CFP: Lockean Libertarianism

[cross-posted at BHL]

Billy Christmas (who was part of the same MANCEPT 2014 workshop as me (“The Current State of Libertarian Political Philosophy”) in September, and who also participated in the Molinari Society’s symposium on libertarianism and privilege with me this past December) writes to tell me that he is convening a workshop on “Lockean Libertarianism” at MANCEPT 2015 (Manchester UK, 1-3 September 2015). Check out the description below and consider submitting an abstract. I greatly enjoyed last year’s MANCEPT gig and can recommend its sequel.


Call for papers: MANCEPT workshop on Lockean Libertarianism

MANCEPT workshops, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, UK.
Tuesday 1st September – Thursday 3rd September 2015.


Lockean libertarianism is a family of theories of justice based upon property rights: those we have over ourselves and those we have over the external world. The connection between these two sets of rights is a contentious issue. The self-ownership principle holds that all individuals are, initially, the full moral owners of their own person, including their body, mind, and the product of their labour. The world-ownership principle specifies the rights we have to use and appropriate external resources, including natural resources (e.g. a plot of land, water, forests, deposits of fossil fuels) and products of human labour (e.g. a house, a pencil, a car). Locke himself claimed there is a proviso on the appropriation of external property that required one to leave ‘enough and as good in common for others’. Nozick favoured a weak interpretation of the proviso, while others reject it altogether (e.g. Rothbard, Hoppe), or believe the only proviso that is consistent with self-ownership is so minor that it has no effect of equality (e.g. the ‘Blockean proviso’). Others still think the proviso should be interpreted as in strong support of extensive redistribution of external resources to those who have less than an equal share (e.g. Steiner, Van Parijs, Otsuka, Vallentyne, Roark). Whereas some claim an unjust appropriation of previously unowned resources is an incoherent idea (e.g. Feser), or that resources do not exist independently of an act of discovery (e.g. Paul, Rassmussen & Den Uyl). Some from outside the Lockean tradition believe that the reconciliation of self-ownership with equality is incoherent (e.g. Risse, Cohen), while some within it would agree and oppose any form of egalitarianism (e.g. Rothbard and Hoppe), others reject the incoherence theses (e.g. Steiner and Otsuka), and others still believe equality should be reconceived as equality of authority, which stands in a natural equilibrium with respect for one’s self-ownership (e.g. Long). Lockean libertarianism then, is a very diverse set of political theories, with diverging socioeconomic implications. This workshop aims to provide a space to critically discuss Lockean libertarianism: what it is, and what its implications are. Whether the Lockean approach is taken to be problematic or promising, we invite papers that discuss self-ownership or world-ownership separately, as well as papers on the conceptual connection between self-ownership, world-ownership, and the proviso. We also encourage investigations into potential applications of these different forms of Lockean libertarianism. How should we conceive of, both philosophically and socioeconomically, things like public property and national borders? Can intellectual property be justified on a Lockean basis? Are children self-owners, or the fruits of their parents labour? How ought a Lockean respond to historical injustices such as land theft and slavery?

Please submit abstracts by email to Kasper Ossenblok ( and/or Billy Christmas (

Deadline for submissions: 1st June 2015. You will be notified of the success of your submission by 20th June. Please note that the deadline for registering for a graduate student bursary from MANCEPT in June 10th.


, , , ,

3 Responses to CFP: Lockean Libertarianism

  1. Irfan Khawaja March 12, 2015 at 3:40 pm #

    Looks great. I’ll post this at Policy of Truth in a few days, and I’m hoping to send an abstract along myself.

    I only wish they’d schedule events like this on the weekend–we don’t all have faculty positions that allow us to abandon our teaching responsibilities in the middle of the week to attend professional conferences. I find it ironic that at a time when people in our profession are becoming increasingly sensitive to (and increasingly militant about) the access needs of the disabled to professional conferences, the “access needs” of faculty with heavy teaching loads seem regularly to go ignored. Without wanting to make any claim about the relative merits of the needs of the physically disabled versus those of the teaching-load encumbered, it seems to me that on strictly numerical grounds, far more people are in the second category than the first. But far more is said about the first than the second.

    • Irfan Khawaja March 15, 2015 at 1:25 pm #

      It just occurs to me that I made exactly the same complaint last year, but since the world government I demanded in March 2014 hasn’t materialized (materialised) in the intervening year, nothing has changed on the “I have to go this workshop but if I do I’ll miss class and get fired” front. It just amazes me how few people there are willing to man (staff) the barricades for this vital issue. Which obviously should be the topic of MANCEPT 2016.


  1. CFP: Lockean Libertarianism | Policy of Truth - March 15, 2015

    […] Long has a CFP up at his website for a workshop on Lockean Libertarianism at MANCEPT, to be held this September at the University of Manchester in the UK. I’ve heard great things […]

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes