On Thursday, Oct 23, Niko Kolodny, Professor of Philosophy, University of California, Berkeley (http://sophos.berkeley.edu/kolodny/ ), will deliver a talk on "Being Under The Power Of Others." (Abstract below.)
Thursday, Oct 23, 12:30-1:45pm, in the Kendrick Room at the Freedom Center, Marshall 280 (right above Paradise Bakery). Feel free to bring lunch.
For further information, please visit the Arizona Freedom Center at http://freedomcenter.arizona.edu/colloquium .
At the core of the recent revival and development of the “republican” tradition, by Philip Pettit and of Kant’s legal and political philosophy, by Arthur Ripstein, is a highly suggestive, but elusive thesis: that certain ways of being under the power of others are objectionable as such. Stressing the word, “others,” this means that we have an objection to being under the power of other wills. Being at the “mercy” of natural forces, or one’s own will is not troubling in the same way. Stressing the word “power,” this means that we have an objection however the power is actually exercised.
This "Republican-Kantian Thesis" is put into service to support three claims about the state:
(1) We avoid being objectionably under the power of non-state actors only if we live under a state.
(2) We avoid being objectionably under the power of non-state actors if we live under a properly constituted state.
(3) Under a properly constituted state, even without consent or acceptability, we avoid being objectionably under the power of state actors.
I will argue, negatively, that if we understand the Republican-Kantian Thesis as Pettit and Ripstein understand it, then it cannot support these claims. More positively, I will suggest an alternative interpretation, which supports at least claims (2) and (3).