John Gardner at Home

Memories from Matthew Kramer

Greetings, John.

I've been hugely jolted to learn that your cancer has returned. I remember writing to you approximately six weeks ago with cheerful optimism, at a time when the prognosis appeared to be highly favorable. I'm dismayed that the situation has changed so markedly since then.

Though I've engaged with many aspects of your writings over the past quarter of a century, my favorite recollection of you pertains to an organizational matter. I recall a chilly morning in November 2007 when you and Les and Claire Grant and I laid the groundwork for the UK ALPP Conference. With a large subvention from some organization, and with the aid of a few graduate students, you hosted the first edition of the UK ALPP Conference at University College in September 2008 (a time when the international economic order was tottering). I remember that the presenters were Alon Harel and John Tasioulas and Cristina Redondo and Jeremy Waldron and Kim Brownlee. You yourself were a presenter at Leicester in 2011, and you've attended a majority of the editions of the UK ALPP Conference since its inception -- which is especially impressive, given that you were simultaneously saving the American version of the conference (the ALPC) from disintegrating. Indeed, you've twice hosted the American version in Oxford, in 2003 and 2014.

You and Les have successfully steered Oxford from the generation of Dworkin and Raz and Finnis to our own generation. People such as Timothy Endicott and Nicos Stavropoulos and Julie Dickson are all estimable, but you and Les are the two who have made the difference (for our generation) between Oxford as a highly creditable center for legal philosophy and Oxford as the world's leading center for legal philosophy. Someone who has made such a difference can look back with pride upon a life well lived.

I'm currently writing a book on freedom of expression. It will be published in late 2020 or the first half of 2021. I hope that you will agree to my dedicating the book to you. You have always been robustly supportive of the principle of freedom of expression, and the dedication of the book to you would therefore be singularly appropriate.

With warm good wishes,