How do we create flourishing civil societies in the modern world?

Discuss your ideas with fellow students and professors as you explore provocative concepts and challenging solutions. This week-long seminar is ideal for undergraduate students who have previously studied classical liberal ideas across disciplines.

If you’ve taken multiple courses where you encountered classical liberal thinkers, attended previous IHS events on your campus, taken part in reading groups, or read major works in the tradition on your own, then this seminar will provide the intellectual rigor and challenge that you crave. You’ll engage with a variety of thinkers and compare their ideas with those of competing worldviews.

Applications are now closed.


We’ll discuss questions such as:

  • Economics: What can market processes tell us about the morality, efficiency, and nature of exchange? What are the benefits, limits, and features of formal versus informal institutions? What are some challenges to markets and competition? What are the main schools of economic thought? How do we analyze their proposed systems? What are some lingering tensions in the political economy?
  • Law: How does law differ from legislation? What is polycentric law? What is common law? What are the implications of competitive governance? How do we define rights, liberties, constitutionalism, and the rule of law? How does law relate to the market? What do we mean by “order”?
  • Political Science: What is the character and role of civil society? What are its main features, and how do they relate to one another? What are civic and moral virtues? What are the origins, implications, and challenges of public choice theory? What are the most powerful critiques of liberalism, and how might we address these challenges? How does the state relate to individuals? How does it relate to communities and associations?
  • Philosophy: What are the different types of rights? What are the duties, obligations, and benefits associated with each? How do we define concepts like justice and equality? Are they moral ideals alone? What are the philosophies of government? How does “civil society” compare to “political society”? Where does morality come from and how does it evolve?
  • History: What are the origins of the classical liberal tradition and how do they relate with one another? Who are the major critics of classical liberalism through the ages, and what arguments do they present? Who are the great thinkers of the classical liberal tradition, and what were their contributions? What does history tell us about the differences between liberalism, conservatism, and progressivism? What are the major intellectual influences in each tradition?

The schedule below is subject to change.

Agenda

Saturday, June 3rd
2:00 pm
Registration
3:30 pm
Opening Remarks
4:15 pm
Lecture
6:00 pm
Dinner
7:15 pm
Lecture
9:00 pm
Social
Sunday, June 4th
8:00 am
Optional Breakfast
9:00 am
Morning Lectures
12:45 pm
Lunch and Break
3:15 pm
Afternoon Lecture
5:00 pm
Dinner
6:30 pm
Evening Lecture
8:30 pm
Discussion Groups
9:30 pm
Social
Monday, June 5th
8:00 am
Same as June 4th
Tuesday, June 6th
8:00 am
Optional Breakfast
9:00 am
Morning Lectures
12:45 pm
Lunch and Break
3:15 pm
Free Time
Wednesday, June 7th
8:00 am
Same as June 4th
Thursday, June 8th
8:00 am
Optional Breakfast
9:00 am
Morning Lectures
12:45 pm
Lunch and Break
3:00 pm
Book Distribution
4:00 pm
Afternoon Lecture
5:45 pm
Dinner
7:15 pm
Discussion Groups
8:15 pm
Faculty Panel and Closing Remarks
9:45 pm
Social
Friday, June 9th
8:00 am
Optional Breakfast
9:00 am
Travel Home

Speakers

Dr. Lauren Hall

Associate Professor of Political Science at Rochester Institute of Technology

Dr. Hall’s recent book, Family and the Politics of Moderation, came out with Baylor University Press in April 2014 and she edited a volume on the political philosophy of French political thinker, Chantal Delsol.

She has written extensively on the classical liberal tradition, including articles on Edmund Burke, Adam Smith, and Montesquieu. She serves on the editorial board of the interdisciplinary journal Cosmos+Taxis, which publishes on spontaneous orders in the social and political worlds.

She serves as the faculty advisor for the RIT College Libertarians. Her current research is on the politics of women and the family in classical liberalism, and she also writes on related areas in evolutionary theory and bioethics.

Dr. John Hasnas

Professor of Business at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business and Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center

Dr. Hasnas teaches courses in ethics and law. He is also the executive director of the Georgetown Institute for the Study of Markets and Ethics, whose tripartite mission is to produce high-quality research on matters related to the ethics of market activity, improve ethics pedagogy, and educate the broader, non-academic community about ethical issues related to the functioning of markets.

He received his B.A. in Philosophy from Lafayette College, his J.D. and Ph.D. in Legal Philosophy from Duke University, and his LL.M. in Legal Education from Temple Law School. His scholarship concerns ethics and white collar crime, jurisprudence, and legal history.

Dr. Mark LeBar

Professor of Philosophy, Florida State University

Dr. LeBar holds an MBA from Pepperdine University, an MA in philosophy from the University of Washington, and a PhD in philosophy from the University of Arizona.

He has published papers on ethics, political philosophy, and philosophy of mind, and is at work on a project exploring the foundations of political obligations and authority in Aristotelian moral theory.

Dr. Adam Martin

Political Economy Research Fellow at the Free Market Institute and Assistant Professor of Agricultural and Applied Economics at Texas Tech University

Dr. Martin earned his B.A. in economics and theology from the University of Dallas and his Ph.D. in economics from George Mason University. His research interests focus on the intersection of philosophy, politics and economics and include Austrian economics, economic methodology, economic development and public choice.

He also serves as a member of the Board of Scholars for the Foundation for Economic Education, director of the Humane Studies Fellowship for IHS, and judge for the Carl Menger Essay Contest for the Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, an undergraduate essay competition he co-founded.

Dr. Brandon Turner

Assistant Professor of Political Science at Clemson University

Dr. Turner earned his B.A. from Miami University of Ohio (2004), and his M.A.and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (2008).

He is currently revising a manuscript titled Antagonism in the Liberal Tradition. He previously taught for one year at Wake Forest University. His research interests are in the history of modern political thought, particularly British liberal thought, as well as theories of republicanism.