A summer school in “Political Philosophy & Public Policy”: Exploring the Commons organized by the Political Theory Group of CEHUM, University of Minho (Braga).

When: 18-21 July 2016
Where: University of Minho, Braga (Portugal)

“Course Description: In recent years there has been a resurgence of interest in issues at the intersection of political philosophy and public policy. In particular, attention has increasingly turned to the question of what kind of institutions and policies would be needed in order to create a significantly more just society. Following past summer-schools on topics such as a basic income (2013), predistribution and property-owning democracy (2014), the ethics of banking (2015), this year’s summer school will be devoted to the commons. The topic of the “commons” is an expanding issue of interest within academia, where it combines different and complementary disciplines (philosophy, history, law, political science, economy, …). It is also a very important discussion outside academia. The “commons” is a social space where people can enter and leave freely; in which they relate as equals; and in which they work cooperatively, to solve a problem, meet a need, or just enjoy creativity for its own sake. In this school we will explore the ways in which society has a strong responsibility to protect a sufficient commons and to ensure that anyone holding an asset removed from the commons pays compensation to everyone else.

Professor Karl Widerquist will in his lectures introduce us to the political philosophy of the commons by laying out and indepentarian theory of justice and applying that theory to the justification of government and property rights. It uses ideal and practical political theory to argue that both the justification of the state and the justification of private property require the payment of a basic income guarantee. This payment is necessary not only to preserve status freedom, but also to compensate those who dissent from the institutions that powerful people have endowed with authority over land and natural resources. It will be argued that society owes compensation to the rational and reasonable dissenters. This conclusion is very different from typically arguments for a natural right to private property, because such arguments usually ignore the loss of negative freedom accompanied by the loss of access to the commons in any system that creates property without compensation to non-owners.

Professor Axel Gosseries will in his practical sessions explore moral dilemmas that may arise within the forms of production and consumption which occur through various kinds of “commons” such as:
(a) protecting and preserving local natural resource commons;
(b) creating wider, transnational and global natural resource commons;
(c) protecting capacities for Commons-based peer production (CBPP) for information goods;
(d) developing rights of open access to more information goods;

Inscription: If you would like to participate, please send an e-mail to Roberto Merrill ([email protected]) by 20 May 2016. If you also wish to give a talk during the School, please send us an abstract between 300 and 500 words.”

More details can be found here.

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