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.

 

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.
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The Heart of Human Rights

Allen Buchanan
2013
This is the first attempt to provide an in-depth moral assessment of the heart of the modern human rights enterprise: the system of international legal human rights. It is international human rights law--not any philosophical theory of moral human rights or any "folk" conception of moral human rights--that serves as the lingua franca of modern human rights practice. Yet contemporary philosophers have had little to say about international legal human rights. They have tended to assume, rather than to argue, that international legal human rights, if morally justified, must mirror or at least help realize moral human rights. But this assumption is mistaken. International legal human rights, like many other legal rights, can be justified by several different types of moral considerations, of which the need to realize a corresponding moral right is only one. Further, this volume shows that some of the most important international legal human rights cannot be adequately justified by appeal to corresponding moral human rights. The problem is that the content of these international legal human rights--the full set of correlative duties--is much broader than can be justified by appealing to the morally important interests of any individual. In addition, it is necessary to examine the legitimacy of the institutions that create, interpret, and implement international human rights law and to defend the claim that international human rights law should "trump" the domestic law of even the most admirable constitutional democracies.
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Better than Human

Allen Buchanan
2011
In Better than Human?, noted bioethicist Allen Buchanan grapples with the ethical dilemmas of the medical revolution now upon us. Biomedical enhancements, he writes, can make us smarter, have better memories, be stronger, quicker, have more stamina, live much longer, be more resistant to disease and to the frailties of aging, and enjoy richer emotional lives. They can even improve our character, or at least strengthen our powers of self-control. In spite of the benefits that biomedical enhancements may bring, many people instinctively reject them. Some worry that we will lose something important-our appreciation for what we have or what makes human beings distinctively valuable. To think clearly about enhancement, Buchanan argues, we have to acknowledge that nature is a mixed bag and that our species has many "design flaws". We should be open to the possibility of becoming better than human, while never underestimating the risk that our attempts to improve may backfire.
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Beyond Humanity?

Allen Buchanan
2011
Biotechnologies already on the horizon will enable us to be smarter, have better memories, be stronger and quicker, have more stamina, live longer, be more resistant to diseases, and enjoy richer emotional lives. To some of us, these prospects are heartening; to others, they are dreadful. In Beyond Humanity a leading philosopher offers a powerful and controversial exploration of urgent ethical issues concerning human enhancement. These raise enduring questions about what it is to be human, about individuality, about our relationship to nature, and about what sort of society we should strive to have. Allen E. Buchanan urges that the debate about enhancement needs to be informed by a proper understanding of evolutionary biology, which has discredited the simplistic conceptions of human nature used by many opponents of enhancement. He argues that there are powerful reasons for us to embark on the enhancement enterprise, and no objections to enhancement that are sufficient to outweigh them.
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.
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Human Rights, Legitimacy, and the Use of Force

Allen Buchanan
2010
The thirteen essays by Allen Buchanan collected here are arranged in such a way as to make evident their thematic interconnections: the important and hitherto unappreciated relationships among the nature and grounding of human rights, the legitimacy of international institutions, and the justification for using military force across borders. Each of these three topics has spawned a significant literature, but unfortunately has been treated in isolation. In this volume Buchanan makes the case for a holistic, systematic approach, and in so doing constitutes a major contribution at the intersection of International Political Philosophy and International Legal Theory. A major theme of Buchanan's book is the need to combine the philosopher's normative analysis with the political scientist's focus on institutions. Instead of thinking first about norms and then about institutions, if at all, only as mechanisms for implementing norms, it is necessary to consider alternative "packages" consisting of norms and institutions. Whether a particular norm is acceptable can depend upon the institutional context in which it is supposed to be instantiated, and whether a particular institutional arrangement is acceptable can depend on whether it realizes norms of legitimacy or of justice, or at least has a tendency to foster the conditions under which such norms can be realized. In order to evaluate institutions it is necessary not only to consider how well they implement norms that are now considered valid but also their capacity for fostering the epistemic conditions under which norms can be contested, revised, and improved.
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.
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Justice and Health Care

Allen Buchanan
2009
In this volume Allen Buchanan collects ten of his most influential essays on justice and healthcare and connects the concerns of bioethicists with those of political philosophers, focusing not just on the question of which principles of justice in healthcare ought to be implemented, but also on the question of the legitimacy of institutions through which they are implemented. With an emphasis on the institutional implementation of justice in healthcare, Buchanan pays special attention to the relationship between moral commitments and incentives. The volume begins with an exploration of the difficulties of specifying the content of the right to healthcare and of identifying those agents and institutions that are obligated to help ensure that the right thus specified is realized, and then progresses to an examination of the problems that arise in attempts to implement the right through appropriate institutions. In the last two essays Buchanan pursues the central issues of justice in healthcare at the global level, exploring the idea of healthcare as a human right and the problem of assigning responsibilities for ameliorating global health disparities. Taken together, the essays provide a unique and consistent position on a wide range of issues, including conflicts of interest in clinical practice and the claims of medical professionalism, the nature and justification for the right to health care, the relationship between responsibility for healthcare and the nature of the healthcare system, and the problem of global health disparities. The result is an approach to justice in healthcare that will facilitate more productive interaction between the normative analysis of philosophers and the policy work of economists, lawyers, and political scientists.