in the Department of Philosophy and Religion

Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Philosophy Forum: For Goodness’ Sake

Posted on: August 12th, 2014 by skultety

Dr. Robert Westmoreland

University of Mississippi

September 24th at 4:00-5:30

in Barnard Observatory, Room 105

“For Goodness’ Sake”


“Part I of this paper argues that liberalism gives priority to autonomy rather than to liberty or equality. Part II briefly criticizes three bad answers to the question of why autonomy should have priority: one based on value skepticism, the second on pluralism, and the third on Kant. The first and third let autonomy prevail by default by implausibly denying the importance of goods not distinctively liberal; the second isn’t liberal at all, because it can’t give any value priority. Why then should people who value goods not specifically liberal—call them eudaimonistic goods—accept the priority of autonomy? Part III says Mill might have the answer: his ‘individuality’ or autonomy is compatible with proscribing certain things, e.g. pornography, that hinder the realization of certain eudaimonistic goods. Mill takes ‘the good’ as seriously as ‘the right’—I argue irrefutably that he’s neither hedonist nor utilitarian—and articulates the Harm Principle so as to allow what many would consider illiberal laws, but which, rightly understood, are consistent with a robust liberal conception of individuality.”


The format of this event will be a workshop of Dr. Westmoreland’s paper.  Requests for an advance copy of the paper can be directed to Dr. Donovan Wishon (  More information about future UM Philosophy Forum events can be found on the department calendar at