Thursday, January 21, 2010
* * *
January 19, 1756
To the Most Venerable Mr. Avenger,
I was about a Fortnight ago sitting by my Fire with a particular Friend of mine, whiling away a bitterly cold Winter’s Eve, when he related to me the following extraordinary Tale.
“There was once,” quoth my companion, “a certain Tribe or Troop of wild SCYTHIANS living in some distant Region on the Black Sea, a Place envelop’d in Cimmerian Darkness. It so happen’d one evening, that a Pig enter’d into one of their Dwelling-Houses. While the Beast was rooting about, the Building caught fire and burn’d to the Ground.
“Now,” continued he, “the following Day, when the People were picking their way through the still-smold’ring Ruins, they came upon the hot and steaming Carcass of the Pig. In the removing it, some of the People had their Fingers burnt, and in the effort to soothe the Pain, they lickt them. They thereby discover’d the succulent Relish afforded by roasted Pig, the Flesh of which Creature, until this Time, it was their Habit to eat raw.
“However, in their barbarous Minds, untutor’d as they were in any kind of Science, and not being dispos’d to connect particular Effects with more general Causes, they form’d the Resolution that whenever they were seized with a Craving for roasted Pig, a House shou’d be builded and burn’d for the Purpose.”
I express’d my Incredulity at this outlandish Story, thinking it much too absurd to be believ’d. “Have not all Men,” I asked my Friend, “enough common Sense to see that, however delicious roasted Pig might taste, it could not possibly be so good as to warrant such extravagant and prodigal Expenditure, especially amongst a People in so rudimentary a State of Oeconomy? To build and then to destroy a House simply to satisfy one’s fickle Palate was too onerous and expensive a Task to be worth the while, consuming as it wou’d the Labours of an entire Village, from the cutting down and transporting Trees, to the shaping and raising of Timbers. I cannot imagine any Circumstances under which such a Practice of roasting Pigs in burning Houses cou’d ever gain wide Acceptance, nor…”
“Ah! But there are Savages in the Woods of Canada,” interjected my Friend, “who wou’d happily throw all their worldly Possessions into the nearest Body of Water, thereby bankrupting and dooming their Village to Privation and Want for the entirety of the Year to follow, simply to satisfy the Demands of Honour when a neighbouring Tribe visits, for they will not suffer themselves to be outdone in having the Reputation of being the most lavish of Hosts.
“But if you do not care to believe such traveler’s Tales, and you still cannot, as you say, ‘imagine any Circumstances under which such a Practice cou’d gain wide Acceptance,’ simply imagine that a Priest has told them to do it, and has Fenced the Practice ‘round with every kind of solemn and ridiculous Rite, whilst convincing them that roasted Pig is a Gift from the very gods themselves, who will vent their Rage and Spleen upon the hapless People if they durst roast a Pig by some inferior and less costly Method.”
I confess he had confounded me here, for in very Truth there is no Depth a People will not plumb to smooth the ruffled Feathers of a Deity in high Dudgeon. The Fires of Religion have been stoked with many a burnt Offering, both Pig and Human. What I first received from my Friend as an amusing — though dubious — Anecdote, upon Reflection, gave me such a Chill as the blazing Fire beside us cou’d scarce banish.
I am, Sir, ever your Servant,
Jos. Darlington, Esq.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
I imagine that many readers will not like this post very much. It has been composed in a rather sceptical and contrarian spirit. I admit I’m not entirely happy with it myself. It contains some ideas I’ve been playing around with lately. I’m not wedded to these ideas, so I’m perfectly willing to be convinced by those who have a different point of view. I welcome comments.
In what follows, I will argue that although much of the existing distribution of goods is based on mere chance, it does not follow that one has no title to whatever one has received on that basis. Distributive justice bears no necessary relation — either positive or negative — to chance. I may be well-off due largely to good fortune, but that does not mean any injustice has been committed, and therefore my holdings are not illegitimate.
The fortunate rich are not necessarily bad people, any more than the unfortunate poor are necessarily good people, from the point of view of justice.
For probably longer than recorded history, humankind has had an ambivalent relationship with chance. We have used chance and chance processes as a source of enjoyment and entertainment (e.g. gambling, lotteries, Risk and Monopoly). It has also been a method resorted to when decisions must be made in an impartial manner, even at the cost of arbitrariness — for it seems that man is often more willing to take his chances with chance than to leave certain matters in the hands of partial human agents.
But this impartiality, this arbitrariness, of chance is also a source of our discomfort with it. For example, it is often argued by the more egalitarian-minded among liberal thinkers, that it is somehow wrong to gain a social or economic advantage by virtue of sheer luck. They believe that such advantages should ideally accrue to those who “deserve” it, on the basis of superior “merit”.
The devil of course is in the details. Each person seems to have her own notion of desert and merit. Marx equated desert with need. Other have equated it with talent, or industriousness, or piety, or noble birth, or… well, you get the idea.
Think of the various candidates for a job. Now here is a situation in which most of us believe that decision by roll of dice would be inappropriate. We like to think that superior talent or skill ought to hold sway. And yet, what happens when two candidates are, on paper, equally “qualified” (whatever that means in a particular case) for only one position? Well, then comes the interview. But many experts agree that a decision made in an interview is made within the first minute, which doesn’t sound like much time for a rational and considered reflection. In reality, it has much to do with how a candidate looks, how she presents herself, and how well-spoken she is, qualities which may have little to do with future job performance. Furthermore, much empirical work in social psychology indicates that there is no correlation between an interview assessment and subsequent job performance. Some studies go further and say there’s a negative correlation (i.e. a job interview is a worse predictor of job performance than rolling dice would be). Is it possible that the “human resources” industry is no better than a guild of astrologers in terms of its predictive expertise?
Those qualities which may make or break a job interviewee are also often the result of what seem to be rather arbitrary social processes. A person may have the correct accent to impress a potential boss because he was brought up in the right family, comes from the right social class, and attended the right school. In short, he was raised in fortunate circumstances. Fortuna imperatrix mundi.
Rawls on the Birth Lottery
It was partly on this basis that the great twentieth century political philosopher John Rawls presented his argument for a more egalitarian conception of distributive justice. In its unadulterated and most consistent form, the argument goes like this. Whatever advantages you have, you have because chance has favoured you with the right combination of looks, talents, natural dispositions, family background, etc. Those who have been most favoured by such circumstances have no right to claim any credit for the rewards they bring, any more than they can claim credit for a lucky roll of the dice. As such, the rewards are unmerited, based as they are on what philosophers like to call “moral luck”.
There are different kinds of moral luck. Sometimes it consists of simple freak accidents that drop money in one’s lap from the proverbial sky, as it were; you happened to be in the right place at the right time when some benefit was being distributed. More interestingly, there is what is called “constitutive” moral luck, where someone has been blessed with the right combination of natural dispositions, likes and dislikes, upbringing, and so on. I say that constitutive moral luck is more interesting because it often lurks in the background when we take credit for our good fortune as being based on superior talents, skills, virtues, character — in short, our superior merit. Much merit consists of constitutive good luck, and much demerit consists in bad constitutive moral luck.
According to Rawls’ argument, the better-off have simply been lucky winners in the lottery of birth. Because all rewards can ultimately be reduced to good fortune, they are unearned and unmerited, and therefore nobody has a right to anything. It is for this reason that his argument can countenance programs of large-scale redistribution. According to Rawls, an ideally just society would contain a rough equality, with such inequalities as exist being justified only if the worst-off are better off with those inequalities than they would be without them.
There have been objections offered against Rawls’ “birth lottery” argument. For example, is it right to say that someone who gains on the basis of some talent she has taken the trouble to develop and exercise is no more deserving of those gains than someone with the same natural endowments who has instead chosen to let those talents lie fallow?
(On the other hand, we should here beware of Friedrich Nietzsche’s wise dictum that “our vanity desires that what we do best should be considered what is hardest for us. Concerning the origin of many a morality.” See Beyond Good and Evil, §143.)
In another vein, it has been argued by some (Robert Nozick, for example) that Rawls’ account strips human agency of its active powers and moral dignity. It makes us all the hostages of fortune in a way that also seems to take away our nature as moral agents. Rawls had elsewhere argued, ironically, that humans have an inherent moral worth, and as such, they possess certain rights that are not to be sacrificed in the name of utility or the greater good. But his own birth lottery argument would seem to undercut this moral worth, sacrificing at least some of our rights by subjecting our goods to redistribution. It also allows us neither to take credit for achievements, nor to accept responsibility for our faults. We are simply passive carriers of morally arbitrary qualities and attributes. Such an account of human nature gives little for rights to lay hold of.
Most refutations of Rawls’ birth lottery argument take the approach of claiming that luck does not have such a large role to play in the distribution of goods and advantages. In what follows I will instead take a different course. I will present an argument for the following claims:
1. Chance does play a large role in the distribution of goods and advantages.
2. Distribution by chance is not an injustice.
3. Correcting the chance distribution, if done on a thorough and consistent basis, would actually create more injustice.
Honoré on Strict Liability
In fact, my argument is not really all that new; it’s rather an extension of an argument made by jurisprudent Tony Honoré in justification of the doctrine of strict liability in the common law. The argument appears in his Responsibility and Fault (Oxford: Hart Publishing, 1999), p. 25.
For those unfamiliar with it, strict liability is the idea that one is held legally liable for damages caused by one’s actions even where one would not normally be held morally responsible for them, for example, in cases where I had no reasonable way of knowing that my action might cause damage.
The problem for legal philosophers is how to justify this seemingly inequitable doctrine. Why should people be held legally responsible for what is in essence bad luck? (It’s not hard to see that this is the flip side of our previous problem, which was how to justify the benefits accruing to those who can take no credit for them.)
Honoré approaches the problem of strict liability by asking us to regard each of our actions as if they are gambles or wagers we voluntarily accept. The payoff of a successful wager is the achievement of whatever it is we set out to do in taking the action. But in doing so we must also assume the risk, however miniscule, that something, anything, may go wrong. Given the way the universe is, there is no such thing as a completely safe bet. So, if we lose, well, too bad so sad. The universe does not owe us its cooperation. That’s the principle underlying strict liability.
Now, here’s the interesting part of Honoré’s argument, at least insofar as it relates to our subject. When you gamble and lose in the casino of human agency, you must pay the house your losings in the same way that you accept your winnings. Just as I “take credit” when things go right, regardless of whether I’m responsible for things going right, I must “take credit” when things go wrong. I can’t pick and choose.
Moral Luck and Distributive Justice
How does Honoré’s notion extend to our broader subject of moral luck in distributive justice? Well, I know it will sound trite or downright callous, but here goes… If you are dealt a bad hand in the game of life, if you have been saddled with bad moral luck, constitutive or otherwise, you must accept that lot in the same way you presumably would accept it if things had gone the other way.
Now, I am not arguing that the poor always merit their poverty. As my argument thus far clearly states, it is often the case that the poor are poor by sheer bad luck (though probably not as often as Rawls and others on the left would like us to believe), just as it is often the case that the rich are rich through a certain amount of unmerited good luck (probably more often than those on the right would like to admit). Also, I am not arguing that nothing should ever be done to better the lot of the poor.
However, I am arguing that poverty due to bad moral luck is not an injustice, and that therefore the poor are not owed such help. Barring crime or other tangible malfeasance, the poor are not poor because someone else is rich. If someone is poor through bad luck, taking money from someone who is not responsible for that bad luck only compounds the evil by replacing bad luck with a real injustice. The net evil is the same because neither person merits the burden put upon them. In truth, the net evil is actually increased, because we have added injustice to misfortune.
Further, and more importantly, if I propose to make someone else bear the burden of my bad moral luck, I must for consistency’s sake also give to someone else the benefits of my good moral luck if and when things turn around. I cannot have my cake and eat it too.
(Incidentally, I think this is traditionally why in many moral traditions, helping the poor has been viewed as an “imperfect duty” — a good thing to do, but not required. After all, what virtue can there be in it when it is forced, or when it is done using other people’s money?)
We must also be careful in using words like “justice” and “injustice”. I believe it does violence to language and common sense to attribute justice and injustice to non-human entities like chance or nature (or elephants or poodles). The dog who bites me does not do me an injustice, though its owner might if he has failed to keep his vicious dog leashed. (There is perhaps one exception to this, for I suppose that God, if He existed, could be accused of gross injustice even though He is supposedly a non-human entity. After all, He would ultimately be responsible for everybody’s bad luck.)
To accuse a chance process of committing an injustice against me makes no more sense than to accuse a pair of dice of injustice for coming up snake eyes. To expect the universe to be fair is, well, infantile. Even where we speak of “fair” dice, we refer to the fact that they prefer neither one roll nor another.
Of course, that does not mean that if I am poor by misfortune I have to like the way things have turned out. I am not advocating here for amor fati. But I am not justified in forcing others — either directly, or less directly through the agency of the state — to relieve me of a burden for which no one is responsible. In those cases where some identifiable other is responsible for my burden, my rights may be vindicated by means of the law, whether criminal, tort, contract, etc. If the law is not robust enough or accessible enough to do this, then it must be strengthened and made more accessible.
It should be noted too that the argument still leaves fairly wide scope for implementing measures that will eliminate some of the predictable sources of bad constitutive moral luck. I suspect that this will be better achieved through more equal access to things like decent education, childcare, and nutrition than to building more prisons. Thus, I am not to be taken as offering an argument against the welfare state as such. I am only trying to get clear about its underlying justificatory principles.
However, if we are to have a welfare state, it cannot be based on resentment of the well-off, nor on high-flown but vague appeals to rights or “social justice” which often provide a convenient mask for such resentment. We must distinguish between moral luck, merit, and injustice. The distributive results of my moral luck (good or bad) are strictly unmerited, but because my moral luck is also not a matter of (in)justice, others cannot be forced to “correct” the results of that luck — it must only be with their consent. (The scare quotes represent my doubts about whether we can properly speak of correctness or incorrectness as applied to the concept of luck.)
So long as the consent proviso is met, a society may legitimately adopt whatever measures of welfare provision or redistribution it sees fit — though the wisdom of doing so is a different matter entirely.
(Perceptive readers might well ask themselves how stringent this consent proviso must be. Am I saying that there must be unanimous agreement to such measures? Am I saying that dissenters should be permitted to opt out? I admit that I don’t know. Like I said, I’m willing to be educated here.)
Also, ideally, it would be nice if the well-off had the humility not to walk too proudly upon the earth, and to reflect upon the extent to which they might merely be fortune’s favourites. They might then be more inclined to help the less fortunate without having to be forced to do it.
*****ADDENDUM (Feb. 5, 2010): I just came across the following passage from Friedrich Hayek which seems to anticipate Honoré’s (and my) argument by about twenty years. It is to be found in Hayek's Law, Legislation, and Liberty, Vol. 2: The Mirage of Social Justice (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1976), p. 94:
"It is precisely because in the cosmos of the market we all constantly receive benefits which we have not deserved in any moral sense that we are under an obligation also to accept equally undeserved diminutions of our incomes. Our only moral title to what the market gives us we have earned by submitting to those rules which makes [sic.] the formation of the market order possible. These rules imply that nobody is under an obligation to supply us with a particular income unless he has specifically contracted to do so."
Thursday, January 7, 2010
It is interesting because it is a theme that comes up recurrently in the writings of the Roman historians, a fact with which Graves was doubtless familiar. Indeed, Suetonius begins his account of the life and reign of the emperor Tiberius (full name: Tiberius Claudius Nero) with a mini-history of the clan’s colorful members. There were actually two main branches of the gens Claudia, one patrician and one plebeian. Because the plebeians seem mostly to have been a pretty decent lot, the line in I, Claudius mainly refers to the patrician Claudii. Although there were some decent Claudians among these as well, I’ll mostly be examining the bad apples, of which there were a disproportionate number in the barrel.
The gens Claudia was founded by a man named Attus Clausus, a wealthy nobleman from the Sabine town of Inregillus. Rome was at war with Inregillensis, a war which, for reasons somewhat obscure, Attus Clausis could not support. So around 501 BC he packed up his household and his large number of clients and retainers, and he moved to Rome. For reasons which are also obscure, the Romans welcomed him with open arms, made him a citizen, assigning him land to settle on, and even admitting him to the patrician class and making him consul in 495 BC. In Rome his name was Latinized as Appius Claudius.
Thus, we could say that, if he was not necessarily a bad man, the first Roman Claudius was at least a contrarian and rebel. Livy says he was “harsh by nature” and “loved tyranny”. He took a hard line against the plebeians in a debt crisis, precipitating the latter’s first secession from the state, and initiating the long “Struggle of the Orders” between plebeians and patricians.
Appius’ son, also named Appius (indeed, “Appius” was a first name used almost exclusively by the Claudians) also clearly displayed the family’s subsequent reputation for arrogance. According to Livy, during an incident in the struggles between the patricians and plebeians, while other nobles were for finding some kind of compromise, the younger Appius, the consul of 471 BC, “a headstrong man, was for settling the matter by the exercise of consular authority” (“consular authority” here should be read as a euphemism for breaking a few heads). As a general, his discipline was so harsh that his soldiers began a campaign of passive resistance against him. He was the first general to decimate a Roman army, putting every tenth man to death as punishment for fleeing the enemy. He reputedly “hated the people more than his father had done.”
This Appius had a son, Appius Claudius Crassus (Crassus = "fat"), who earned the further nickname “the Decemvir” because he was among the committee of ten men charged with codifying the laws of Rome. This codification was the famous Twelve Tables of 450 BC. Unfortunately, this Appius was reluctant to give up his power after his year in office was over, and seemed to have designs for tyrannical power. Furthermore, he seems to have developed an uncontrollable lust for Verginia, the daughter of a centurion, who was betrothed to a tribune of the plebs. He had one of his clients try to claim her as his slave in court. To cut a longish story short, Verginius, the girl’s father, stabbed his daughter to death in the forum, the only way he felt he could prevent her from being dishonoured by Appius. The people were enraged and, depending on the account, they either murdered Appius, or he committed suicide before they had the opportunity.
A few generations later there was Appius Claudius Caecus (Caecus = “the blind”), consul in 307 BC and 296 BC, and dictator in 292 BC and 285 BC. He was in many ways quite a respected figure, mostly for his instrumental role in spearheading Roman resistance to the invasion of Pyrrhus of Epirus. Unfortunately, he did possess the characteristic Claudian arrogant streak. He had a road (the famous Appian Way) and an aqueduct built, naming them both after himself, thereby becoming the first Roman to do so. As censor, he removed the care of the cult of Hercules from the patrician Potitii and Pinarii clans, and put it in the hands of public slaves. For this act of impiety, the angry god extinguished the two clans for allowing the transfer, and struck Caecus with blindness. Also, Caecus angered the patrician class for having his secretary, a freedman, publish the legis actiones (the list of legal actions), previously kept as the secret knowledge of the priests. In addition, he made that same freedman a senator.
Caecus’ son (or grandson?) was Appius Claudius Caudex (Caudex = “blockhead” or “idiot”). I have been unable to find an explanation for his unfortunate nickname, as his generalship seems to have been exemplary. However, I am tempted to group him with the bad apples because of it. A case can be made for this, as his actions were partly responsible for involving Rome in the First Punic War.
The brother of Caudex was Publius Claudius Pulcher (Pulcher = “pretty boy”). He was consul in 249 BC and was put in charge of the Roman fleet during the First Punic War. He ignored the omens before the battle of Drepana; when the sacred chickens refused to eat, he threw them overboard, saying, “Since they refuse to eat, let them drink.” He lost the battle, along with almost the entire fleet. He later committed suicide after charges were brought against him for impiety and incompetence.
From then until the first century, the Claudians seem to be less controversial, their natural tendency towards psychopathy not really resurfacing until Publius Clodius Pulcher. This Pulcher adopted populist tactics to achieve power. Because he was a patrician he was barred from becoming tribune of the plebs, so he had himself adopted into a plebeian family and changed his surname to Clodius (reflecting the plebeian pronunciation). He ingratiated himself into the affections of the mob by instituting a grain dole. He became infamous for having snuck into a ceremony honouring the Bona Dea (“Good Goddess”), being held by Pompeia, wife of Gaius Julius Caesar in 62 BC. It was an event open to women only, but Clodius entered dressed as a woman. He was discovered, precipitating the divorce of Caesar from his wife. Clodius meanwhile, perjured himself in court over the affair, in order to escape prosecution.
After this Clodius became more dangerous and desperate in his political tactics, resorting to the recruitment of an army of street thugs to intimidate his enemies, two of whom were Cicero and Titus Annius Milo. This gave rise to a bad precedent, as others started to do the same. Clodius was himself beaten to death by the hired thugs of Milo in 53 BC.
His sister Clodia was almost as notorious. She was the famous “Lesbia” of Catullus’ poems. It is rumored that she poisoned her husband; whether she did it or not, she certainly didn’t let widowhood cramp her style. Besides Catullus, her many lovers may even have included her brother. (Incidentally, this would not be the last time such a disgrace occurred among the Claudii — Caligula too slept with his sisters, and of course, the Emperor Claudius notoriously married his niece.)
During the Imperial period, the Claudian tree seemingly begins to drop even worse fruit, and much more of it. Here one need only reflect upon conduct of the emperors Tiberius, Caligula, and Nero. Perhaps it had to do with the possession or allure of absolute power. Perhaps it had to do with the fact that generations of cousin marriage meant that the Claudian tree no longer forked. In any case, the Claudii effectively ended up extinguishing their own line through intra-familial murder (thus making my own family's relations seem peaceful by comparison). But for this Imperial history, I recommend watching I, Claudius.
Friday, January 1, 2010
ABRAMSON, Jeffrey. Minerva’s Owl: The Tradition of Western Political Thought. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009.
APPIAH, Kwame Anthony. Experiments in Ethics. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008.
AXELROD, Robert. The Evolution of Cooperation (Revised Edition). New York: Basic Books, 2006.
BIRKS, Peter. Unjust Enrichment. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.
BLACKSTONE, William. Commentaries on the Laws of England (Vol. III). Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1768 (facsimile, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979).
BOSWELL, James. Life of Samuel Johnson. R. W. Chapman (ed.). London: Oxford University Press, 1976.
BRANDT, Richard B. A Theory of the Good and the Right. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1979.
CAENEGEM, R. C. van. An Historical Introduction to Private Law. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992.
CLARK, Stephen R. L. Aristotle’s Man: Speculations upon Aristotelian Anthropology. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975.
COLLINGWOOD, R. G. The Principles of History and Other Writings in Philosophy of History. W. H. Dray and W. J. van der Dussen (eds.). Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.
CROSS, Rupert. Precedent in English Law (3rd edition). Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1977.
DASGUPTA, Partha. An Inquiry into Well-Being and Destitution. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993.
DAWKINS, Richard. The Selfish Gene. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.
DUNCAN-JONES, Austin. Butler’s Moral Philosophy. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1952.
DYER, Christopher. An Age of Transition? Economy and Society in England in the Later Middle Ages. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2005.
EGGERS, Dave. You Shall Know Our Velocity. San Francisco: McSweeney’s, 2002.
ELSTER, Jon. Sour Grapes: Studies in the Subversion of Rationality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983.
FESER, Edward (ed.). The Cambridge Companion to Hayek. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.
FIELD, Ophelia. The Kit-Cat Club. London: Harper Collins, 2009.
FINN, Daniel K. The Moral Ecology of Markets: Assessing Claims about Markets and Justice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.
FINNIS, John, Joseph M. BOYLE, and Germain GRISEZ. Nuclear Deterrence, Morality and Realism. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987.
FITZGERALD, F. Scott. Flappers and Philosophers, in Novels and Stories, 1920-1922. New York: Library of America, 2000.
FLEMING, John G. An Introduction to the Law of Torts. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1967.
FORGUSON, Lynd. Common Sense. London: Routledge, 1989.
FRANCK, Thomas M. The Empowered Self: Law and Society in the Age of Individualism. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.
FRANK, Robert H. What Price the Moral High Ground? Ethical Dilemmas in Competitive Environments. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2004.
FRIEDMAN, Milton. Capitalism and Freedom. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962.
FUSSELL, Paul. The Rhetorical World of Augustan Humanism: Ethics and Imagery from Swift to Burke. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1965.
GLOVER, Jonathan. Humanity: A Moral History of the Twentieth Century. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2000.
HAMPSHIRE, Stuart. Two Theories of Morality. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1977.
HARDIN, Russell. Liberalism, Constitutionalism, and Democracy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.
HAYEK, Friedrich A. Law, Legislation and Liberty, Vol. 1: Rules and Order. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979.
HAYEK, Friedrich A. Law, Legislation and Liberty, Volume 2: The Mirage of Social Justice. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1976.
HAYEK, Friedrich A. Law, Legislation and Liberty, Vol. 3: The Political Order of a Free People. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979.
HAYEK, Friedrich A. The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988.
HAYEK, Friedrich A. A Tiger by the Tail: A 40-Years’ Running Commentary on Keynsianism. Sudha R. Shenoy (ed.). London: Institute of Economic Affairs, 1972.
HAYEK, Friedrich A. The Road to Serfdom: Text and Documents. Bruce Caldwell (ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007.
HOGUE, Arthur R. Origins of the Common Law. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1986.
HOMER. Iliad (Vol. II). A. T. Murray (trans.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999.
HOWARD, A. E. Dick (ed.). Magna Carta: Text and Commentary. Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia, 1998.
JOHNSON, Conrad D. Moral Legislation: A Legal-Political Model for Indirect Consequentialist Reasoning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991.
JOHNSON, Samuel. Selected Essays. London: Penguin, 2003.
JOHNSON, Samuel. The Works of Samuel Johnson (Vol. I). London: F. C. and J. Rivington et al, 1823.
JOHNSON, Samuel. The Works of Samuel Johnson (Vol. IV). London: F. C. and J. Rivington et al, 1823.
JOHNSON, Samuel. The Works of Samuel Johnson (Vol. V). London: F. C. and J. Rivington et al, 1823.
JOHNSON, Samuel. The Works of Samuel Johnson (Vol. VI). London: F. C. and J. Rivington et al, 1823.
JOHNSON, Samuel. The Works of Samuel Johnson (Vol. X). London: F. C. and J. Rivington et al, 1823.
JOHNSTON, David. Roman Law in Context. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999.
JORDAN, Jeff. Pascal’s Wager. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2006.
KLOSKO, George. The Development of Plato’s Political Theory (2nd edition). Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.
LINDSAY, Ronald A. Future Bioethics: Overcoming Taboos, Myths, and Dogmas. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2008.
LIVY. History of Rome (Vol. I). B. O. Foster (trans.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002.
LIVY. History of Rome (Vol. II). B. O. Foster (trans.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002.
LOCKE, John. A Letter Concerning Toleration. William Popple (trans.). Indianapolis: Hackett, 1983.
LUCAS, J. R. On Justice. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1980.
LUCRETIUS. De Rerum Natura. W. H. D. Rouse (trans.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002.
LYONS, David. In the Interest of the Governed: A Study in Bentham’s Philosophy of Utility and Law. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1973.
MACCORMICK, Neil. Legal Right and Social Democracy. Oxford: Clarendon University Press, 1982.
MACHIAVELLI, Niccolò. Selected Political Writings. Indianapolis. Hackett, 1994.
MARX, Karl and Frederick ENGELS. The Communist Manifesto: A Modern Edition. London: Verso, 1998.
MENAND, Louis. The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2001.
MILLER, David. Social Justice. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1976.
MISES, Ludwig von. Bureaucracy. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2007.
MISES, Ludwig von. Liberalism: The Classical Tradition. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2005.
MORE, Thomas. Utopia. Ralph Robynson (trans.). Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1936.
NAGEL, Thomas. Mortal Questions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979.
NOZICK, Robert. Anarchy, State, and Utopia. New York: Basic Books, 1974.
OTTESON, James R. Actual Ethics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.
PLUCKNETT, Theodore F. T. A Concise History of the Common Law. Rochester, NY: The Lawyers Co-operative Publishing Company, 1929.
REID, Thomas. The Philosophical Orations of Thomas Reid. Shirley Darcus Sullivan (trans.). Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 1989.
RIPSTEIN, Arthur. Force and Freedom: Kant’s Legal and Political Philosophy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009.
SANDEL, Michael J. Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do? New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009.
SCHAUER, Frederick. Thinking like a Lawyer: A New Introduction to Legal Reasoning. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009.
SCHELLING, Thomas C. Strategies of Commitment and Other Essays. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006.
SCHMITT, Carl. The Concept of the Political. George Schwab (trans.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996.
SEN, Amartya. The Idea of Justice. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009.
SENECA. Epistles, Vol. III (93-124). Richard M. Gummere (trans.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000.
SENECA. Moral Essays (Vol. I). John W. Basore (trans.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003.
SHAFTESBURY, Anthony Ashley Cooper. 3rd Earl of. Characteristicks of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times (Vol. I). Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2001.
SHAFTESBURY, Anthony Ashley Cooper. 3rd Earl of. Characteristicks of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times (Vol. II). Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2001.
SIMPSON, A. W. B. An Introduction to the History of the Land Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1961.
SMITH, Adam. The Theory of Moral Sentiments. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1982.
SMITH, Stephen A. Atiyah’s Introduction to the Law of Contract (6th edition). Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2005.
STEPHEN, Sir James Fitzjames. Liberty, Equality, Fraternity. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1993.
TACITUS. Agricola, Germania, Dialogus. M. Hutton and W. Peterson (trans.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000.
TAINTER, Joseph A. The Collapse of Complex Societies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988.
TAYLOR, Gabriele. Deadly Vices. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2006.
TOMALIN, Claire. Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self. London: Viking, 2002.
TRENCHARD, John and Thomas GORDON. Cato’s Letters: or, Essays on Liberty, Civil and Religious (Vol. I). London: J. Walthoe et al, 1755.
VAN INWAGEN, Peter. The Problem of Evil. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2006.
WIGGINS, David. Ethics: Twelve Lectures on the Philosophy of Morality. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006.
WITTGENSTEIN, Ludwig. Remarks on Frazer’s “Golden Bough”. A. C. Miles (trans.). Retford, Nottinghamshire: Brynmill Press, 1979.
YAFFE, Gideon. Manifest Activity: Thomas Reid’s Theory of Action. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2004.