Philosophy 290-6

Fall 2013

Number Title Instructor Days/time Room
290-6 Graduate Seminar: Problems with Authority: Themes from The Morality of Freedom Munoz-Dardé Tu 2-4 107 Mulford

We’ll be looking back a quarter of a century at Joseph Raz’s The Morality of Freedom, and some of the central themes that classic text raises for us.

The issues we are to address can be organized under three headings:

(a) Authority & Consent

(b) Neutrality & Paternalism

(c) Consequentialism & Separatness of Person

(a) Authority & Consent One of the distinctive elements of Raz’s The Morality of Freedom is functional theory of authority it offers at the outset. It will be useful to contrast this with Anscombe’s earlier discussion of authority. We’ll finish off this topic looking back to earlier attempts to connect questions of authority and obligation to the existence of institutions.

(b) Neutrality & Paternalism Is it a requirement on a just politic order (or a just such order as conceived by liberalism) to be neutral among conceptions of the good? Raz launches a vituperative attack on what he sees as Rawls’s moral relativism lurking behind the demand for neutrality. We can compare this disagreement to some recent discussions of these issues: first Jonathan Quong’s complaint of paternalism against Raz; secondly van Wietmarschen and Leland’s attempt to understand it purely in terms of epistemic modesty.

(c) Consequentialism & Separateness of Person Despite the manner in which Raz insists his liberalism is different from Rawls, both join forces against traditional utilitarianism, and its modern consequentialist developments. We’ll look at Raz’s discussion of consequentialism and compare that to Williams’s original discussions of integrity. Again we’ll set this earlier discussion in the context of some more recent debate, in this case Larry Temkin’s discussion of separateness of person in his recent book.