The Wheel’s Annual Lecture 2016: Professor Philip Pettit, “Neo-liberal and Neo-republican Perspectives”
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.
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.
From the Irish Times Unthinkable column. Joe Humphreys talks to Philip Pettit, whose latest book His latest book, Just Freedom: A Moral Compass for a Complex World, explores the competing rights of individuals and group agents.
This is a series of three podcasts, each a lecture from the 2011 Annual Uehiro Lecture Series on the theme “Making Good: The Challenge of Robustly Demanding Values” given by Philip Pettit.
Philip Pettit talks to Joe Gelonesi about freedom. He argues that freedom from government interference is not enough and that ancient ideas could hold clues to a freer future.
Alternatively read the ABC article which outlines many of the ideas from the recording.
You’ve got a big choice: do you think it should be everyone for themselves, a laissez faire, rip it up society? If this is what freedom means for you then you’re looking a free-for-all, with huge inequalities and lots of dependencies, a chaotic place.
For another view on Pettit, see Prof Maeve Cooke (UCD) talking to Irish Times Unthinkable about Freedom (Soundcloud audio here)
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.
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.
NewBooksInPhilosophy: Philip Pettit, “On The People’s Terms: A Republican Theory and Model of Democracy”
At New Books in Philosophy, Robert Talisse interviews Philip Pettit on his latest book “On The People’s Terms: A Republican Theory and Model of Democracy”. Audio (1:11)
How do groups act? We hold them morally and legally responsible, but are their decisions simply a majoritarian sum of individuals’ decisions? Princeton philosopher Philip Pettit, who has written a book on this topic with the LSE’s Christian List, explores these questions in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast.