These essays in political philosophy by T. M. Scanlon, written between 1969 and 1999, examine the standards by which social and political institutions should be justified and appraised. Scanlon explains how the powers of just institutions are limited by rights such as freedom of expression, and considers why these limits should be respected even when it seems that better results could be achieved by violating them. Other topics which are explored include voluntariness and consent, freedom of expression, tolerance, punishment, and human rights. The collection includes the classic essays “Preference and Urgency,” “A Theory of Freedom of Expression,” and “Contractualism and Utilitarianism,” as well as a number of other essays that have hitherto not been easily accessible. It will be essential reading for all those studying these topics from the perspective of political philosophy, politics, and law.
T. M. SCANLON is Alford Professor of Natural Religion, Moral Philosophy, and Civil Polity at Harvard University. He is the author of What We Owe to Each Other (Harvard University Press, 1998) and numerous articles on moral and political philosophy.