Research

A core tenet of the Freedom Center is to support research and discussion related to ideals of freedom, responsibility, and their realization in institutional form. To this end, the Center supports three journals and their corresponding workshops.

Journals

Faculty Publications

Our faculty are able to spend more time on research and publish more than standard faculty positions because of the Freedom Center's support and focus on research.

 

""

A Philosopher's Economist: Hume and the Rise of Capitalism

Margaret Schabas and Carl Wennerlind
2020
Although David Hume’s contributions to philosophy are firmly established, his economics has been largely overlooked. A Philosopher’s Economist offers the definitive account of Hume’s “worldly philosophy” and argues that economics was a central preoccupation of his life and work. Margaret Schabas and Carl Wennerlind show that Hume made important contributions to the science of economics, notably on money, trade, and public finance. Hume’s astute understanding of human behavior provided an important foundation for his economics and proved essential to his analysis of the ethical and political dimensions of capitalism.
Cooperation & Coercion cover

Cooperation & Coercion

James Harrigan & Antony Davies
2020
In this myth-busting book, Antony Davies and James R. Harrigan display the wisdom and talent for explaining complex topics that have attracted a devoted audience to their weekly podcast, Words & Numbers, and made them popular speakers around the country. By looking for cooperation and coercion in everyday life, they help make sense of a wide range of issues that dominate the public debate. You’ll come away from this book with a clear understanding of everything from the minimum wage to taxes, from gun control to government regulations, from the War on Terror to the War on Drugs to the War on Poverty. It turns out that coercion is necessary . . . sometimes. Even in a democracy, we all abide by rules, including plenty that we don’t agree with, in the name of getting along. But in the end, Davies and Harrigan show, cooperation without question is the key to human happiness and progress. The more we encourage it, the better off we all are.
Our Moral Fate cover

Our Moral Fate

Allen Buchanan
2020
A provocative and probing argument showing how human beings can for the first time in history take charge of their moral fate. Is tribalism—the political and cultural divisions between Us and Them—an inherent part of our basic moral psychology? Many scientists link tribalism and morality, arguing that the evolved “moral mind” is tribalistic. Any escape from tribalism, according to this thinking, would be partial and fragile, because it goes against the grain of our nature. In this book, Allen Buchanan offers a counterargument: the moral mind is highly flexible, capable of both tribalism and deeply inclusive moralities, depending on the social environment in which the moral mind operates. We can't be morally tribalistic by nature, Buchanan explains, because quite recently there has been a remarkable shift away from tribalism and toward inclusiveness, as growing numbers of people acknowledge that all human beings have equal moral status, and that at least some nonhumans also have moral standing. These are what Buchanan terms the Two Great Expansions of moral regard. And yet, he argues, moral progress is not inevitable but depends partly on whether we have the good fortune to develop as moral agents in a society that provides the right conditions for realizing our moral potential. But morality need not depend on luck. We can take charge of our moral fate by deliberately shaping our social environment—by engaging in scientifically informed “moral institutional design.” For the first time in human history, human beings can determine what sort of morality is predominant in their societies and what kinds of moral agents they are.
OSPP Volume 6 cover

Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy Volume 6

2020
This is the sixth volume of Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy. Since its revival in the 1970s political philosophy has been a vibrant field in philosophy, one that intersects with jurisprudence, normative economics, political theory in political science departments, and just war theory. OSPP aims to publish some of the best contemporary work in political philosophy and these closely related subfields. This volume features eight papers that address a range of central topics and represent cutting edge work in the field.
""

Commercial Society

Cathleen Johnson, Robert Lusch, & David Schmidtz
2019
One of the greatest and most joyful challenges of adult life is to develop skills that make the people around us better off with us than without us. Integrity is a key part of that challenge. We are social animals, aiming not simply to trade but to make a place for ourselves in a community. You don’t want to have to pretend that you feel proud of fooling your customers into believing you could be trusted. The ethical question is: how do people have to live in order to make the world a better place with them than without them? The economic question is: what kind of society makes people willing and able to use their talents in a way that is good for them and for the people around them? The entrepreneurial question is: what does it take to show up in the marketplace with something that can take your community to a different level? In this book, the authors discuss the connections between the ethical, economic, and entrepreneurial dimensions of a life well-lived.
Debating Education

Debating Education: Is There a Role for Markets?

David Schmidtz and Harry Brighouse
2019
Debating Education puts two leading scholars in conversation with each other on the subject of education-specifically, what role, if any, markets should play in policy reform. David Schmidtz and Harry Brighouse each advance nuanced arguments and respond to each other, presenting contrasting views on education as a public good. At its heart, Debating Education is concerned with the nature, function, and legitimate scope of voluntary exchange as a form of social relation, and how education raises concerns that are not at issue when it comes to trading relationships between consenting adults. It will appeal to scholars and students of ethics alike, specifically those who study political philosophy, philosophy of education, as well as individuals interested in educational and public policy.
Elements of Justice

Elements of Justice

David Schmidtz
2019
A new Mandarin translation of David Schmidtz 2006 Elements of Justice book. "What is justice? Questions of justice are questions about what people are due, but what that means in practice depends on context. Depending on context, the formal question of what people are due is answered by principles of desert, reciprocity, equality, or need. Justice, thus, is a constellation of elements that exhibit a degree of integration and unity, but the integrity of justice is limited, in a way that is akin to the integrity of a neighborhood rather than that of a building. A theory of justice is a map of that neighborhood." (from the publisher)
OSPP Volume 5 cover

Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy Volume 5

2019
This is the fifth volume of Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy. Since its revival in the 1970s political philosophy has been a vibrant field in philosophy, one that intersects with jurisprudence, normative economics, political theory in political science departments, and just war theory. OSPP aims to publish some of the best contemporary work in political philosophy and these closely related subfields. This volume features seven papers that address a range of central topics and represent cutting edge work in the field. They are divided into two parts that explore issues relating to power and legitimacy, and to political, legal, and moral relations.
Robert Nozick

Robert Nozick

Edited by David Schmidtz
2019
This collection devoted to Robert Nozick edited by David Schmidtz was translated and published in Mardarin Chinese in 2019. "This introductory volume is devoted to Robert Nozick, one of the dominant philosophical thinkers of the current age. Nozick's famous book, Anarchy, State and Utopia (1974), presents the classic defense of the libertarian view that only a minimal state is just. He has made significant contributions to such areas as rational choice theory, ethics, epistemology and philosophy of mind. In addition to philosophers, the book will be of particular interest to professionals and students in political science, law, economics, sociology and psychology." (from the publisher)
Evolution of Moral Progress cover

The Evolution of Moral Progress

Allen Buchanan & Russell Powell
2019
In The Evolution of Moral Progress, Allen Buchanan and Russell Powell resurrect the project of explaining moral progress. They avoid the errors of earlier attempts by drawing on a wide range of disciplines including moral and political philosophy, evolutionary biology, evolutionary psychology, anthropology, history, and sociology. Their focus is on one especially important type of moral progress: gains in inclusivity. They develop a framework to explain progress in inclusivity to also illuminate moral regression--the return to exclusivist and "tribalistic" moral beliefs and attitudes. Buchanan and Powell argue those tribalistic moral responses are not hard-wired by evolution in human nature. Rather, human beings have an evolved "adaptively plastic" capacity for both inclusion and exclusion, depending on environmental conditions. Moral progress in the dimension of inclusivity is possible, but only to the extent that human beings can create environments conducive to extending moral standing to all human beings and even to some animals. Buchanan and Powell take biological evolution seriously, but with a critical eye, while simultaneously recognizing the crucial role of culture in creating environments in which moral progress can occur. The book avoids both biological and cultural determinism. Unlike earlier theories of moral progress, their theory provides a naturalistic account that is grounded in the best empirical work, and unlike earlier theories it does not present moral progress as inevitable or as occurring in definite stages; but rather it recognizes the highly contingent and fragile character of moral improvement.