Call for Abstracts: Libertarianism and Privilege

Call for Abstracts

for the Molinari Society’s Year 11 Symposium to be held in conjunction with the American Philosophical Association Eastern Division meeting, December 27-30, 2014, in Philadelphia.

Symposium Topic:
Libertarianism and Privilege

Submission Deadline:
26 May 2014

In recent years, “privilege” has become the default model for most of the Left’s critical discussion of structural oppression, resistance, and challenges to social justice. Critical discourse today recognizes many forms of structural social privilege, including white privilege, male privilege, and privilege based on heterosexuality, gender identity, and economic or political class. Privilege is said not only to touch on political power but also to have interpersonal and epistemic dimensions – informing social interactions and cultural expressions, and raising concerns about the position of social critics and limitations or distortions of knowledge.

In addition, the relationship between libertarianism and privilege has begun to attract increased interest, both within and beyond libertarian circles. Libertarianism has been described both as essentially an opposition to privilege, and as essentially a rationalization of privilege. Does libertarian theory have the resources to address questions of structural privilege – especially those forms of social privilege that do not appear to derive from state action? Should it address such questions? What unique insights or contributions might it offer to critical discussions of privilege? How might an account of structural social privilege modify or develop libertarian approaches?

Abstracts should be submitted for the 2014 Symposium by 26 May, 2014. Submissions from any point of view are welcome. Please submit an abstract only if you expect to be able to present the paper in person at the Symposium. (Final papers should be of appropriate scope and length to be presented within 15-30 minutes.) Submitting authors will be notified of the acceptance or rejection of their papers by 31 May, 2014.

Submit abstracts as e-mail attachments, in Word .doc format, PDF, or ODT, to

For any questions or information, contact Roderick T. Long at the above email address.

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5 Responses to Call for Abstracts: Libertarianism and Privilege

  1. Irfan Khawaja May 4, 2014 at 7:13 pm #

    Aren’t you privileging abstracts that are on the topic of “Libertarianism and Privilege”? What about all the off-topic abstracts? And who’s to say what’s on topic? Wouldn’t that privilege the Molinari Society?

    Wait, that gives me an idea: maybe I’ll submit an abstract on Privilege Infinitism, which consists in generating infinite regresses of rhetorical questions (and answers, I guess) designed to accuse people of privilege. Here’s the basic idea: For any claim p, you determine how the assertion of p involves the assumption of some invidious privilege; you wait for a response to your implicit accusation, and then, without listening very carefully to the response or taking it very seriously, you launch a new accusation in the form of a rhetorical question of a similar sort. You do this ad infinitum. I guess to keep this on topic, I’d have to apply PI to libertarianism, oppressive as that restriction would be.

    The problem is, your arbitrary time limit of 15-30 minutes presentation time privileges finitism.

    • Julia May 4, 2014 at 10:46 pm #

      Let me ask you: do you think it’s useful to apply an analytic methodology to social theory in this fashion?

      • Irfan Khawaja May 5, 2014 at 8:18 am #

        It depends on two things: 1) useful for what? 2) how literally do you want to take “this” fashion? Taken literally, I think my specific use of analytic methodology above is only useful for a laugh (if that). But more seriously, yes, analytic methodology can be useful for social theory. I actually have a serious abstract in mind that I hope will be useful, and is at least semi-analytic.


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