How to Help Me Write a Book
(updated January 21, 2010)

I am currently working on a book (tentatively entitled Ethics in Black and White) about five issues in applied ethics that involve race: slave reparations, affirmative action, hate speech restrictions, hate crime laws, and racial profiling.  The book attempts to develop a defense of slave reparations, a position on affirmative action that manages to navigate a middle way between its supporters and its opponents, opposition to hate speech restrictions but support for hate crime laws, and a limited but nonetheless substantive defense of the permissibility of racial profiling under certain sorts of conditions.  Taken individually, some of these positions may at first seem somewhat immoderate.  And taken as a whole, the positions in combination may well initially seem inconsistent.  But I try to establish that these positions do, indeed, offer a way to develop a coherent and reasonable response to these various issues by trying to argue from premises that most people, on both sides of these various debates, already accept.  The book has now been accepted for publication by Cambridge University Press.  This means that  it will be aimed at least in good part at a relatively academic audience, including undergraduates.  But I have also tried to write the book in a somewhat less academic tone than I have adopted in my previous work, and so I'm hoping that the book will also be accessible to, and of interest to, a relatively broad audience of non-academics. The final draft is not due to Cambridge until April 2011, but I'm planning to finish final revisions by the end of December 2010.  With these goals in mind, here's what you can do to help me write this book if you have the time and the interest between now and the end of this year.

1. Click here to go to a directory of the latest versions of the chapters that are currently available online, along with the table of contents and bibliography. 
2. Read as much of the manuscript or as little as you like.  After the introductory chapter, there are two chapters on each of the five subjects, and each pair of chapters is essentially self-contained, so the treatment of the five issues can be read in any order (though I refer to reparations at a few points in the first of the two chapters on affirmative action, and to hate speech at a few points in the first of the two chapters on hate crime).  Feel free to jump in with whatever issue interests you the most (the chapter titles will make clear which chapters are about which topics or you can look at the table of contents in the "contents" document). 
3. As you are reading the manuscript, keep in mind the following sorts of issues that I am particularly eager to get feedback about:
          - quality of argumentation: how rigorous and convincing are the arguments I develop and the objections I raise against other arguments?
          - accuracy: do I do a fair job of representing the various positions and writings I refer to?
          - readability: I'm particularly concerned to make this readable for non-philosophers and general readers.  Any comments about style, pacing, word choice, etc. would be greatly appreciated.
          - further reading: before I started working on this book, I knew virtually nothing about the relevant literature (a limitation that didn't stop me from writing my last two books!).  I have a list of
                                       books and articles on these issues that I still haven't read, but any suggestions for more to add to the list would be great.
          - titles: I'm not really crazy about the title and am open to other ideas.  I'd also be happy to get suggestions for improving some of the chapter and section titles.
4. when you're finished, send me your comments at David.Boonin@Colorado.Edu and let me know how you came across my manuscript.   I'm hoping to finish the final draft by the end of December 2010,  so any comments that reach me before that would be great.
5. send a message with a link to this page to anyone you know -- philosophers and non-philosophers alike -- who might also be interested in providing me with critical feedback.

Thank you very much for your interest in helping me with my project, and please let me know if you have any questions,

    - David Boonin
      January 21, 2010