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Collected essays
Author: Keith Dowding

The book collects thirteen previously published essays by Keith Dowding on social and political power, freedom, choice and luck. It is anchored by a substantial introductory essay that pulls together the different strands to demonstrate the coherence and connections between the different concepts discussed through the book. The book demonstrates the importance of the concept of power to political science and argues that comparative static definitions enable comparison of power structures in terms of agents’ resources. It shows the importance of systematic luck in understanding the power structure. However, static definitions are inherently unsatisfactory in dynamic settings. Here we need to apply game theory rather than game forms, and in dynamic settings luck is vital to our perception of freedom, responsibility and leadership. Later chapters reveal the problematic evaluation of choice and freedom and how these relate to responsibility. The book concludes by demonstrating that freedom and rights exist in different senses, which matter for our understanding of how much freedom exists in a society. It shows that Sen’s liberal paradox is ambiguous between rights as claims and rights as liberties; how fundamental his paradox is to our understanding of the conflict between rights and welfare depends on the manner in which we evaluate freedom.

Monastic exemption in France, c. 590– c. 1100

This book examines the history of monastic exemption in France. It maps an institutional story of monastic freedom and protection, which is deeply rooted in the religious, political, social, and legal culture of the early Middle Ages. Traversing many geo-political boundaries and fields of historical specialisation, this book evaluates the nature and extent of papal involvement in French monasteries between the sixth and eleventh centuries. Defining the meaning and value of exemption to medieval contemporaries during this era, it demonstrates how the papacy’s commitment, cooperation, and intervention transformed existing ecclesiastical and political structures. Charting the elaboration of monastic exemption privileges from a marginalised to centralised practice, this book asks why so many French monasteries were seeking exemption privileges directly from Rome; what significance they held for monks, bishops, secular rulers, and popes; how and why this practice developed throughout the early Middle Ages; and, ultimately, what impact monastic exemption had on the emerging identity of papal authority, the growth of early monasticism, Frankish politics and governance, church reform, and canon law.

This book offers historical reappraisals of freedom of speech and freedom of the press in the early modern anglophone world. Prompted by modern debates about whether or not limitations on free expression might be necessary given religious pluralism and concerns about hate speech, it brings together historians, political theorists and literary scholars, and offers a longue durée approach to the topic. It integrates religion into the history of free speech, and rethinks what is sometimes regarded as a coherent tradition of more or less absolutist justifications for free expression. Contributors examine the aims and effectiveness of government policies, the sometimes messy and contingent ways in which freedom of speech became a reality, and a wide range of canonical and non-canonical texts in which contemporaries outlined their ideas and ideals. It is shown that – on this issue at least – the period from 1500 to 1850 is a coherent one, in terms of how successive governments reflected on the possibility of regulation, and in terms of claims that were and were not made for freedom of speech. While not denying that change can be detected across this period, in terms of both ideas and practices, it demonstrates that the issues, arguments and aims involved were more or less distinct from those that characterise modern debates. As a collection it will be of interest to religious and political historians, intellectual historians and literary scholars, and to anyone interested in the history of one of the most important and thorny issues in modern society.

Bridging the gap between science and society

Never have the scope and limits of scientific freedom been more important or more under attack. New science, from artificial intelligence to genomic manipulation, creates unique opportunities to make the world a better place. But it also presents unprecedented dangers, which many believe threaten the survival of humanity and the planet. This collection, by an international and multidisciplinary group of leading thinkers, addresses three vital questions: (1) How are scientific developments impacting on human life and on the structure of societies? (2) How is science regulated, and how should it be regulated? (3) Are there ethical boundaries to scientific developments in some sensitive areas (e.g. robotic intelligence, biosecurity)? The contributors are drawn from many disciplines, and approach the issues in diverse ways to secure the widest representation of the many interests engaged. They include some of the most distinguished academics working in this field, as well as young scholars.

Editors: Maura Adshead and Tom Felle

Freedom of information (FOI) is important because it aims to makes government open, transparent and accountable. FOI legislation is based on the premise that people have the right of access to public documents, save for certain exemptions. The philosophy behind such legislation is that citizens have a ‘right to know’ how and why decisions are made by government in their name. In that context it could be argued that FOI legislation also has the potential to lead to more accountable government, less corruption and better democratic outcomes for states. This book traces Ireland’s experience of FOI legislation, from the first FOI Act in 1997, to the amendments that significantly constrained its provisions in 2003, to the proposed new revisions that will come into operation in 2013. Following from that, it looks at the operation and use of FOI from a series of perspectives: from a governmental perspective, taking views from public officials and politicians, in government and in opposition; from a state perspective, looking at the legal balancing act between keeping secrets and keeping government accountable; from a journalist perspective on the use and misuse of FOI; and from a citizen’s perspective, using FOI to develop active citizenship and engagement. Finally, taking all of these views into account, the book assesses the extent to which FOI has contributed to, and may continue to contribute to, political reform.

How and why governments pass laws that threaten their power
Author: Ben Worthy

Why do governments pass freedom of information laws? The symbolic power and force surrounding FOI makes it appealing as an electoral promise but hard to disengage from once in power. However, behind closed doors compromises and manoeuvres ensure that bold policies are seriously weakened before they reach the statute book.

The politics of freedom of information examines how Tony Blair's government proposed a radical FOI law only to back down in fear of what it would do. But FOI survived, in part due to the government's reluctance to be seen to reject a law that spoke of 'freedom', 'information' and 'rights'. After comparing the British experience with the difficult development of FOI in Australia, India and the United States – and the rather different cases of Ireland and New Zealand – the book concludes by looking at how the disruptive, dynamic and democratic effects of FOI laws continue to cause controversy once in operation.

The case of mitochondrial transfer
Iain Brassington

5 Freedom, law, politics, genes: the case of mitochondrial transfer Iain Brassington In early 2015, the UK became the first country to make explicit legal provision for the use of mitochondrial transfer techniques leading to a live human birth. Mitochondrial transfer offers a means to prevent mitochondrial illnesses being passed from a mother to her children, as they would be inevitably without the process. Two methods are possible: maternal spindle transfer, and pronuclear transfer. In both, nuclear material is removed from a cell that has faulty mitochondria

in The freedom of scientific research
Keith Dowding

11 Republican freedom, rights and the coalition problem Introduction In recent years the concept of republican freedom has been put forward most notably by Quentin Skinner (1990, 1992, 1998, 2008) and Philip Pettit (1993b, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2002).1 Initially, Skinner saw republican freedom as a type of negative liberty that emphasized certain aspects or normatively important features (Skinner 1990). Now he and republican freedom’s other great defender, Philip Pettit, proclaim republican freedom to be a different and superior conception of freedom. Negative

in Power, luck and freedom
Keith Dowding

The grammar of rights and freedoms 13 Social choice and the grammar of rights and freedoms The tools of social choice and game theory are being marshalled in order to get a new handle on old concepts in political philosophy. There is a large literature on the nature of equality as a value and what we should expect to be equalized (see, for example, Roemer 1996, 1998). There is a growing literature on the nature of liberty, its potential measurability (for example, Jones and Sugden 1982; Sen 1988, 1989, 1990a, 1990b, 1990c, 1991b, 1992, 1997, 1999; Bossert et al

in Power, luck and freedom
A naturalistic approach
Gilberto Corbellini and Elisabetta Sirgiovanni

13 Science, self-control and human freedom: a naturalistic approach Gilberto Corbellini and Elisabetta Sirgiovanni A recurring assumption among political philosophers is that freedom as the ancients conceived it was different from the kind of freedom experienced in the modern world. On 13 February 1819, in his famous lecture on The Liberty of the Ancients Compared with that of the Moderns held at the Athénée Royal in Paris, Benjamin-Henri Constant de Rebecque gave one of the most brilliant formulations of liberal thought. Constant affirmed that modern men

in The freedom of scientific research