Samuel Freeman is the Avalon Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Philosophy and of Law at the University of Pennsylvania. His book Liberalism, Economic Justice, and the Difference Principle, a collection of recent essays, will be published next year. (March 2017)


The Headquarters of Neo-Marxism

Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno (in foreground) with Jürgen Habermas (far right), Heidelberg, April 1964

Grand Hotel Abyss: The Lives of the Frankfurt School

by Stuart Jeffries

Habermas: A Biography

by Stefan Müller-Doohm, translated from the German by Daniel Steuer
The Frankfurt School regarded workers as paralyzed by conformist tendencies and unable to discern the source of their grievances in the capitalist system. One of its tasks during and after the 1930s was to explain the illusions that drove both the proletariat and the bourgeoisie not just to conformity but also to barbarism and the destruction of European civilization. For the next forty years, the Frankfurt School engaged in criticism of nearly every aspect of capitalist society.

The Enemies of Roger Scruton

Roger Scruton, Wiltshire, England, November 2011

Fools, Frauds and Firebrands: Thinkers of the New Left

by Roger Scruton
Many Americans say that they are conservative.1 They support limited government with fewer regulations, free enterprise, and lower taxes; they oppose affirmative action and “welfare” programs for the poor. But many of these people also support prayer and religious instruction in public schools; seek prohibitions on abortion, marijuana, pornography, …

The Case Against Moralism

Bernard Williams

Essays and Reviews, 1959–2002

by Bernard Williams, with a foreword by Michael Wood
Since Plato, philosophers have offered accounts of the ethical values and moral principles we should pursue individually and as a society. Although nearly moribund for most of the last century, ethical theory was revived in the 1970s, because of the influence of John Rawls’s A Theory of Justice (1971), a …

It’s in Your Own Best Interest

Children buying toy cars, Paris, 1967; photograph by Henri Cartier-Bresson

Simpler: The Future of Government

by Cass R. Sunstein
Public, political, and academic opinion about the role of government has changed considerably since the early 1980s. There is now a widespread presumption that private, free-market solutions are the appropriate way to address not just economic but also social and political issues. In the spirit of our free-market era, Simpler: …

Why Be Good?

On What Matters

by Derek Parfit
Derek Parfit is passionate in his conviction that there must be objective values that give meaning to our lives in a godless world. It is rare to find an academic philosophical treatise that sincerely grapples with such cosmic questions as “whether human history has been worth it,” given all the suffering that has existed in the world.

A New Theory of Justice

Amartya Sen giving the keynote address at the fifth annual Global Development Network conference, New Delhi, India, January 2004

The Idea of Justice

by Amartya Sen
Since the publication of John Rawls’s A Theory of Justice in 1971 there has been an outpouring of philosophical literature on social, political, and economic justice unmatched in the history of thought. During the previous two hundred years, utilitarianism had been the predominant view in Anglo-American political philosophy. Utilitarianism argues …