Cicero, Roman Republicanism and the Contested Meaning of Libertas

Despite the growing interest in neo-Roman republicanism, few republicans examine the character of Roman republicanism, either in its constitutional practice, its social relations or in the works of its primary defenders. This article examines Cicero’s two systematic dialogues of political philosophy – De Re Publica and De Legibus – in order to assess the status … More Cicero, Roman Republicanism and the Contested Meaning of Libertas

The Invention of Market Freedom

Eric MacGilvray’s book, The Invention of Market Freedom (Cambridge University Press, 2011) presents a compelling and convincing narrative of the historical eclipse of the republican conception of freedom by the more familiar market conception of freedom in the context of the synthesis of liberal and republican thought in the late eighteenth century. The crux of the argument is that … More The Invention of Market Freedom

Domination and Dependence: Republicanism and the Market

In a previous post, I discussed republicanism’s problematic obfuscation of class. The point I tried to make was that republicanism’s core concept – that liberty is a form of non-domination or independence from the will’s of others – attains its coherence only at a level of abstraction that obscures the class realities that comprise any … More Domination and Dependence: Republicanism and the Market

Republicanism and the Obfuscation of Class

For a number of years now, I’ve been reading and writing about republicanism. Not the republicanism of the Republican party, but rather republican political thought. In particular, the neo-Roman republican tradition being researched so extensively by the intellectual historian Quentin Skinner and the political philosopher Philip Pettit. I can’t quite recall why or how I … More Republicanism and the Obfuscation of Class