The ProSocial Libertarians:
Andrew I. Cohen is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Georgia State University. He has published on issues in reparations and apologies, rights theory, the ethics of friendship, and other topics in ethics, social/political philosophy, and applied ethics. He is most recently the author of Apologies and Moral Repair: Rights, Duties, and Corrective Justice (Routledge, 2020). He has also written or edited books on applied ethics and public policy. He has appeared on podcasts, radio, and TV to discuss themes in practical ethics and public policy.
Andrew Jason Cohen is Professor of Philosophy and Founding Director of the Interdisciplinary Studies Program in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) at Georgia State University. He is the author of Toleration and Freedom from Harm: Liberalism Reconceived (Routledge, 2018) and Toleration (Polity, 2014) as well as articles in journals like Ethics, The Canadian Journal of Philosophy, and in new reference works like The International Encyclopedia of Ethics and The Cambridge Companion to Liberalism. Increasingly, he is looking at toleration (or the lack thereof) in our system of criminal law, in business ethics, and in issues surrounding speech. He is especially interested in using that to help improve civil discourse. (CV and papers available at https://philpeople.org/profiles/andrew-jason-cohen.)
Lauren Hall is associate professor of political science at Rochester Institute of Technology. She is the author of The Medicalization of Birth and Death (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2019),Family and the Politics of Moderation (Baylor University Press, 2014) and the co-editor of a volume on the political philosophy of French political thinker Chantal Delsol. She has written extensively on the classical liberal tradition, including articles on Edmund Burke, Adam Smith, and Montesquieu. She serves on the executive board of the interdisciplinary journal Cosmos+Taxis, which publishes on spontaneous orders in the social and political worlds. Her current research deals with the politics of women and the family in classical liberalism as well as issues in bioethics and healthcare regulation.
Connor K. Kianpour is a philosophy PhD candidate at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He primarily writes about the rights of, and our duties to, dependents (e.g. children, the disabled, and nonhuman animals) in a free society. He also takes an interest in the philosophy and ethics of humor. His work has been published in Environmental Values, HEC Forum, and Politics and Animals, among other venues. You can keep up to date with his work at his personal website: www.connorkianpour.com.
Aeon J. Skoble is Professor of Philosophy and co-coordinator of the program in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at Bridgewater State University. Skoble is the author of Deleting the State: An Argument about Government (Open Court, 2008) and The Essential Nozick (Fraser Institute, 2020), the editor of Reading Rasmussen and Den Uyl: Critical Essays on Norms of Liberty (Lexington Books, 2008), and co-editor of Political Philosophy: Essential Selections (Prentice-Hall, 1999) and Reality, Reason, and Rights (Lexington Books, 2011). In addition, he has frequently lectured and written for the Institute for Humane Studies, Cato, and the Foundation for Economic Education, and he is a Senior Fellow at the Fraser Institute. His main research includes theories of rights, the nature and justification of authority, and virtue ethics. In addition, he writes widely on the intersection of philosophy and popular culture, among other things co-editing the best-selling The Simpsons and Philosophy (Open Court, 2000) and three other books on film and television.
James Stacey Taylor is Professor of Philosophy at The College of New Jersey. He is the author of Stakes and Kidneys: Why markets in human body parts are morally imperative (Ashgate, 2005/Routledge 2017), Practical Autonomy and Bioethics (Routledge 2009), Death, Posthumous Harm, and Bioethics (Routledge, 2012). He is the editor of Personal Autonomy (Cambridge 2005) and The Ethics and Metaphysics of Death (Oxford 2013). He is currently completing a book (Bloody Morality) that defends compensating plasma donors and criticises regimes that prohibit this.
A view like that (re)developed and encouraged on the Bleeding Heart Libertarians blog is needed in the blogosphere, in academia, and in our broader culture. This blog will provide that—a classical liberal view that maintains a clear and unapologetic concern for the plight of the less fortunate—at a point in time when it seems the world is finally being forced to take those concerns seriously. Importantly, we’ll do so in a way meant to encourage greater civil dialogue. We hope to provide a counter to the sound bite culture so prevalent in contemporary media; we do so in order to provide greater understanding—both to our readers and to ourselves.
ProSocial Libertarians is new and improved from Radical Classical Liberals, with a smaller blogroll. We plan to add some podcasts with a pair of us having a dialogue, perhaps with a guest. The primary bloggers are academics with an interest in encouraging more informed, reasoned, and civil discourse outside academia as well as inside. We are political philosophers and theorists who take the original classical liberals—thinkers like John Locke, Adam Smith, and John Stuart Mill—as intellectual heroes. Most of what you’ll see on these pages will be libertarian takes on issues of social justice; many are also likely to be about civil discourse. You are likely to encounter arguments for specific views that one or more of us think follow from our classical liberal commitments. We may also argue with each other about these.
Our hopes for the blog are varied. They include showcasing the attractiveness of dynamic markets and anti-authoritarian solutions to contemporary problems, how these are often the best hope for those concerned with issues of deprivation, exclusion, and subordination, and how, far too often, government solutions are more pretense than substance. We are all concerned to show how freedom (we may disagree about what that is) goes hand in hand with prosperity for all. Putting that differently, we all recognize the value of markets and social justice on some understanding that recognizes (minimally) the basic moral equality of all human adults. Within that framework, our opinions are likely to vary considerably.
We hope to appeal to those who are curious about moral, legal, political, and social thought. While we all have our own existing biases, we hope to be able to bracket our prior beliefs and argue from acceptable premises to important conclusions—all with respectful and reasoned discussion. No doubt you will sometimes disagree with us. We hope to remain intellectually honest, open-minded, and charitable—and to show the value of those virtues.
The tag line for PSL is “Owning Civil Discourse and Social Justice.” To our way of thinking, we do own both. That’s because we, like BHLs and so-called Rawlsekians or liberaltarians, are concerned with the plight of the less fortunate and because we see points of agreement and disagreement with people in both of the dominant parties—and elsewhere (including the dominant ideologies)—and are willing to honestly debate the issues on the merits. That last is sorely missing in contemporary discourse and we want to help improve that. To do so, we will be maintaining some of the rules from RCL; namely:
1. While we will likely criticize the views of others and/or their work, when we do, we will remain civil.
2. Trolls and obnoxious commenters can be banned, but only by a majority vote of the group.
3. We won’t have posts that are mere links to something posted elsewhere. We might post a link to something someone else wrote, along with commentary about it. We may also have posts that serve to “round-up” links to several things others have written that we think you would be interested in.
4. We’ll try to space out posts, time wise.
5. Our policy regarding comments will be different: Each of us will have our own default regarding comments, but if we allow comments, we reserve the right to delete unproductive comments. Generally speaking, the point to deleting a comment will be to prevent incivility from escalating.
Note: PSL is an Amazon Affiliate. We receive a small commission if you purchase from Amazon when a link on our pages leads you there. We do not make a profit from this program. The commission is used to offset the cost of maintaining and improving the blog; any excess is donated to charity.