June 1, 2010

I will be on sabbatical during the 2010-11 academic year, and so not teaching. Following in Prof. Farelly’s footsteps, I will be a visitor at the Center for the Study of Social Justice, at the University of Oxford.


Conference Papers

June 1, 2010

Two recent conference papers I’ve written are available online. The first was for the MPSA annual meeting in Chicago, is called “Epistemic Proceduralism and the Scope of Democratic Authority,” and is about the role of public justification in David Estlund’s theory of democracy. The argument is quite a bit different than in my Representation article – I’m less worried about the objection that the principle of public justifiability might not itself be publicly justifiable, and more worried about the scope of political authority the principle will permit. The paper also begins with what I think is a better explanation of what I take to be Estlund’s basic idea, and why it is important.

The second is called “Justice and Reciprocity,” and is for the CPSA meeting going on this week in Montreal.

Estlund Symposium in Representation

April 13, 2010

The journal Representation has just published a symposium on David Estlund’s Democratic Authority. Estlund’s book was previously the subject of a reading group on the blog Public Reason. The contributors to the symposium were participants in that discussion: Ben Saunders, Jonathan Quong and myself, along with a reply from Estlund.

Office Hours During Exam Period

April 13, 2010

Office hours for this week will be Wednesday (April 14), from 8:00 am (ish, unless the train is late) to 1:00 pm. For POLS 354, you can also direct questions to the wiki. I plan to have your essays for this course graded and comments back to you by Monday prior to the exam.

POLS 354 Wiki

January 13, 2010

POLS 354 Wikispaces

You have to be enrolled in the course to access it.  If you are enrolled in the course, but are having problems with the login, please email me.

POLS 456 Reading List

December 14, 2009

The purpose of POLS 456 for Winter 2010 is to examine the most important political theories that champion the free market and permit only a limited role for the state in social and economic life.  I have called the course “Libertarianism and Its Critics,” but it could also be a called a course on the philosophical foundations of neo-liberalism, or a course on neo-classical liberalism, or a course on liberalism-in-the-European-sense.  The thinkers we will read are not all libertarians, strictly speaking (e.g. Hayek).  But, with the exception of the so-called “left-libertarians” we will read at the end of the course, they have all been influential in opposing greater state control and regulation of economic life, and in particular in resisting calls for a more equal distribution of wealth and income.

Core readings for POLS 456 will be the three books by Hayek, Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom, and Nozick’s Anarchy, State, and Utopia. I will put all of these books on reserve in the library, but you will probably want to buy them.  They are easily available from Amazon or Chapters; any edition will do.  Most of the rest of the readings will be articles available via library subscription.  The main exception is the John Galt speech from Ayn Rand.  This will be on reserve, but if you want to buy it you could purchase either Atlas Shrugged or For the New Intellectual, which is a collective of speeches from her novels.

Read the rest of this entry »

POLS 354 Tentative Reading List

November 30, 2009

I will be making a course reader for my winter term POLS 354, available at the PCC.  Here is the tentative reading list:

POLS 354 Winter 2010  Tentative Reading List (Nov. 30th)

Read the rest of this entry »

POLS 456, Libertarianism and Its Critics

September 24, 2009

That’s what POLS 456 is going to be about this year, not “the politics of identity” as it says in the calendar and on our departmental website.  POLS 456 will likely return as the politics of identity in future years, however, taught by Prof. MacDonald

For a fuller description of my Winter 2010 POLS 456, see my previous post

Hobbes on the Sources of Social Conflict

August 27, 2009

I had an email from a student at another school asking if I had any other concept maps.  Here’s one on Hobbes’s famous Chapter 13 of Leviathan. I should have mapped out the whole argument, but I never did, and this year I’m not teaching 250 so it will have to wait.


Revised 451 Syllabus

July 8, 2009

I’ve posted a new draft of the syllabus for POLS 451, my fall seminar on toleration and public reason.  I’ve dropped one historical week (Bayle) and one theoretical week (Raz and Estlund), added an applied week (education), and left the first week of class without any readings.  I’ve also made the laptop ban just a suggestion, to be discussed in the first week of class.  The syllabus is here