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.

 

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.
Justice Legitimacy and Self-determination cover

Justice, Legitimacy, and Self-Determination

Allen Buchanan
2007
This book articulates a systematic vision of an international legal system grounded in the commitment to justice for all persons. It provides a probing exploration of the moral issues involved in disputes about secession, ethno-national conflict, "the right of self-determination of peoples," human rights, and the legitimacy of the international legal system itself. Buchanan advances vigorous criticisms of the central dogmas of international relations and international law, arguing that the international legal system should make justice, not simply peace among states, a primary goal, and rejecting the view that it is permissible for a state to conduct its foreign policies exclusively according to what is in the "national interest." He also shows that the only alternatives are not rigid adherence to existing international law or lawless chaos in which the world's one superpower pursues its own interests without constraints. This book not only criticizes the existing international legal order, but also offers morally defensible and practicable principles for reforming it. Justice, Legitimacy, and Self-Determination will find a broad readership in political science, international law, and political philosophy.
Rational Choice and Democratic Deliberation: A Theory of Discourse Failure

Rational Choice and Democratic Deliberation: A Theory of Discourse Failure

Guido Pincione and Fernando R. Tesón
2006
In public political deliberation, people will err and lie in accordance with definite patterns. Such discourse failure results from behavior that is both instrumentally and epistemically rational. The deliberative practices of a liberal democracy (let alone repressive or non-democratic societies) cannot be improved so as to overcome the tendency for rational citizens to believe and say things at odds with reliable propositions of social science. The theory has several corollaries. One is that much contemporary political philosophy can be seen as an unsuccessful attempt to vindicate, on symbolic and moral grounds, the forms that discourse failure take on in public political deliberation. Another is that deliberative practices cannot be rescued even on non-epistemic grounds, such as social peace, impartiality, participation, and equality. To alleviate discourse failure, this 2006 book proposes to reduce the scope of majoritarian politics and enlarge markets.
The Elements of Justice

The Elements of Justice

David Schmidtz
2006
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.
Perfectionism and Neutrality: Essays in Liberal Theory

Perfectionism and Neutrality: Essays in Liberal Theory

Steven Wall with George Klosko (Editors)
2003
Over the past twenty years, the debate between neutrality and perfectionism has been at the center of political philosophy. Now Perfectionism and Neutrality: Essays in Liberal Theory brings together classic papers and new ideas on both sides of the discussion. Editors George Klosko and Steven Wall provide a substantive introduction to the history and theories of perfectionism and neutrality, expertly contextualizing the essays and making the collection accessible to everyone interested in the interaction between morals and the state
Philosophy and Democracy: An Anthology

Philosophy and Democracy: An Anthology

Tom Christiano (Editor)
2003
This volume collects some of the leading essays in contemporary democratic theory published in the past thirty years. The anthology presents the work of a select group of contributors (including Peter Singer, Joshua Cohen, Ronald Dworkin, Richard Arneson, and others) and covers many foundational approaches defended by scholars from a range of different disciplines. The chapters address many issues that are central to philosophical reflections on democracy, such as questions pertaining to deliberative and economic approaches, as well as to such topics as intrinsic fairness, the role of equality in relation to minority groups, and the limits of democracy. Covering representative work in economics, political science, legal theory, and philosophy, this comprehensive volume is suited to courses in political theory and political philosophy.
Robert Nozick

Robert Nozick

David Schmidtz (Editor)
2002
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.
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Rights, Equality, and Liberty

Ed. Guido Pincione and Horacio Spector
2000
What are moral rights? What role do they play in liberalism? Which rights do we have? Does the language of rights impose formal constraints? Which rights and duties does equality force us to acknowledge? Are rights universal or culture-bound? How should global institutions promote human rights? These are the central questions discussed in this volume. All the contributors are leading figures in moral, legal, or political philosophy, and their papers are published here for the first time. The reader will therefore find in this volume a unique opportunity to acquire a direct acquaintance with some of the most recent developments in the above fields. Although the general tone of the contributions is polemical and rigorous, most of the material will be useful to the specialized reader as well as to the university student.