Publications

Public Reason in Political Philosophy                
Public Reason in Political Philosophy cover
Edited by Piers Norris Turner and Gerald Gaus
Published: 2018

From the Publisher:
When people of good faith and sound mind disagree deeply about moral, religious, and other philosophical matters, how can we justify political institutions to all of them? The idea of public reason―of a shared public standard, despite disagreement―arose in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in the work of Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and Kant. At a time when John Rawls’ influential theory of public reason has come under fire but its core idea remains attractive to many, it is important not to lose sight of earlier philosophers’ answers to the problem of private conflict through public reason.

The distinctive selections from the great social contract theorists in this volume emphasize the pervasive theme of... read more

Oxford Handbook of Freedom                
Cover of The Oxford Handbook of Freedom
David Schmidtz and Carmen Pavel (editors)
Published: 2018

From the publisher:

We speak of being 'free' to speak our minds, free to go to college, free to move about; we can be cancer-free, debt-free, worry-free, or free from doubt. The concept of freedom (and relatedly the notion of liberty) is ubiquitous but not everyone agrees what the term means, and the philosophical analysis of freedom that has grown over the last two decades has revealed it to be a complex notion whose meaning is dependent on the context. The Oxford Handbook of Freedom will crystallize this work and craft the first wide-ranging analysis of freedom in all its dimensions: legal, cultural, religious, economic, political, and psychological. This volume includes 28 new essays by well regarded philosophers, as well some historians and political theorists, in order to... read more

Philosophy: Environmental Ethics                
Philosophy: Environmental Ethics
David Schmidtz (editor)
Published: 2017

Philosophy: Environmental Ethics is composed of twelve chapters covering such topics as population, novel ecosystem, geoengineering, climate change, animal ethics, conciliation, and extinction. The use of film, literature, art, case studies, and other disciplines or situations/events provide illustrations of human experiences which work as gateways to questions philosophers try to address. Chapters are written by eminent scholars, are peer-reviewed, and offer bibliographies to encourage further exploration. Photos and line art help illuminate the text. The volume concludes with a glossary and a comprehensive index.

Tyranny of the Ideal                
Gerald Gaus
Published: 2016

In The Tyranny of the Ideal, Gerald Gaus lays out a vision for how we should theorize about justice in a diverse society. Gaus shows how free and equal people, faced with intractable struggles and irreconcilable conflicts, might share a common moral life shaped by a just framework. He argues that if we are to take diversity seriously and if moral inquiry is sincere about shaping the world, then the pursuit of idealized and perfect theories of justice—essentially, the entire production of theories of justice that has dominated political philosophy for the past forty years—needs to change.

... read more
Rational Choice and Moral Agency: 2015                
Cover of Rational Choice and Moral Agency: 2015
David Schmidtz
Published: 2015

"Is it rational to be moral? How do rationality and morality fit together with being human? These questions are at the heart of David Schmidtz's exploration of the connections between rationality and morality. This inquiry leads into both metaethics and rational choice theory, as Schmidtz develops conceptions of what it is to be moral and what it is to be rational. He defends a fairly expansive conception of rational choice, considering how ends as well as means can be rationally chosen and explaining the role of self-imposed constraints in a rational life plan. His moral theory is dualistic, ranging over social structure as well as personal conduct and building both individual and collective rationality into its rules of recognition for morals.

To the "why be moral" question,... read more

Environmental Ethics: What Really Matters, What Really Works                
Cover of Environmental Ethics: What Really Matters, What Really Works
David Schmidtz with Elizabeth Willott
Published: 2012

"Extensively revised and expanded in this second edition, Environmental Ethics: What Really Matters, What Really Works examines morality from an environmental perspective. Featuring seventy-one accessible selections--from classic articles to examples of cutting-edge original research--it addresses both theory and practice. Asking what really matters, the first section of the book explores the abstract ideas of human value and value in nature. The second section turns to the question of what it would take to solve our real-world environmental problems. Moving beyond the "hype," it presents authoritative essays on applying environmental ethics to the issues that matter right now. The book is enhanced by chapter introductions ("Questions for Reflection and Discussion") that offer brief... read more

The Order of Public Reason: A Theory of Freedom and Morality in a Diverse and Bounded World                
Gerald Gaus
Published: 2011

"In this innovative and important work, Gerald Gaus advances a revised, and more realistic, account of public reason liberalism, showing how, in the midst of fundamental disagreement about values and moral beliefs, we can achieve a moral and political order that treats all as free and equal moral persons. The first part of this work analyzes social morality as a system of authoritative moral rules. Drawing on an earlier generation of moral philosophers such as Kurt Baier and Peter Strawson as well as current work in the social sciences, Gaus argues that our social morality is an evolved social fact, which is the necessary foundation of a mutually beneficial social order. The second part considers how... read more

Essays on Philosophy, Politics and Economics: Integration & Common Research Projects                
Christi Favor, Gerald Gaus and Julian Lamont (editors)
Published: 2010

"This volume brings together distinguished philosophers with interdisciplinary expertise to show how the resources of philosophy can be employed in the tasks of evaluating economics and fostering policy debates. Contributors offer analyses of basic ideas in economics, such as the notion of efficiency, "economic man", incentives, self-interest, and utility maximization. They discuss key concepts in political theory such as desert, compensation, autonomy, equality, consent or fairness. The book then offers examples of how philosophical resources can be applied to specific, timely debates, such as discrimination, affirmative action, and ethical considerations in Social Security. These applications demonstrate how philosophy, politics, and economics can be fruitfully combined, while the... read more

A Brief History of Liberty                
Cover of A Brief History of Liberty
David Schmidtz with Jason Brennan
Published: 2010

"Using a fusion of philosophical, social scientific, and historical methods, -- A Brief History of Liberty -- offers a succinct survey of pivotal moments in the evolution of personal freedom, drawing on key historical figures from John Knox and Martin Luther to Karl Marx and Adam Smith to Roger Williams and Thurgood Marshall. The authors examine how past (if incomplete) successes in the struggle for liberty have led many of us to liberty's "last frontier": internal psychological obstacles to our being as autonomous as we would like to be. Readers are encouraged to reflect on their own concepts of personal freedom -- what it is, where it comes from, why they have it, and what it has done for them." (davidschmidtz.com)

Creating Wealth: Ethical and Economic Perspectives                
Cover of Creating Wealth
David Schmidtz and John Thrasher (Editors)
Published: 2010

"Creating Wealth: Ethical and Economic Perspectives is a collection of classic and contemporary economic and philosophical readings that explore these questions: How do agents in the marketplace manage to cooperate? When does such cooperation make the world a better place? What do agents in the marketplace need to do in order to succeed? What do they need to do to deserve to succeed? This text includes an introduction by the co-editor, David Schmidtz, which gives readers a nontechnical overview of an ethical framework for evaluating both market behavior and market institutions. This is an ideal reader for classes in political philosophy, business ethics, ethics and economics, or contemporary moral problems." (... read more

Pages