The Practical, the Political and the Ethical seminar series

The Practical, the Political and the Ethical seminar series
24 January 2020, 4.00pm - 6.00pm
Bloomsbury Room, G35, Ground Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

The Practical, the Political, and the Ethical Seminar Series.

Dispositions of Deference

Michael Garnett (Birkbeck)


Despite a recent upsurge of interest in the issue, most contemporary theories of freedom and autonomy still struggle to make sense of cases involving internalised oppression. Focusing on the particular case of internalised deference, I suggest a new way of approaching the problem. I argue that the problem with deference from the point of view of autonomy is not that it undermines the governance of one's self (it needn’t), nor that it disconnects one from objectively correct norms (lots of things do that), but that it involves a particular practical relationship with another’s will that constitutes a loss of self-government in the external sense of being ruled from without. This loss of external self-government also suffices, I argue, for a partial, though not total, disconnection from the good of a self-authored life.

The Institute of Philosophy hosts a regular workshop series entitled ‘The Practical, the Political, and the Ethical’. The series was created in 2015 by Véronique Munoz-Dardé (UCL) and Hallvard Lillehammer (Birkbeck) in order to discuss work in progress from visiting speakers. This year the series is convened by Amanda Greene (UCL) and Jonathan Gingerich (KCL).  The seminar generally meets on alternate Fridays from 4.30 to 6.30pm in the winter term, and 4pm to 6pm in the spring and summer terms. Talks are normally 50 minutes (no pre-circulation of the paper), followed by discussion. All are welcome. 


Institute of Philsophy
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