Philip Pettit

Philip Pettit
Australian National University | ANU · Center for Human Values, School of Philosophy

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398
Publications
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16,020
Citations
Citations since 2017
29 Research Items
6492 Citations
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Introduction
Skills and Expertise

Publications

Publications (398)
Article
Full-text available
Does the state have a characteristic role in the lives of its subjects, assuming officials are not utterly corrupt? And is that role consistent with its being a potential force for justice? The question is important if, as realists hold, the state is ineliminable. The paper sketches a genealogical way of approaching the issue and gestures at an ans...
Article
In recent times, the idea of popular sovereignty has figured prominently in the rhetoric of neo-populist thinkers and activists who argue that legal and political authority must be concentrated in one single body or individual elected by the people to act in its name. The thesis of this article is that, while the notion of popular sovereignty may s...
Chapter
Philip Pettit develops an account of the fundamental nature and basis of respect. Pettit’s “conversive” theory of respect draws on the fact that our unique command of language provides us with a “special means of mutual influence,” making us accessible to each other’s understanding. Cooperative, conversive practice inevitably generates some shared...
Article
Having a self means being able think of myself under a certain profile that that is me: that is who I am, that is how I am. But if I raise the question as to who or how I am, there are three salient profiles in which I can cast myself, three selves with which we can identify. I can see myself just as an agent identified over time by the linkages be...
Article
Michael Tomasello explains the human sense of obligation by the role it plays in negotiating practices of acting jointly and the commitments they underwrite. He draws in his work on two models of joint action, one from Michael Bratman, the other from Margaret Gilbert. But Bratman's makes the explanation too difficult to succeed, and Gilbert's makes...
Chapter
The analysis of concepts is an important part of the philosophical exercise but has to be complemented by the allocation of a referent to any world-tracking concept: this will give an account of what constitutes the phenomenon tracked. But analysis generally leaves room for negotiation about the referent to be allocated, for two reasons. First, bec...
Article
Classical Athens is often held up as a model of the rule of law. But while it did give law central and significant role in its public life, it did not have the institutional resources needed to realize the ideal fully. It lacked a way of helping to make the interpretation of law uniform across different executive and particularly judicial sites.
Article
HLA Hart tells us about how law would have emerged in a world of primary rules—informal, beneficial norms—by adjustments that the primary rules would naturally require; these adjustments would have introduced secondary rules for regulating the primary. But he does little to explain how the primary rules would themselves have emerged and, by most ac...
Article
Full-text available
Cambridge Core - Political Philosophy - Republicanism and the Future of Democracy - edited by Yiftah Elazar
Article
Building on different sources of theory, from paleontology to psychology, Michael Tomasello offers a plausible, even compelling, story about how our ancestors developed distinctive forms of collaboration, evolving mechanisms to support them, in the period from roughly 400,000 to 150,000 years ago. But he claims that this narrative explains why they...
Article
The classical model of democracy that Schumpeter criticizes is manufactured out of a variety of earlier ideas, not those of any one thinker or even one school of thought. His critique of the central ideals by which he defines the model—those of the common will and the common good—remains persuasive. People’s preferences are too messy and too manipu...
Article
Responsability Incorporated This articles defends the idea that corporate agents such as companies, political parties, churches and universities, can be given the status of autonomous and responsible agents. Section I identifies the necessary conditions that must be filled for an agent to be held responsible. Sections II-IV demonstrate that corpora...
Article
The paper offers five desiderata on a realist normative theory of politics: that it should avoid moralism, deontologism, transcendentalism, utopianism, and vanguardism. These desiderata argue for a theory that begins from values rooted in a people’s experience; that avoids prescribing a collective deontological constraint; that makes the comparison...
Article
In his famous lecture on ‘The Concept of Preference’ Amartya Sen (1982) opened up the topic of preference and preferencesatisfaction to critical, philosophical debate. He pointed out that preference in the sense in which choice reveals one's preference need not be preference in the sense in which people are personally better off for having their pr...
Article
In this exchange Haugaard and Pettit begin by discussing power and agency. They agree that while many inequalities are linked to deliberate agency, a significant number of inequalities comprise structural effects that are the unintended effect of social action. These are of normative concern: to prevent arbitrary domination and create a society in...
Chapter
It is very challenging to be presented with such a wide array of commentaries on my work, many of which raise very fundamental questions. In this necessarily brief set of responses, I propose to divide the commentaries into five areas; to present my overall background view in each area; and then, against that background, to consider the main points...
Chapter
In this paper I defend three theses. The first is that the ideal of freedom, in its most plausible forms, displays a modally or robustly demanding character. The second is that there is a range of other values, central in moral life, that display the same character. And the third is that this structure has an enormous impact on how we should think...
Article
Full-text available
John Broome’s Rationality Through Reasoning is a trail-blazing study of the nature of rationality, the nature of reasoning and the connection between the two. But it may be somewhat misleading in two respects. First, his theory of reasoning is consistent with the meta-propositional view that he rejects; it develops a broadly similar theory but in m...
Chapter
Jean-Jacques Rousseau has been cast as a champion of Enlightenment and a beacon of Romanticism, a father figure of radical revolutionaries and totalitarian dictators alike, an inventor of the modern notion of the self, and an advocate of stern ancient republicanism. Engaging with Rousseau treats his writings as an enduring topic of debate, examinin...
Article
If language is to serve the basic purpose of communicating our attitudes, we must be constructed so as to form beliefs in those propositions that we truthfully assert on the basis of careful assent. Thus, other things being equal, I can rely on believing those things to which I give my careful assent. And so my ability to assent or dissent amounts...
Article
Classical republicanism and classical liberalism divide on the understanding of freedom, the one taking it as non-domination, the other as non-interference. And essentially the same division survives today, with serious policy implications, between neo-republicanism and neo-liberalism.
Chapter
Pettit addresses three claims that are often made among contemporary policy-makers, political scientists, and political theorists about democracy. The three claims are associated with the work of Isaiah Berlin, Joseph Schumpeter, and William Riker, respectively, and Pettit endeavours to show they are false and, indeed, revealingly false: they displ...
Article
The concept of freedom as non-domination that is associated with neo-republican theory provides a guiding ideal in the global, not just the domestic arena, and does so even on the assumption that there will continue to be many distinct states. It argues for a world in which states do not dominate members of their own people and, considered as a cor...
Article
This article defends two main arguments. The first examines the philosophical grounds for welcoming restorative justice reforms of the penal institution, drawing on a neo-republican conception of freedom. The second argument is that, despite appearances to the contrary, these reforms would fit with what psychology suggests about our morally evolved...
Article
According to republican theory, we are free persons to the extent that we are protected and secured in the same fundamental choices, on the same public basis, as one another. But there is no public protection or security without a coercive state. Does this mean that any freedom we enjoy is a superficial good that presupposes a deeper, political for...
Article
The desirability of restorative justice in the criminal justice system, as well as in systems of correction more generally, is that it advances the freedom of actual victims, potential victims and convicted offenders. This becomes clear on at least the neo-republican conception of freedom as non-domination. But, contrary to some readings of recent...
Article
Full-text available
On August 12th, 2015, the non-governmental human rights organization Amnesty International voted to put forward a policy supporting the "full" decriminalization of prostitution – i.e., both the buying and the selling of sex. The announcement proved controversial, and divided the human rights community as well as those who hold different positions o...
Article
Freedom is sometimes cast as the psychological ideal that distinguishes human beings from other animals; sometimes as the ethical ideal that distinguishes some human beings from others; and sometimes as the political ideal that distinguishes some human societies from others. This paper is an attempt to put the three ideals in a common frame, reveal...
Article
There are two rival images often offered of the state. In one the state serves like a nanny to provide for the welfare of its members; in the other it requires people to look after themselves, providing only the service of a night-watchman. But this dichotomy, which is routinely invoked in debates about public health and welfare provision in genera...
Chapter
Individualism as a doctrine in social ontology - in the theory of what sorts of entities are important in the social world - is usually contrasted with collectivism. Collectivism comes in two varieties, hard and soft. The hard variety of collectivism argues that social-structural laws and forces, as revealed in social science, undermine the image o...
Chapter
Consequentialism is the theory that the way to tell whether a particular choice is the right choice for an agent to make or to have made is to look at the relevant consequences of the decision: to look at the relevant effects of the decision on the world. It gives rise to many questions. Some are general questions as to how more precisely the doctr...
Article
John Broome has argued that there are distinct requirements of rationality and reason. Niko Kolodny has defended an error theory about requirements of rationality, arguing that requirements of rationality fall out of the requirements of reason, not in the straightforward sense that one has a reason to be rational as such, but in the sense that requ...
Article
Group agents have been represented as expressive fictions by those who treat ascriptions of agency to groups as metaphorical; as pragmatic fictions by those who think that the agency ascribed to groups belongs in the first place to a distinct individual or set of individuals; and as theoretical fictions by those who think that postulating group age...
Chapter
Social ontology gives an account of what there is in the social world, judged from the viewpoint of presumptively autonomous human beings. Three issues are salient. The individualism issue is whether social laws impose a limit on individual autonomy from above; the atomism issue is whether social interactions serve from below as part of the infrast...
Article
Two fallacies about corporations This paper seeks to identify and criticize two fallacies or mistakes that might dull our sense of dismay at the scenario of a fully corporatized world, weakening our commitment to guard against it. These two fallacies apply to commercial bodies but more generally to our sense of what is and what do corporate bodies....
Chapter
It is a platitude that I enjoy liberty just to the extent that I as an agent am in control of my choices. A good way into understanding the notion of liberty or freedom – I shall use these words interchangeably – is to ask what this platitude rules out (MacCallum 1967). How do we best interpret the three requirements it imposes, namely that I am th...
Book
According to republican theory, we are free persons to the extent that we are protected and secured in the same fundamental choices, on the same public basis, as one another. But there is no public protection or security without a coercive state. Does this mean that any freedom we enjoy is a superficial good that presupposes a deeper, political for...
Article
La democratie signifie d’abord et avant toute chose l’idee d’un controle populaire, et ce par l’ensemble des moyens possibles. Ces moyens donnent lieu a la legitimite. Mais ces controles populaires, du moins tels qu’ils sont entendus dans de nombreuses discussions, ne donnent pas lieu a la legitimite esperee. Les theories de la democratie ne partag...
Article
Full-text available
Let justice be a feature of the social order imposed by a state and legitimacy a feature of how it is imposed: one that makes the imposition acceptable. This paper argues that, so understood, legitimacy is quite a distinct concern from justice; that the core concern is with showing how state coercion is consistent with people’s being free citizens;...
Article
This book examines an unlikely development in modern political philosophy: the adoption by a major national government of the ideas of a living political theorist. When José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero became Spain's opposition leader in 2000, he pledged that if his socialist party won power he would govern Spain in accordance with the principles laid...
Article
For non-consequentialists an agent is justified in refusing to breach certain constraints even for the sake of apparently more important, neutral goals: even, indeed, for the sake of maximizing the overall satisfaction of those very constraints. To put the message in a slogan: 'Not by my hands'. But how can non-consequentialism offer a distinctive...
Article
The development of Hobbes's thinking about freedom illustrates a general thesis: that the conceptual shifts tracked in contextualist analysis may sometimes be 'semantic' rather than 'ontological' in character; they may be changes in how thinkers apply certain words and concepts to the social world, as they conceive of it, rather than changes in the...
Article
The idea of freedom is relevant to political philosophy on three main fronts: in determining what it is for a choice to be free, what it is for a citizen to be free, and what it is for a state to be free. The issue of freedom in relation to choice divides in two, however, because one question concerns freedom in the exercise of choice and another f...
Article
In Hobbes, freedom of choice requires nonfrustration: the option you prefer must be accessible. In Berlin, it requires noninterference: every option, preferred or unpreferred, must be accessible—every door must be open. But Berlin’s argument against Hobbes suggests a parallel argument that freedom requires something stronger still: that each option...
Book
Are companies, churches, and states genuine agents? Or are they just collections of individual agents that give a misleading impression of unity? This question is important, since the answer dictates how we should explain the behaviour of these entities and whether we should treat them as responsible and accountable on the model of individual agent...
Article
Means-based harms are frequently seen as forbidden, even when they lead to a greater good. But, are there mitigating factors? Results from five experiments show that judgments about means-based harms are modulated by: 1) Pareto considerations (was the harmed person made worse off?), 2) the directness of physical contact, and 3) the source of the th...
Article
Are companies, churches, and states genuine agents? Or are they just collections of individual agents that give a misleading impression of unity? This question is important, since the answer dictates how we should explain the behaviour of these entities and whether we should treat them as responsible and accountable on the model of individual agent...

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