Political Philosophy

By In Ideas, Political Philosophy Comments (3)

Relational Egalitarianism and Politics

This is the second installment of PEA Soup’s partnership with Bleeding Heart Libertarians. In this series folks from BHL share their thoughts with Soup readers. This post is by Jessica Flanigan (University of Richmond).


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By In Featured Authors, Ideas, Political Philosophy Comments Off on New Book Forum: Republic of Equals (Guest Post by Alan Thomas)

New Book Forum: Republic of Equals (Guest Post by Alan Thomas)

[What follows is a post by Alan Thomas, presenting a central argument from his new book Republic of Equals (OUP), available here. Please feel free to join in on the discussion. Alan is from the UK, so don’t be thrown off by his alarmingly different spellings of “defense,” “characterized,” and “nationalized.”]


Republic of Equals: Pre-distribution and Property-Owning Democracy is the first book length defence of property owning democracy as part of a tradition of egalitarianism that could reasonably be called wealth, or asset, based (as opposed to income based). (Thomas, 2017) Asset based egalitarianism is not some exotic breed of egalitarianism with which we are familiar only at the level of theory: from Land Grant universities to the federal underwriting of educational loans, from the sale of nationalised industries back to the private sector at an undervalued price to spread share ownership; from the sale of public housing stock into the private sector to the current policy of quantitative easing; in all these cases, asset based policies have had a pervasive and deep impact on inequality. (Atkinson, 2015; Hockett, 2017) However, as a perusal of this list shows, these asset based policies have typically worsened, and not ameliorated, the extensive inequality that has come to characterise the affluent societies of the West in the period from 1970 to the present day. The argument of Republic of Equals is that egalitarians need to reverse this trend and formulate a normative basis for a set of policies that move beyond the orthodox resources of the redistributively funded welfare state.


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By In Announcements, Call For Papers, Political Philosophy Comments Off on CFP: PPE Society Panel on Policy Epistemology

CFP: PPE Society Panel on Policy Epistemology

The newly formed Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) Society is hosting its first annual conference from March 16th to March 19th,2017 in New Orleans. The conference contains a variety of panels, and we’re hosting one on policy epistemology. Policy epistemology concerns questions surrounding the ethics of belief and advocacy regarding public policy, especially with respect to those who formulate and implement policy. How much evidence does one require in order to justify an expansion of public health insurance? How high of an evidential bar must empirical evidence satisfy before it can justify legal restrictions, such as regulations on carbon emissions? How should we handle rational disputes about social scientific questions as they bear on public policy? For instance, how seriously should we take the fact that macroeconomic policy is the subject of enormous disputes between expert economists in formulating countercyclical policy? Does disagreement prevent government officials from implementing, say, Keynesian countercyclical economic policy?

If you would like to present at the PPE society on topics falling under the general heading of policy epistemology, I encourage you to submit an abstract of fewer than 250 words to me at kevinvallier@gmail.com before the end of the year, December 31st, 2016.

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