Liberty Review

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Contingency, Confidence, and Liberalism in the Political Thought of Bernard Williams

SOCIAL THEORY AND PRACTICE 40.4 (2014): 545-569

Abstract: This paper offers a systematic examination of the political thought of Bernard Williams by explaining the relation between his political realism and critical assessment of modern moral philosophy and discussing how his work illuminates the debates about the nature and purpose of political theory. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Philosophy, Political Theory

Perfectionism, Reasonableness, and Respect

POLITICAL THEORY 42.4 (2014): 468-489

Abstract: In recent work, Martha Nussbaum has exposed an important ambiguity in the standard conception of political liberalism. The ambiguity centers on the notion of “reasonableness” as it applies to comprehensive doctrines and to persons. As Nussbaum observes, the notion of reasonableness in political liberalism can be construed in a purely ethical sense or in a sense that combines ethical and epistemic elements. The ambiguity bears crucially on the respect for persons norm—a key norm that helps to distinguish political from perfectionist versions of liberalism. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Philosophy, Political Theory

How Many American Loyalists Left the United States?

THE HISTORIAN 76.2 (2014): 278-307

In this interesting piece, the author evaluates one of the most notoriously difficult aspects of early American history: estimating the number of loyalists who left America during and after the conclusion of the American Revolution. Specifically, he challenges the recent estimates of the size of the loyalist exodus made by Maya Jasanoff, in her Liberty’s Exiles (2011). Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: History

Money without a State: Currencies of the Orthodox Christians in the Balkan Provinces of the Ottoman Empire (17th –19th centuries)


Abstract: The paper presents a historical and theoretical analysis of the issue of local currency (coins and paper money), undertaken in various forms by the Orthodox Christians in the Balkan provinces of the Ottoman Empire (XVII –XIX centuries). Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Economics, History

From Custom to Law – Hayek Revisited

MPRA PAPER No. 56643 (2014)

Abstract: The present paper combines legal history with economic theory so to explain the passage from custom to law. Economists have usually explained the shift from customary to statutory law (that is, from spontaneous to formal rules) either in terms contractualism or evolutionism. In the first case, law is the only efficient solution for a Hobbesian-like immanent social conflict. In the second case, customs do create an efficient enough equilibrium. Law comes on a later stage just to formalise an already accepted rule, vesting the custom with a formal status. Neither theory, however, is fully able to explain the transition from custom to law. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Economics, Law

Buchanan and Tullock Ignore Their Own Contributions to Expressive Voting

PUBLIC CHOICE 161.1-2 (2014): 113-118

Abstract: It is common to employ small-number voting models to show how majority voting can lead to outcomes that are often at variance to what most people expect. For example, when government projects are voted on separately, and logrolling and side payment agreements are ruled out, each project can capture a majority vote even though all voters would be better off if none of the projects passed. The outcomes are typically driven by the assumption that the decision of each voter is influenced entirely by effect of their vote on their personal financial interests. But this is misleading Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Economics, Politics

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Recent Posts: Liberty Review Books

Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy. Francis Fukuyama. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 2014

Writing in The Wall Street Journal, David Gress called Francis Fukuyama’s Origins of Political Order “magisterial in its learning and admirably immodest in its ambition.” In The New York Times Book Review, Michael Lind described the book as “a major … Continue reading

Mixed Fortunes: An Economic History of China, Russia, and the West. Vladimir Popov. Oxford University Press. 2014

The rise of the West is often attributed the presence of certain features in Western countries from the 16th century that were absent in more traditional societies: the abolition of serfdom and Protestant ethics, the protection of property rights, and … Continue reading

Distant Strangers: How Britain Became Modern. James Vernon. University of California Press. 2014

What does it mean to live in the modern world? How different is that world from those that preceded it, and when did we become modern? In Distant Strangers, James Vernon argues that the world was made modern not by revolution, … Continue reading

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Libertad y Orden en la Filosofía Política Kantiana. Acerca de los Límites del Uso Público de la Razón en El Conflicto de las Facultades

ILEANA BEADE ISEGORÍA. REVISTA DE FILOSOFÍA MORAL Y POLÍTICA 50 (2014): 371-392 En este trabajo proponemos examinar una doble exigencia formulada por Kant en El Conflicto de las Facultades –a saber, la exigencia de libertad y la exigencia del orden–, … Continue reading

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