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.

 

Philosophy: Environmental Ethics

Philosophy: Environmental Ethics

David Schmidtz
2016
Philosophy: Environmental Ethics is composed of twelve chapters covering such topics as population, novel ecosystem, geoengineering, climate change, animal ethics, conciliation, and extinction. The use of film, literature, art, case studies, and other disciplines or situations/events provide illustrations of human experiences which work as gateways to questions philosophers try to address. Chapters are written by eminent scholars, are peer-reviewed, and offer bibliographies to encourage further exploration.
Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy Volume 1

Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy Volume 1

Steven Wall with David Sobel and Peter Vallentyne (Editors)
2015
This is the inaugural 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 first volume features eleven papers and an introduction. The papers address a range of central topics and represent cutting edge work in the field. They are grouped into four main themes: democracy, political liberalism and public reason, rights and duties, and method.
Rational Choice and Moral Agency: 2015

Rational Choice and Moral Agency: 2015

David Schmidtz
2015
Is it rational to be moral? How do rationality and morality fit together with being human? These questions are at the heart of David Schmidtz's exploration of the connections between rationality and morality. This inquiry leads into both metaethics and rational choice theory, as Schmidtz develops conceptions of what it is to be moral and what it is to be rational. He defends a fairly expansive conception of rational choice, considering how ends as well as means can be rationally chosen and explaining the role of self-imposed constraints in a rational life plan. His moral theory is dualistic, ranging over social structure as well as personal conduct and building both individual and collective rationality into its rules of recognition for morals.
The Cambridge Companion to Liberalism

The Cambridge Companion to Liberalism

Steven Wall (Editor)
2015
The Cambridge Companion to Liberalism offers a rich and accessible exploration of liberalism as a tradition of political thought. It includes chapters on the historical development of liberalism, its normative foundations, and its core philosophical concepts, as well as a survey of liberal approaches and responses to a range of important topics including freedom, equality, toleration, religion, and nationalism. The volume will be valuable for students and scholars in political philosophy, political theory, and the history of political thought.
A Brief History of Liberty

A Brief History of Liberty

David Schmidtz with Jason Brennan
2010
Using a fusion of philosophical, social scientific, and historical methods, -- A Brief History of Liberty -- offers a succinct survey of pivotal moments in the evolution of personal freedom, drawing on key historical figures from John Knox and Martin Luther to Karl Marx and Adam Smith to Roger Williams and Thurgood Marshall. The authors examine how past (if incomplete) successes in the struggle for liberty have led many of us to liberty's "last frontier": internal psychological obstacles to our being as autonomous as we would like to be. Readers are encouraged to reflect on their own concepts of personal freedom -- what it is, where it comes from, why they have it, and what it has done for them.
Creating Wealth: Ethical and Economic Perspectives

Creating Wealth: Ethical and Economic Perspectives

David Schmidtz and John Thrasher (Editors)
2010
Creating Wealth: Ethical and Economic Perspectives is a collection of classic and contemporary economic and philosophical readings that explore these questions: How do agents in the marketplace manage to cooperate? When does such cooperation make the world a better place? What do agents in the marketplace need to do in order to succeed? What do they need to do to deserve to succeed? This text includes an introduction by the co-editor, David Schmidtz, which gives readers a nontechnical overview of an ethical framework for evaluating both market behavior and market institutions.
Contemporary Debates in Political Philosophy

Contemporary Debates in Political Philosophy

Tom Christiano with John Christman (Editors)
2009
This collection of 24 essays, written by eminent philosophers and political theorists, brings together fresh debates on some of the most fundamental questions in contemporary political philosophy, including human rights, equality, constitutionalism, the value of democracy, identity and political neutrality.
Reasons for Action

Reasons for Actions

Steven Wall with David Sobel (Editors)
2009
What are our reasons for acting? Morality purports to give us these reasons, and so do norms of prudence and the laws of society. The theory of practical reason assesses the authority of these potentially competing claims, and for this reason philosophers with a wide range of interests have converged on the topic of reasons for action. This volume contains eleven essays on practical reason by leading and emerging philosophers. Topics include the differences between practical and theoretical rationality, practical conditionals and the wide-scope ought, the explanation of action, the sources of reasons, and the relationship between morality and reasons for action. The volume will be essential reading for all philosophers interested in ethics and practical reason.
Person, Polis, Planet: Essays in Applied Philosophy

Person, Polis, Planet: Essays in Applied Philosophy

David Schmidtz
2008
This volume collects thirteen of David Schmidtz's essays on the question of what it takes to live a good life, given that we live in a social and natural world. Part One defends a non-maximizing conception of rational choice, explains how even ultimate goals can be rationally chosen, defends the rationality of concern and regard for others (even to the point of being willing to die for a cause), and explains why decision theory is necessarily incomplete as a tool for addressing such issues. Part Two uses the tools of analytic philosophy to explain what we can do to be deserving ,what is wrong with the idea that we ought to do as much good as we can, why mutual aid is good, but why the welfare state does not work as a way of institutionalizing mutual aid, and why transferring wealth from those who need it less to those who need it more can be a bad idea even from a utilitarian perspective. Most ambitiously, Part Two offers an overarching, pluralistic moral theory that defines the nature and limits of our obligations to each other and to our individual selves. Part Three discusses the history and economic logic of alternative property institutions, both private and communal, and explains why economic logic is an indispensable tool in the field of environmental conflict resolution. In the final essay, Schmidtz brings the volume full circle by considering the nature and limits of our obligations to nonhuman species, and how the status of nonhuman species ought to enter into our deliberations about what sort of life is worth living.
The Constitution of Equality: Democratic Authority and Its Limits

The Constitution of Equality: Democratic Authority and Its Limits

Tom Christiano
2008
The Constitution of Equality provides a philosophical account of the moral foundations of democracy and of liberalism. It shows how democracy and basic liberal rights are grounded in the principle of public equality, which tells us that in the establishment of law and policy we must treat persons as equals in ways they can see are treating them as equals. The principle of public equality is shown to be the fundamental principle of social justice. This account enables us to understand the nature and roles of adversarial politics and public deliberation in political life. It gives an account of the grounds of the authority of democracy. It also shows when the authority of democracy runs out. Christiano shows how the violations of democratic and liberal rights are beyond the legitimate authority of democracy, how the creation of persistent minorities in a democratic society, and the failure to ensure a basic minimum for all persons weaken the legitimate authority of democracy.