Past Events

October 31, 2014

Paper Abstract

This paper meant to set the framework for a book on the theory of basic democracy, i.e. democracy before liberalism. The goal of the book is analytic: to distinguish democracy as such from democratic liberalism. The aim is not to show that liberalism (defined as a commitment to inherent and universal human rights and to distributive justice) is otiose, but rather to determine how much of what liberals value is (and is not) delivered by democracy as such.

October 24, 2014

Paper Abstract

In this paper, I use Adam Smith's account to discuss the normative stakes of economic growth. I distinguish two scenarios of growth in Smith - "trickle down" and "working one's way up" - that look quite different from a normative perspective. I then argue that Smith endorsed growth not only for its distributive results in the sense of higher welfare for the poor, but also because of the way in which it would align individual interests with the public good, and because it would strengthen the independence of individuals in a republican sense.

June 4, 2014

Physical attractiveness and other components of a person’s overall appearance are common heuristics, leading to such outcomes as better hiring prospects, lower prison sentences and greater electoral success. While some components of a candidate’s appearance, like facial symmetry, are constant, others, such as facial hair, clothing, hairstyle, intonation and body language can be modified, and candidates spend much energy and money grooming and crafting them. But what is the added value of such modifications at the ballot? Employing professional actors and state-of-the-art professional video editing, this cross country research design uses twelve pairs of political campaign ads, shot to be identical to its paired ones except for a single manipulation.

May 30, 2014

Alan Patten is Professor of Politics at Princeton University. A citizen of Canada and the United States, he has a B.A. from McGill, an M.A. from Toronto and an M. Phil. and D. Phil. (1996) from Oxford. He previously taught at McGill University and the University of Exeter, and spent the spring of 2004 teaching two graduate seminars at the State Islamic University of Indonesia in Jakarta.