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Philosophy Seminar with Roderick Long

June 26 - July 3 2006

Mises Institute, Auburn, Alabama

Roderick T. Long is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Auburn University; Editor of the Journal of Libertarian Studies ; President of the Molinari Institute; Adjunct Scholar of the Ludwig von Mises Institute; and author of Reason and Value: Aristotle versus Rand and the forthcoming Wittgenstein, Austrian Economics, and the Logic of Action. He received his Ph.D. from Cornell in 1992, and blogs at Praxeology.net.

This seminar on praxeological foundations of libertarian ethics will consist of two primary lectures per day for five days, June 26-30, 2006, and includes discussion time with the professor.  Morning sessions are 10:00 - 11:30 Central Time, and afternoon sessions are 2:00 - 3:30, Monday through Friday, with a pizza party following Friday's closing session.  The shuttle will pick up from the front of Commons Dorm each morning at 9:30 a.m. going to the Mises Institute, and leave the Institute on Monday and Wednesday at 4:00 going to the dorm.  On Tuesday and Thursday the shuttle will depart the Institute after the last lecture and on Friday after the pizza party.


On the one hand, the subjective-value approach to economics characteristic of the Austrian school might seem inhospitable to objective theories of ethical value. Yet on the other hand, philosophers like Socrates, Aristotle, and Aquinas based their objective conceptions of ethics on something rather like a praxeological analysis of subjective valuation; indeed, subjectivist economics and natural law ethics both originated from this common tradition. Can an objective ethics in a broadly Aristotelian tradition be grounded in praxeological considerations? And if so, what shape might a radical libertarian political theory take if built on such foundations?

The first half of the seminar will deal with the praxeological foundations of ethics. Topics include: do human beings have an ultimate end? can we knowingly choose the bad? how are morality and self-interest related? why should we care about other people's interests?

For a preview of the sorts of issues to be addressed, listen to this lecture: Economics and its Ethical Assumptions .

The second half of the seminar will explore the implications of praxeological, Aristotelean ethics for such issues as property rights, contracts, land ownership, punishment and restitution, military policy, stateless legal systems, utilitarian vs. rights-based considerations, and the cultural preconditions of liberty.




I. From Praxeology to Ethics

1. Objective and Subjective Value [day 1, morning]
2. The Praxeological Case for an Ultimate End [day 1, afternoon]
3. Free Will: Two Paradoxes of Choice [day 2, morning]
4. The Moral Standpoint [day 2, afternoon]
5. An Aristotelian Ethics of Virtue [day 3, morning]

II. From Ethics to Liberty

6. Justice, Rights, and Consequences [day 3, afternoon]
7. Property, Land, Contract [day 4, morning]
8. Punishment and War [day 4, afternoon]
9. Culture and Liberty [day 5, morning]
10. An Anarchist Legal Order [day 5, afternoon]

Special Guest Lectures
"Narveson's Theory of Ethics," David Gordon, Tuesday, June 27, 4:00 - 5:00 p.m.
"Nozick's Argument for the Minimal State," David Gordon, Thursday, June 29, 4:00 - 5:00 p.m.



1. Objective and Subjective Value

Plato: Eryxias
Roderick T. Long: Economics and Its Ethical Assumptions [mp3 audio]

2. The Praxeological Case for an Ultimate End

Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics, Book I
Roderick T. Long: Review of Leland Yeager's Ethics As Social Science

3. Free Will: Two Paradoxes of Choice

Plato: Hipparchus
George Schlesinger: The Unpredictability of Free Choices

4. The Moral Standpoint

Christine Korsgaard: "The Reasons We Can Share: An Attack on the Distinction Between Agent-Relative and Agent-Neutral Values." (Social Philosophy and Policy vol. 10, no. 1 (Winter 1993), pp.24-51; also available as a chapter in her book Sources of Normativity )

5. An Aristotelian Ethics of Virtue

Cicero: On Moral Duties, Book I
Henry B. Veatch: Natural Law: Dead Or Alive?
Roderick T. Long: Archetypes vs. Agency

Michael Thompson:
The Representation of Life

6. Justice and Rights

Roderick T. Long: The Nature of Law, Part IV: The Basis of Natural Law
Roderick T. Long: Why Does Justice Have Good Consequences?

7. Property, Land, Contract

Murray Rothbard: Property Rights and the Theory of Contracts
Randy E. Barnett: Contract Remedies and Inalienable Rights
Roderick T. Long: Slavery Contracts and Inalienable Rights
Roderick T. Long: A Plea for Public Property

8. Punishment and War

Murray N. Rothbard: War, Peace, and the State
Randy E. Barnett: Restitution: A New Paradigm of Criminal Justice
Roderick T. Long: Punishment v. Restitution
Roderick T. Long: Thinking Our Anger
Roderick T. Long: "The Irrelevance of Responsibility" (Social Philosophy and Policy vol. 16, no. 2 (Summer 1999), pp.118-145 -- available online soon.)

9. Culture and Liberty

Chris Matthew Sciabarra: Dialectics and Liberty
Roderick T. Long & Charles W. Johnson: Libertarian Feminism: Can This Marriage Be Saved?

10. An Anarchist Legal Order

Alfred Cuzan: Do We Ever Really Get Out of Anarchy?
Roderick T. Long: Anarchism as Constitutionalism: A Reply to Bidinotto, Part 1 , Part 2 , Part 3 .

The Seminar is open to full-time students (no charge for qualifying students). Registration is $125 for Mises Institute Members (click HERE to join, or to update your membership) and faculty, and $195 for non-Members. Registration includes daily boxed lunches, refreshment breaks, closing pizza party, transportation between the dorm and the Institute each day, and the use of Mises Institute research libraries and computers. You may register online . Dormitory rooms are available for $35 per person per night double-occupancy or $45 per night single-occupancy. For other Auburn accommodations, go here. For Atlanta-Auburn airport shuttles, see Express85.

Students may apply for tuition scholarships by submitting the online application form along with a copy of student ID and an informal transcript copy. A limited number of travel scholarships are available. This information can be mailed to Long Scholarship Committee, Mises Institute, 518 West Magnolia Avenue, Auburn, Alabama 36832, or faxed to 734-448-8148, or emailed to pat@mises.org.

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