Political Theory

The Scope of the State


This colloquium examined and contrasted views of the proper scope and authority of the state through readings presenting two major contrasting views: those that regard the state as directed primarily to protect the life and property of its citizens, and those that regard the state as radically failing if it does not seek to protect the dignity and realize the social welfare of its citizens, all along guided by a background vision of justice that requires the protection of material claim rights.


Conference Readings

Acton, John Emerich Edward Dalberg. Selected Writings of Lord Acton, Volume I: Essays in the History of Liberty. Edited by J. Rufus Fears. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1985.

de Jasay, Anthony. The State. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1998.

Dworkin, Ronald. Sovereign Virtue: The Theory and Practice of Equality. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2000.

Kant, Immanuel. The Metaphysics of Morals. Edited by Mary Gregor. Translated by Mary Gregor. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

Locke, John. Second Treatise of Government. Edited by C. B. Macpherson. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1980.

Nozick, Robert. Anarchy, State, and Utopia. New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1974.

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