Thursday, February 11, 2010
New book on the History of Liberty
A Brief History of Liberty
by David Schmidtz & Jason Brennan
(Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 280 pp.
Through a fusion of philosophical, social scientific, and historical methods, "A Brief History of Liberty" provides a comprehensive, philosophically-informed portrait of the elusive nature of one of our most cherished ideals.
Liberty' appears to a refer to a cluster of related things. This work of avowedly non-ideal theory examines what institutions have tended to promote or demote different kinds of liberty and determine what good that has done for people.
Introduction: Conceptions of Freedom [preview]
1. A Prehistory of Liberty: Forty Thousand Years Ago
2. The Rule of Law: 1075 C.E.
3. Religious Freedom: 1517
4. Freedom of Commerce: 1776
5. Civil Liberty: 1954
6. Psychological Freedom, The Last Frontier: 1963
David Schmidtz is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Arizona.
Jason Brennan is Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Research, at Brown University.