Political Theory

Liberty, Responsibility, and Intergenerational Justice


The conference explored from a variety of perspectives how the metaphysical, ethical, and political puzzles posed by relations across generations bear on the justification and sustainability of a society of free and responsible individuals.


Conference Readings

Letter from Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, September 6, 1789

Letter from James Madison to Thomas Jefferson, 4 February 1790.

Gossieres, Axel and Lukas H. Meyer, eds. Intergenerational Justice. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Buchanan, James M. The Collected Works of James M. Buchanan, Volume 14: Debt and Taxes. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, Inc., 2001.

Deese, Brian. “Paris Isn’t Burning.” Foreign Affairs (July/August 2017): 83-92.

Holmes, Stephen. Passions and Constraints. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995.

Kant, Immanuel. Political Writings (Second Enlarged Edition). Edited by Hans Reiss. Translated by H. B. Nisbet. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991.

Kavka, Gregory, “The Futurity Problem” In Responsibilities To Future Generations: Environmental Ethics, edited by Ernest Partridge, 109-122. Buffalo: Prometheus Books, 1981.

Kukathas, Chandran. “Responsibility for Past Injustices: How to Shift the Burden.” Politics, Philosophy and Economics 2, no. 2 (2003): 165-190.

Lomasky, Loren. “Fleecing the Young.” The Independent Review 21, no. 1 (2016): 5-28.

Nozick, Robert. Anarchy, State, and Utopia. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 1974.

Parfit, Derek. Reasons and Persons. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1984.

Posner, Eric. “Agencies Should Ignore Distant-Future Generations.” The University of Chicago Law Review 74, no. 139 (2007): 139-143.

Rawls, John. A Theory of Justice: Revised Edition. Cambridge: Belknap Press, 1999.

Simon, Julian. The Ultimate Resource 2. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996.

Solow, Robert. Sustainability and the Environment. Boston: W. W. Norton and Company, 2012.

Van Parijs, Philippe. “The Disfranchisement of the Elderly, and Other Attempts to Secure Intergenerational Justice.” Philosophy & Public Affairs 27, no. 4 (1999): 292-333.

Victor, David G. “Recovering Sustainable Development.” Foreign Affairs (January/February 2006): 1-6.