibliography[edit]

  • (co-authored with James L. Guetti, 1999) Meaningful Consequences, The Philosophical Forum, Volume XXX, Issue 4, December 1999, Pages 289-315.
  • (edited with Alice Crary, 2000) The New Wittgenstein, London: Routledge
  • (co-authored with Wes Sharrock, 2002) Kuhn: Philosopher of Scientific Revolution, Oxford: Polity
  • (co-edited with Jerry Goodenough, 2005) Film As Philosophy: Essays in Cinema After Wittgenstein and Cavell
  • (2007) Philosophy for Life: Applying Philosophy in Politics and Culture


External links[edit]