Distinguished Irish philosopher Prof. Philip Pettit of Princeton University will give a public lecture on ‘A Brief History of Liberty — and its Lessons’ in the Aula Maxima, NUI Galway at 4pm on Tuesday, 17th June 2014. This talk is being presented as part of the President of Ireland’s ‘Ethics Initiative’, and organised by the Power, Conflict & Ideologies Research Cluster of the School of Political Science & Sociology. The President of Ireland, His Excellency Michael D. Higgins, will be in attendance at the lecture. All are welcome and the event is free, but we would appreciate if you could register your attendance here.
Philip Pettit, originally from Ballygar Co. Galway, is L.S. Rockefeller University Professor of Politics and Human Values at Princeton University, where he teaches philosophy and political theory. He is particularly renowned for his revival and development of republicanism within political philosophy, and for his work on group agency. Among his books are The Common Mind (1996); Republicanism (1997); The Economy of Esteem (2004), with G. Brennan; A Political Philosophy in Public Life: Civic Republicanism in Zapatero’s Spain, with J.L. Marti (2010); and Group Agency (2011), with C. List. Professor Pettit is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and of academies in his two countries of citizenship: Ireland and Australia. His recent book On the People’s Terms (2012) is published with Cambridge University Press. It is based on the 2009 Albertus Magnus Lectures in Cologne, and the 2010 Seeley lectures in Cambridge. Also forthcoming is a book with W.W.Norton for a general audience, entitled Just Freedom: A Moral Compass for a Complex World. He is giving the Tanner Lectures on Human Values at Berkeley in 2014-15.
While in Ireland, Prof. Pettit will also be involved in a number of workshops, based on his work, in UCD, and will give the opening keynote address, on the infrastructure of democracy, to the third annual Garrett Fitzgerald Summer School in Dublin later in June.
Abstract for the lecture is below the fold.
A Brief History of Liberty — And its Lessons
Liberty remained the paramount ideal through the ruptures of political thought that occurred in ancient Rome, medieval Italy, seventeenth-century England, and the centers of eighteenth-century upheaval: America, France and indeed Ireland. It emerged from that history as an ideal of personal independence, achieved under a shared rule of law. This concept of freedom celebrates the un-dominated man and woman, not just the individual let alone. It equates freedom with being able to look others in the eye, without fear or deference, thanks to political equality, legal status, social security and personal effort. Although it was lost to sight in the fog of later ideological conflict, eclipsed by struggles over social planning and economic rationalism, it is there still to reclaim and rework. It offers a beacon by which to orientate in thinking about the future of our society and our world.