Law and Philosophy Workshop

Brian Leiter
Nethanel Lipshitz

2018-19 Topic: "Enlightenment liberalism and its critics, left and right"

The topic for 2018-19 will be “Enlightenment liberalism and its critics,” the critics coming from both the left and the right.   Enlightenment liberalism was marked by its belief in human freedom and the need for justifications on any infringements of that freedom; by its commitment to individual rights (for example, rights to expression or to property); and by its faith in the rational and self-governing capacities of persons and their basic moral equality.  The Workshop will begin in the fall with several classes just for students to discuss foundational readings from liberal thinkers like Locke, Kant and Mill, as well as visitors who will discuss their work on Locke and on Mill.  In the Winter quarter, we will consider critics from the left, notably Marx (though we will touch on Marcuse and Mill in the fall).  In Spring, we will turn to critics from the “right,” mainly Carl Schmitt though we will have one session related to Nietzsche as well (who rejects the moral equality of persons).   There will be sessions with the students discussing primary texts and then sessions with outside speakers sometimes interpreting the primary texts, sometimes criticizing the critics of liberalism, and sometimes developing their ideas.  Open to PhD students in philosophy, and to J.D. students and other graduate students who submit an application to Prof. Leiter detailing their background in philosophy.  

Sessions marked with an * are for enrolled students only.

*October 1, 2018 John Locke, Second Treatise of Government, sections 1-5 (4-6 pm)
October 8, 2018 Jeremy Waldron (NYU):  “Species and the Shape of Equality,” Chapter 3 of his God, Locke, and Equality (Cambridge, 2002); optional reading:   “A Religious Basis for Equality?,” Chapter 5 from Waldron’s One Another’s EqualsThe Basis of Human Equalitly (Harvard, 2017).
*October 29, 2018 Kant, “What is Enlightenment?” and “Idea for a Universal History from a Cosmopolitan Point of View” (4-6 pm)
*November 26, 2018 John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, [which chapters?]; Leiter, “Justifying Academic Freedom:  Mill and Marcuse Revisited,” pp. __-__ (4-6 pm)
December 3, 2018 David Brink (UC San Diego):  “Liberal Preliminaries,” “Freedom of Expression in a Liberal Context,” and “Liberal Principles Refined,” Chapters 6-8 of his   Mill’s Progressive Principles (Oxford, 2015).
*January 14, 2018 Marx, “On the Jewish Question” and excerpts from “The Communist Manifesto” (4-6 pm)
*January 28, 2018 Marx, excerpts from “The German Ideology” (4-6 pm)
February 11, 2019 Jaime Edwards (St. Norbert College), [on ideology]
February 25, 2019 Steven Lukes (NYU), readings to be announced (something on Marx)
March 4, 2019

Martha Nussbaum (Chicago), “The Feminist Critique of Liberalism” (Lindley

Lecture, 1997)

*April 1, 2019

[excerpts from Kant’s Doctrine of Right, plus something on Marx on

Exploitation TBA]

April 8, 2019 Allen Wood (Indiana/Bloomington), “Marx and Kant on Capitalist Exploitation”
April 22, 2019 Brian Leiter (Chicago), “The Death of God and the Death of Morality”
*April 29, 2019 Schmitt, The Concept of the Political including the “Notes” by Leo Strauss
May 6, 2019

John P. McCormick (Chicago), “European Legitimacy Crises—Weimar and Today:  Rational and Theocratic Authority in the Schmitt-Strauss Exchange,” available for download here.