POLS 456 Reading List

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.

Week 1 Introduction

  • No readings for this week specifically; start reading Hayek for Week 2.

Week 2 Hayek I

  • Friedrich Hayek,  The Road to Serfdom, Chapters 1 to 10

Week 3 Hayek II

  • Friedrich Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty, Chapters 1-10, 15-16, 18-20

Week 4 Hayek III

  • Friedrich Hayek, Law, Liberty and Legislation Vol. 2: The Mirage of Social Justice, Chapters 9-10

Week 5 Rand

  • Ayn Rand. “This is John Galt Speaking” – the famous speech from Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter VII, also reprinted in For the New Intellectual.

Week 6 Friedman

  • Milton Friedman.  Capitalism and Freedom, Chapters 1, 2, 6-13

Week 7 Nozick I

  • Robert Nozick.  Anarchy, State, and Utopia, Part I

Week 8 Nozick II

  • Robert Nozick.  Anarchy, State, and Utopia, Part II

Week 9 Nozick’s Critics

  • Thomas Nagel, “Libertarianism Without Foundations,” Yale Law Journal 85, no. 1 (1975): 136-49.
  • Brian Barry, “Review of Anarchy, State, and Utopia,” Political Theory 3, no. 3 (1975): 331-36.
  • Samuel Freeman, “Illiberal Libertarians: Why Libertarianism is Not a Liberal View,” Philosophy and Public Affairs 30, no. 2 (2001): 105-51.

Week 10 Left-Libertarianism I

  • Peter Vallentyne and Hillel Steiner, Left-Libertarianism and Its Critics : The Contemporary Debate (Basingstoke, Hampshire ; New York: Palgrave, 2000). Just the Chapter from Van Parjis
  • Michael Otsuka, “Self-Ownership and Equality: A Lockean Reconciliation,” Philosophy and Public Affairs 27 (1998): 65-92.

Week 11 Left-Libertarianism II

  • Barbara H. Fried, “Left-Libertarianism: A Review Essasy,” Philosophy and Public Affairs 32, no. 1 (2004): 66-92.
  • Peter Vallentyne et al., “Why Left-Libertarianism is Not Incoherent, Indeterminate, Or Irrelevant: A Reply to Fried,” Philosophy and Public Affairs 32, no. 2 (2005): 201-15.
  • Barbara H. Fried, “Left-Libertarianism, Once More: A Rejoinder to Vallentyne, Steiner, and Otsuka,” Philosophy and Public Affairs 32, no. 2 (2005): 216-22.

Week 12 Review / Overload

  • We will use this week to review or catch up, if we fall behind

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