web analytics
27 May

The Wheel’s Annual Lecture 2016: Professor Philip Pettit, “Neo-liberal and Neo-republican Perspectives”

Share on FacebookTweet about this on Twittershare on TumblrShare on LinkedInGoogle+Print this pageEmail to someone

Talk given at The Wheel’s Annual Lecture (Croke Park, Dublin) on 25th May 2016.

The theme of Prof. Pettit’s lecture was “Neo-liberal and Neo-republican Perspectives”. Neo-liberalism and neo-republicanism each make the ideal of freedom central in their vision of state and society. Neo-liberals argue in an all too familiar fashion that freedom requires an expanding market and a contracting state. But neo-republican thought offers a nice counterpoint to that ideology, casting people in the role of citizens rather than consumers. Drawing on a tradition with a central place in Irish history, it maintains that people can enjoy freedom, even freedom in marketplace relationships, only if their civic status ensures equal protection, empowerment and respect. According to this philosophy, people are free only if they each have standing enough to be able to look one another in the eye without reason for fear or deference.

20 Jun

Philip Pettit Public Lecture, “The Infrastructure of Democracy”, 20 June 2014, 6pm, UCD

Share on FacebookTweet about this on Twittershare on TumblrShare on LinkedInGoogle+Print this pageEmail to someone

Philip Pettit will give a public lecture on “The Infrastructure of Democracy” at 6pm on Friday 20th June, 2014, in the FitzGerald Debating Chamber, Student Centre, UCD. Ruairi Quinn TD, Minister for Education and Skills, will respond, followed by a reception.

This lecture is the Opening Keynote for the third annual UCD Garret FitzGerald School. The topic for discussion is Reforming The Republic’s Democratic Institutions, a debate which has recently gained momentum from the Constitutional Convention, debates on the role of the Senate, and possibilities of far-reaching changes in institutions ranging from the judiciary and courts to the educational system.

To register or for more detail on the sessions to be held on Saturday, 21 June 2014 as part of the Summer School see here.

10 May

Just Freedom

Share on FacebookTweet about this on Twittershare on TumblrShare on LinkedInGoogle+Print this pageEmail to someone

In this rigorous distillation of his political philosophy, Philip Pettit, author of the landmark work Republicanism, champions a simple standard for our most complex political judgments, offering a challenging ideal that nevertheless holds out a real prospect for social and democratic progress.

Whereas many thinkers define freedom as the absence of interference—we are left alone to do as we please—Pettit demands that in their basic life choices free persons should not even be subject to a power of interference on the part of others. This notion of freedom as non-domination offers a yardstick for gauging social and democratic progress and provides a simple, unifying standard for analyzing our most entangled political quandaries.

From the description of Just Freedom by Philip Pettit, published by W.W. Norton.

Further information

31 Jul

Philip Pettit: Freedom and other Robustly Demanding Goods

Share on FacebookTweet about this on Twittershare on TumblrShare on LinkedInGoogle+Print this pageEmail to someone

http://philosophy.anu.edu.au/sites/default/files/Freedom-and-other-robustly-demanding-goods-20130506.mp3″

This is a lecture on freedom (2 hours 14 mins) given by Professor Philip Pettit on May 6, 2013. The lecture was given at the Australian National University School of Philosophy.

For more information on this topic see Philip Pettit’s article from 2012 on “A Question for Tomorrow: The Robust Demands of the Good” [pdf]. Extract:

Humphrey Lyttelton, the English jazz musician, was once asked where he thought jazz was going. He replied that if he knew where jazz was going, he would be there already. I feel the same about being asked about the questions of tomorrow in the moral and political philosophy. If I knew what they were,
I would be there already. Which raises an interesting thought. Perhaps the best indication of what I think that the questions are is where I am already. And, following that thought, there is a clear path to follow, however narcissistic it may seem. This is to describe a question that I think important — indeed a question that is something of a personal hobby-horse — despite the fact that it is not currently much discussed. Induction from past evidence suggests that it is unlikely to become a question of tomorrow. But I live, as we all must do, in hope.

In thinking over a long period about the various ways in which freedom may be conceptualized, I came to see that it is, as I came to put it, a robustly or modally demanding value.

04 Apr

The Market as a Res Publica

Share on FacebookTweet about this on Twittershare on TumblrShare on LinkedInGoogle+Print this pageEmail to someone

To bring out the conflict of images, consider the property conventions that establish the titles and rights of ownership. On the libertarian picture owning is a natural relationship — you might think of it as a relationship of possession and use — and the rules of property serve to affirm and protect the natural rights of owners.

On the republican picture, owning is a relationship that presupposes law, if only the inchoate law of informal custom. You do not own something — you do not have the freedom of an owner — just insofar as you can hang onto it, frightening off or driving off potential rivals. You own something only insofar as it is a matter of accepted convention that given the way you came to hold it — given public recognition of the title you have to the property — you enjoy public protection against those who would take it from you. It is yours to hold and enjoy in private; but it is yours in that sense only by grace of public convention.

Philip Pettit on the contrast between Libertarian and Republican views.
PoliticsInSpires: Taking Back the Economy: The market as a Res Publica.

02 Apr

Pettit: ‘A Theory Of Freedom’ in Spain

Share on FacebookTweet about this on Twittershare on TumblrShare on LinkedInGoogle+Print this pageEmail to someone

In 1997, Professor Pettit published a book called Republicanism: A Theory of Freedom. In it, he declares that “the traditional, republican ideal of freedom” – drawing on thinkers going back to Cicero, Machiavelli, the writers of the English Revolution and “many theorists of republic and commonwealth in 18th-century England and America and France” – could still provide “an exciting way of rethinking democratic institutions”.

At its heart is the notion of “freedom as non-domination”. Since liberals see freedom in largely negative terms, as “absence of interference”, writes Professor Pettit, that makes them “tolerant of relationships in the home, in the workplace, in the electorate and elsewhere, that the republican must denounce as paradigms of domination and unfreedom”. It is time to return to the much more demanding republican conception of freedom, he argues.

Republicanism is a clear and accessible book, but Professor Pettit saw little prospect of it changing the world. He had reckoned without the interest of Spanish opposition leader José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, who had read the book in Spanish translation and announced in 2000 that if he ever came to power, he would use it as the basis for his legislative programme.

From Times Higher Education (23 Jan 2011), “Spanish statecraft, the scholarly way” by Matthew Reisz.