On Campus | Alumni
Abstract: Contemporary political discourse assumes a deep tension between the ideals of freedom and equality. The history of egalitarian social movements from the Levellers on tells a different story. From the start, egalitarians described the social hierarchies to which they objected, such as aristocracy, absolute monarchy, patriarchal marriage, and wage labor, as forms of slavery. Slavery supplies the root metaphor connecting the ideals of freedom and equality. The metaphor has led in different directions depending on how the core objection to slavery was articulated. One identifies the injustice of slavery as subjection to the arbitrary will of another. Another identifies it with deprivation of the fruits of one's labor. The first preserves a deep unity between freedom and equality. The second has been turned against egalitarians. This lecture will explore both paths by reconsidering the questions raised in post-emancipation societies and how the freed people themselves answered them.
Elizabeth Anderson is the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and John Rawls Collegiate Professor of Philosophy and Women's Studies at University of Michigan. She teaches courses in ethics, social and political philosophy, philosophy of the social sciences, and feminist theory. Within these fields, her research focuses on democratic theory, equality in political philosophy and American law, racial integration, the ethical limits of markets, theories of value and rational choice, the philosophies of John Stuart Mill and John Dewey, and feminist epistemology and philosophy of science. Anderson is currently working on the history of egalitarianism.
A follow up discussion will be held on Friday, May 10 at 12:00pm.
Sponsor: Center for Ethics in Society
Audience: General Public
Free and open to the public.