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Naked Rambler Organisation

Here’s a suggestion: Stop reading and start taking off your clothes. If you were about to read this in the bath this would, of course, present no problem, but if you happen to be standing in a bookshop, or reading this as you wait for a bus or a train, your life is about to change.”

So begins the first paragraph of “A Brief History of Nakedness” in the Introduction “Bharat’s Mirror” by Philip Carr-Gomm. Listen to Philip Carr-Gomm talk about nudity, nakedness and the book here.

In “The Sanctity of Life and the Criminal Law: The Legacy of Glanville Williams” edited by Dennis J. Baker and Jeremy Horde in Chapter 7 page 161 we are introduced to the strange dilemma of the Naked Rambler Stephen Gough:

Consider the sad case of Stephen Gough who lived out his naturist principles by walking naked from Land’s End to John O' Groats… Now he is well aware that his conduct, in walking naked through the land, is likely to cause annoyance, if not fear and alarm, to those who see him, but how does that prospect figure (if at all) in the practical reasoning that informs his conduct? He could, first, see it as a reason, the main reason, in favour of acting as he does: he walks naked in public, and appears naked in court because this will offend or annoy people; and he does this not merely for the sake of offending people but in order to provoke public debate about naturism. Second, he could see it as a reason against acting as he does, but one that is far outweighed by the stronger reasons of his principle for acting thus: he goes naked for the sake of his naturist principles, despite the (as he sees it) regrettable fact that this will offend and annoy others. Third, he could see it as practically irrelevant to his actions - neither a reason for, nor a reason against acting as he does: if others are annoyed or offended, that is their problem, reflecting their blinkered moral attitudes, rather than his problem; their unreasonable reactions, predictable though they are, give him no good reason to alter his conduct. He could similarly see the fact that, if he continues with this course of conduct, he will yet again be arrested and imprisoned as a reason for acting as he does, as a reason (albeit insufficient) against it, or as irrelevant.

We, as morally interested observers, might accept or reject his conception of the (ir)relevance of the prospect that his conduct will offend or annoy others; we might think that he is right, or that he is wrong about the normative reasons that bear on his actions.”

Questions arise……..

What implications (if any) should the differences between these structures of practical reasoning have for the criminal law and how do (or how should) our ascriptions of intention map onto these structures? There’s only one way to find out. Talk to Steve!

Do you have a burning question you’d like an answer for? You can now write to Stephen Gough in Winchester Prison and ask him for yourself. (NB: Stephen Gough was released on 15th January 2016)

Via emailaprisoner, we’ll pass on all your questions to him. Just email talktosteve@nakedrambler.org and we will do the rest. Stephen is usually quite good at replying to all the prison letters that he receives and your details can be kept quite confidential if you’d prefer. Stephen’s prison letters, when published and taken out of context, as page two opposite shows, can sometimes cause quite a stir in the national press as these newspaper articles below proved at the time:

The Courier - Naked Rambler makes ‘selfish’ threat to return to Scotland

The Scotsman - Naked Rambler may return to Scotland to evade Asbo

The Daily Record - Naked rambler Stephen Gough slammed as 'most selfish man in Britain' as he threatens a return to Scotland

The Scottish Sun - Thought we’d seen the back (side) of you, Stephen. NAKED Rambler Stephen Gough has revealed he wants to head back to Scotland — because he gets more FREEDOM.

Talk to Steve Got something to say? Talk to Steve! Talk to Steve via: email or Twitter: @talktosteve2 Talk to Steve Prison letter from Steve: Page One Prison letter from Steve: Page Two

Check out our archived prison letters page. Click here for link.

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Updated 23rd January 2016

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