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.
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)
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.
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.
Is consequentialism in ethics a form of moral opportunism? Is torture always wrong? What about punishing the innocent? Philip Pettit, who recently gave the 2011 Uehiro Lectures on ‘Robustly Demanding Values’, discusses some common criticisms of consequentialism in conversation with Nigel Warburton in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast