Freedom and Self-Domination

Stream: Panel 77 - Political Theory: Non-domination, Global Justice and the Limits of Marketized Governance 
Date: Wednesday, 28 September 2016
Time: 11.00 am – 12.30 pm


Republicans are concerned about domination in social structures and in relations between groups or individuals. This paper argues that domination can also occur intrapersonally. People dominate themselves by allowing emotions and desires to lead directly into action without concern for their other interests. In a republic, the voices of all citizens must be heard and considered before the whole community can identify and pursue the public good. Similarly, individuals should deliberate upon their set of interests and make rules for themselves to pursue their own conceptions of the good. These rules deny particular interests control, and strong emotions or desires cannot guide action without the approval of the whole. By ignoring these rules and allowing a particular interest control, we may say that one part of a fragmented self dominates the other parts. Just like in a republic, domination by the few leaves the majority powerless and is likely to cause more harm than good. The paper considers how the state can intervene to make sure citizens produce and follow their self-legislations. The state must remain cautious, however, as non-domination requires people to identify with and feel ownership in their rules. Intervention can easily be manipulative and therefore deny citizens such identification and ownership. One acceptable way to assist is to make options that are likely to be preferred seem more attractive, thus 'nudging' people away from self-domination.


Lars Moen (Presenter), Australian National University
I started my PhD at the Australian National University (ANU) in February 2016 after fours years at the University of Auckland where I completed my BA with first class honours in 2015. In Auckland I developed a broad interest in political theory, and in my honours year I focused especially on health policies under the supervision of Martin Wilkinson. At the ANU I have shifted my focus towards the republican ideal of non-domination. Under the supervision of Keith Dowding, John Uhr, and Philip Pettit I believe I will make progress towards my goal of becoming an academic.