Free Thoughts
Free Thoughts
A weekly show about politics and liberty, featuring conversations with top scholars, philosophers, historians, economists, and public policy experts. Hosted by Aaron Ross Powell and Trevor Burrus. See for privacy and opt-out information.
The Property Species (with Bart Wilson)
Bart J. Wilson explores how humans acquire, perceive, and know the custom of property, and why this might be relevant to understanding how property works in the twenty-first century.What is experimental economics? How does property work? What chaos ensues when property rights do not exist? See for privacy and opt-out information.
Nov 27
46 min
The Conservative Liberalism of Burke, Smith, and Hume (with Dan Klein)
Daniel Klein explains how on regular issues of policy reform—presupposing a stable integrated polity— Hume, Smith, and Burke were liberal in the original political meaning of “liberal.” Thus, on policy reform, although they accorded the status quo a certain presumption (as any reasonable person must), the more distinctive feature is that they maintained (even propounded, most plainly in Smith’s case) a presumption of liberty in matters of policy reform.How are Hume, Smith, and Burke similar? How did Burke, Hume, and Smith interact? What is the difference between polity and policy? See for privacy and opt-out information.
Nov 20
50 min
The Art of Gender (with Jason Kuznicki)
Jason Kuznicki describes two common theories of gender, both of which have viable critiques. He goes on to describe a theory of gender that is neither essentialist nor constructivist, but something else entirely – a liberal and individualist account of gender.What is the difference between sex and gender? What’s an essentialist account of gender? What’s a constructionist account of gender? See for privacy and opt-out information.
Nov 13
45 min
The Ethics of Capitalism (with John Thrasher)
John Thrasher discusses a framework for comparing the economic systems of capitalism, feudalism, and socialism, and their roles in a range of contemporary issues, such as climate change, competitive consumption, unemployment, taxation, social inequality, global trade, and intrusion of markets into taboo areas.Why do people dislike capitalism? Why did people think capitalism was a good idea to begin with? What is the difference of capitalism and free markets? See for privacy and opt-out information.
Nov 6
54 min
The Politics of Genetic Enhancement (with Jonathan Anomaly)
Jonathan Anomaly takes seriously the diversity of preferences parents have, and the limits of public policy in regulating what could soon be a global market for reproductive technology. He argues that once embryo selection for complex traits happens it will change the moral landscape by altering the incentives parents face.What will happen in the next 10-20 years with CRISPR? What is embryo selection? Is there a way to enhance morality genetically? Should there be mandatory enhancements? See for privacy and opt-out information.
Oct 30
51 min
The Free Spirits of Liberalism (with Steven Pittz)
Steven Pittz defines what a free spirit is in addition to detailing how liberalism affects our ability to connect to our spirituality. Some argue that liberalism has detached us from a sense of meaning, but is that true?Has liberalism made us detached from spiritualism? What is spiritual fullness? See for privacy and opt-out information.
Oct 23
49 min
How America Could Fall (with David French)
Two decades into the 21st Century, the U.S. is less united than at any time in our history since the Civil War. We are more diverse in our beliefs and culture than ever before. But red and blue states, secular and religious groups, liberal and conservative idealists, and Republican and Democratic representatives all have one thing in common: each believes their distinct cultures and liberties are being threatened by an escalating violent opposition.How has polarization changed in the last decade? What role does status play in society today? See for privacy and opt-out information.
Oct 16
53 min
Can We Evolve Beyond Government? (with Max Borders)
Max Borders is a futurist who believes humanity is already building systems that will “underthrow” great centers of power. He believes that decentralization holds great promise. This decentralization will revolutionize we live and interact with eachother.Was the movement in to hierarchy part of human nature? What is holacracy? What is the social singularity? See for privacy and opt-out information.
Oct 9
54 min
It’s Okay to Ignore Politics (with Chris Freiman)
Chris Freiman addresses new objections to political abstention. Because participating in politics is not an effective way to do good, Freiman argues that we actually have a moral duty to disengage from politics and instead take direct action to make the world a better place.Is abstaining from politics permissible? Is it impossible to ignore politics? Why should we care about the quality of someone's vote if it doesn't matter anyway? See for privacy and opt-out information.
Oct 2
47 min
The Philosophy of Gerald Gaus (with Kevin Vallier and Chad Van Schoelandt)
We invited Kevin Vallier and Chad Van Schoelandt to the show to talk about their teacher and mentor, Gerald Gaus. Gerry was not like a lot of public reason types who are just trying to identify the conditions for something as abstract and distant as a well‐ordered society. Gaus started very much from where we are in a way that is much more like Hayek than Rawls.How do you justify rules? How do you understand morality in order to make rules? See for privacy and opt-out information.
Sep 25
52 min
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