Freedom, Domination, and Slavery (PHIL 390.001)

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Instructor: Bernard Boxill. This course meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:00 – 3:15 p.m. in Caldwell 103.

We will start with some of the classic and contemporary discussion of the nature, value, and varieties of freedom. (or liberty). One kind of freedom, republican freedom, is said to be the absence of domination. This takes us to some of the classic and contemporary discussions of domination. Finally slavery. The American revolutionaries often declared that their revolution was justified because they were slaves. Critics were outraged. Others thought that the revolutionaries talk was rhetoric, but permissible. Still others thought that the revolutionaries were right. We’ll end up with a discussion of that issue, concluding I dare to predict that they were wrong. How exactly does slavery differ from domination? The main readings will come from J.S. Mill, Isaiah Berlin, Phillip Pettit, Thomas Hobbes, and Frederick Douglass.

Bernard Boxill’s webpage