JAMES E. ROGERS PROFESSOR OF PHILOSOPHY
selected published papers
"Social Evolution" (with John Thrasher). In The Routledge Companion to Social and Political Philosophy, edited by Gerald Gaus and Fred D'Agostino. New York: Taylor Francis, 2013: 643-55.
"Sectarianism Without Perfection? Quong's Political Liberalism." Philosophy and Public Issues, vol. 2, No. 2 (Fall 2012): pp. 7-15.
"Constructivist and Ecological Modeling of Group Rationality." Episteme. vol. 9 (September 2012): 245-54.
"Social Contract and Social Choice." Rutgers' Law Journal ,vol. 43 (Spring/Summer 2012): 243-76.
"Property." In the Oxford Handbook of Political Philosophy, edited by David Estlund. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012: 93-112.
"Hobbes's Challenge to Public Reason Liberalism," In Hobbes Today, edited by S.A. Lloyd. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013: 155-177.
"Explanation, Justification, and Emergent Properties: An Essay on Nozickean Metatheory." In The Cambridge Companion to Nozick's 'Anarchy, State, and Utopia', edited by Ralf M. Bader and John Meadowcroft. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011: 116-44.
"Between Discovery and Choice: The General Will in a Diverse Society" Contemporary Readings in Law and Social Justice, vol. 3 (2011): pp. 70-95
"Egoism, Altruism, and Our Cooperative Social Order" In Morality: The Why and What of It, edited by James Sterba. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2012: 145-62.
"Ideology, Political Philosophy, and the Interpretive Enterprise: A View from the Other Side." In Liberalism as Ideology: Essays for Michael Freeden, edited by Ben Jackson and Marc Stears. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012: 178-98.
"On Seeking the Truth (whatever that is) Through Democracy: Estlund's Case for the Qualified Epistemic Claim." Ethics, vol. 121 (January 2011): 270-300.
"A Tale of Two Sets: Public Reason in Equilibrium." Public Affairs Quarterly , vol. 25 (October 2011): 305-325.
"Justification, Choice, and Promise: Three Devices of the Consent Tradition in a Diverse Society." Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy,vol. 15 (March 2012): 109-127.
"Retributive Justice and Social Cooperation." In Retributivism: Essays on Theory and Practice, edited by Mark D. White. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 201:73-90.
"The Property Equilibrium in a Free Society", Social Philosophy and Policy.vol. 28 (Summer 2011): 74-101.
"Recognized Rights as Devices of PublicReason," Philosophical Perspectives: Ethics, vol. 23 (2009): 111-36
"The Demands of Impartiality and the Evolution of Morality." In Partiality and Impartiality, edited by Brian Feltham and John Cottingham. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.
"The Moral Foundations of Liberal Neutrality." In Debates in Contemporary Political Philosophy, Thomas Christiano and John Christman, eds., Oxford: Blackwell, 2009: 81-98."The Idea and Ideal of Capitalism." In The Oxford Handbook of Business Ethics, edited by George G. Brenkert and Tom L. Beauchamp. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009): 73-99.
"The Place of Religious Belief in Public Reason Liberalism." In Multiculturalism and Moral Conflict, edited by Maria Dimovia-Cookson and P.M.R. Stirk. London: Routledge, 2009: 19-37.
"Is the Public Incompetent? Compared to Whom? About What?," Critical Review: A Journal of Politics and Society, vol. 20 (2009): 291-311.
(with Kevin Vallier) "The Roles of Religious Conviction in a Publicly Justified Polity: The Implications of Convergence, Asymmetry and Political Institutions." Philosophy & Social Criticism, vol. 35 (January 2009): pp. 51-76.
"Controversial Values and State Neutrality in On Liberty. In Mill's On Liberty: A Critical Guide, edited by C.L. Ten. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008: 83-104.
"The (Severe) Limits of Deliberative Democracy as the Basis for Political Choice." Theoria: A Journal of Social and Political Theory, no. 117 (2008): 26-53.
"Reasonable Utility Functions and Playing the Cooperative Way." Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, vol. 11 (June 2008): 215-234"Social Complexity and Evolved Moral Principles.: In Liberalism, Conservatism, And Hayek's Idea Of Spontaneous Order, Peter McNamara, ed. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007: 149-76
"The Evolution of Society and Mind: Hayek's System of Ideas." In Ed Feser, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Hayek. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006: 232-258.
"On Justifying the Liberties of the Moderns: A Case of Old Wine in New Bottles." Social Philosophy & Policy, vol. 25 (1), 2007.
"The Rights Recognition Thesis: Defending and Extending Green" in Maria Dimovia-Cookson and Wlliam Mander, eds., T.H. Green: Metaphysics, Ethics and Political Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
"The Place of Autonomy in Liberalism." In Autonomy and the Challenges to Liberalism, John Christman and Joel Anderson, eds., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005: 272-306.
"The Diversity of Comprehensive Liberalisms." In Handbook of Political Theory, Gaus and Kukathas, eds., op. cit., pp. 100-114.
"Liberal Neutrality: A Radical and Compelling Principle" In Perfectionism and Neutrality, George Klosko and Steven Wall, eds. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003: 137-165.
"Taking the Bad with the Good: Misplaced Worries about Legal Retribution." In Enrique Villanveua, ed., Legal and Political Philosophy. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2002: 339-362.
"What is Deontology? Part One: Orthodox Views." Journal of Value Inquiry, vol. 35 (2001): 27-42.
"What is Deontology? Part Two: Reasons for Action." Journal of Value Inquiry, vol. 35 (2001): 179-193.
I received my BA from SUNY/Buffalo and my MA and Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh. In the early '80s I was a Research Fellow in Philosophy Department in the Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University, where I worked closely with Stanley Benn. (Stanley's great book, A Theory of Freedom, is one of the most underappreciated books in recent political philosophy — there is more good philosophy in one of Stanley's chapters than most books in recent political philosophy.) From 1997-2002, together with Fred D'Agostino and Peter Forrest, I was co-editor of The Australasian Journal of Philosophy (Oxford UP). I was a founding co-editor of Politics, Philosophy & Economics (Sage).
My main area of work is on public reason. My most recent book is The Order of Public Reason published by Cambridge, in which I argue here that respect for all as free and equal moral persons requires that our social morality be publicly justified however, the project of identifying such a morality is, I believe, clearly indeterminate. Drawing on ideas in game theory and social evolution, I try to show how respect for the moral freedom of all is still possible in the face of this indeterminacy.
Most of my writings in the last few years try to show why we should reject a dominant, over-ambitious, conception of normative ethics and political philosophy according to which the aim of ethics and political philosophy is to generate specific, determinate, principles of morality or justice that are then employed to judge the moral and political framework under which we live. This conception of "moral philosopher as moral legislator" sees the activity of moral and political philosophy as impartial reasoning that leads the philosopher to determinate moral truth. This view, I have argued, is not only implausible but in many ways pernicious, leading moral and political philosophers to present highly contentious and often manifestly ideological commitments as if they are the unique results of impartial reason. Hence the ideological din that characterizes so much contemporary political philosophy (egalitarian, left libertarian, right libertarian, prioritarian, or whatever tarian you like). In its place I have sought to build on the work of an earlier generation of social philosophers such as Kurt Baier, P.F. Strawson, and F.A. Hayek to show how moral and social philosophy can be understood as a way to gain critical leverage on the evolved social morality with which we are confronted. In this light, the work of philosophers such as Cristina Bicchieri and Peter Vanderschraaf, as well as game theorists such as Herbert Gintis, provide far deeper insights than most of what goes under the rubric of "political philosophy."
I am currently working on a book, The Tyranny of the Ideal, to be published by Princeton University Press. In this book I show that societies that disagree about justice are apt to outperform from the perspective of justice itself societies that have come to agree on what is the correct conception of justice and are thus "well-ordered." Thus, that real human societies are characterized by deep disagreements as to the best conception of justice is not a mere fact to be accommodated by a nonideal "theory of the second best," but our main engine of moral improvement though, at the same time, our diversity of perspectives on justice means that it is most doubtful that we will ever reach rational consensus on the optimum principes of justice. A political philosophy devoted to the pursuit of what we now consider ideal justice, and which seeks a "well-ordered society" based on this shared ideal, almost certainly will condemn us to a society based on an inferior view of justice. Political philosophy, I argue, has too long labored under the sway of theorists' pictures of an ideally just society; we ought instead to investigate the characteristics of societies that encourage increasingly just arrangements.
Phil 596F: Seminar in Social and Political Philosophy: Diversity and Non-Ideal Theory
Dave Schmidtz and I will lead this seminar together. My take on it (Dave no doubt will have a somewhat different and kinder one), is that much contemporary moral and political philosophy is gravitating to a pernicious and implausible Platonism, according to which justice is an "ideal" that does not intrinsically concern itself with the human motivation, social feasibility, or our deeply different perspectives on justice in social relations. In my view the real and pressing concern of social and political philosophy is how to take account of normative diversity (and, more deeply, differences in social ontologies) in securing a justified social and political order. In particular, is a fundamental diversity in perspectives simply a problem to be overcome, or a resource to be exploited? I am especially interested in various new ways to more formally model deep diversity in moral theory and political philosophy. We will look at work by, among others, Amartya Sen, Scott Page, Helene Landemore, Ryan Muldoon, and Fred D'Agostino, as well as some of my stuff on diversity. Ryan will come out to talk to the seminar.
Phil 537: Moral and Social Evolution (Graduate Students Only)
In this course we will be looking mostly at new work on the evolution of society and morality. Much of it will be a bit formal. A particular focus will be biological-cultural co-evolution of altruistic punishment and norm following. We will read, among others, Ken Binmore's Natural Justice and Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis A Cooperative Species: Human Reciprocity and its Evolution. Other good stuff too.
PPEL 310: Economic Analyses in Philosophy and Politics
This course introduces students to the ways in which economic analysis has been applied to issues in social philosophy and the study of politics; it analyzes the ways in which tools from economics have been applied to the problems of social and political theory. Game theory, axiomatic social choice theory, and public choice theory are discussed.
PPEL 320: Classics in Political Economy
This is a course in the history of economic thought. We will look at, among others, Adam Smith, J.S. Mill, Karl Marx, F.A. Hayek and John Maynard Keynes. The course considers why the field of political economy, combining social philosophy, politics, and economic analysis, flourished for most of the nineteenth century, but broke into separate fields at the end of the century, and the consequences of this rupture.
Phil 437: Moral and Social Evolution (Undergraduates Only)
We will consider both historical and contemporary thinking about social and moral evolution. Topics range from the social and moral evolutionists of the 19th century (e.g., Darwin, Spencer, Ritchie), 20th century figures such as F. A. Hayek, to contemporary thinking in evolutionary game theory, sociology, and moral psychology.
selected forthcoming papers
"Hobbesian Contractarianism, Orthodox and Revisionist." In The Continuum Companion to Hobbes edited by S.A. Lloyd, forthcoming.
"On the Appropriate Mode of Justifying a Public Moral Constitution." In The Harvard Review of Philosophy," forthcoming.
"The Turn to a Political Liberalism." In The Blackwell Companion to Rawls, edited by David Reidy and Jon Mandle. New York: Wiley-Blackwell, forthcoming
work in progress
The Order of Public Reason: A Theory of Freedom and Morality in a Diverse and Bounded World Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011, xx + 621pp.
On Philosophy, Politics and Economics. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth, 2008, xii + 220pp.
Contemporary Theories of Liberalism: Public Reason as a Post-Enlightenment Project. London: Sage Publications, 2003, ix+240pp.
Political Concepts and Political Theories. Boulder, CO: Westview, 2000, xiv + 288pp.
Social Philosophy. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1999. xiv + 245pp.
Justificatory Liberalism: An Essay on Epistemology and Political Theory (Oxford Political Theory). New York: Oxford University Press, 1996, xiv + 374pp.
Value and Justification: The Foundations of Liberal Theory (Cambridge Studies in Philosophy). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990, xviii + 540 pp.
The Modern Liberal Theory of Man. New York: St. Martins's Press, 1983, vii + 312 pp.
(with Fred D'Agostino) The Routledge Companion to Social and Political Philosophy
(with Christi Favor and Julian Lamont), Essays on Philosophy, Politics, and Economics: Integration and Common Research Projects. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2010.
(with Chandran Kukathas) Handbook of Political Theory. London: Sage Publications, 2004, xvi + 448 pp.
(with William Sweet) The Philosophical Theory of the State and Related Essays by Bernard Bosanquet (Classic Studies in the History of Ideas). Indianapolis: St. Augustine Press, 2001, 426 + xxv pp.
(with Fred D’Agostino) Public Reason (International Research Library of Philosophy). Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 1998, xxiii + 470 pp.
(with S.I. Benn) Public and Private in Social Life. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1983, vii + 412 pp.
workshop, November 16 & 17, 2007
On November 16 and 17 here in Tucson, there will be a workshop on public reason. Click
Particpants will include:
Alyssa Bernstein, Ohio University
Chris Bertram, University of Bristol
Bruce Brower, Tulane University
Tom Christiano, University of Arizona
Richard Dagger, Arizona State University
Peter de Marneffe, Arizona State University
Christopher Eberle, Naval Academy
Andrew Lister, Queens University
S.A. Lloyd, University of Southern California
James Nickel, Arizona State University
Jonathan Quong, University of Manchester
Shaun Young, Carleton University
Steven Wall, Bowling Green State University
Please register if you plan to attend, by writing me at email@example.com. The Workshop is open to everyone who (1) reads the papers ahead of time and (2) attends all the sessions. There will be dinners on Friday the 16th and Saturday the 17th.
Thanks to the Arizona Philosophy Department for their financial assistance.