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Placement Practice Job Talk—Steven Coyne

Tuesday November 30, 2021, 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Steven Coyne is a recent graduate from our PhD program and a part-time assistant professor (teaching stream) in the Department of Philosophy at UTM. Please join us for his practice job talk, which will begin at 3:00 PM sharp. This talk will occur only on Zoom. Plan to log onto Zoom starting at 10 minutes before the hour.

Zoom link: https://utoronto.zoom.us/j/88643387273

Talk Title

The Normative Force of Civil Disobedience

Talk Abstract

In this paper, I consider a generally neglected topic in the philosophical literature on civil disobedience: how civil disobedience directly affects what we have reason to believe or what we have reason to do. Drawing on recent work on reason-giving, I draw a novel distinction between two kinds of theories of civil disobedience, corresponding to two ways that civil disobedience might directly affect someone’s reasons and thus lead them to change the law. Epistemic theories of civil disobedience understand the main direct effect of civil disobedience as communicating knowledge about the injustice of some law to fellow citizens. In contrast, will-dependent theories of civil disobedience understand the main direct effect of civil disobedience as giving fellow citizens genuinely new reasons for action, such as reasons to vote against certain policies. These reasons owe their existence to the will of the person practicing civil disobedience, rather than to conformity to pre-existing standards of justice. I argue that will-dependent theories are superior to epistemic theories. I conclude with a sketch of how will-dependent civil disobedience might fit into democratic politics, as a temporary and compensatory moral power for those who are excluded from the democratic process.



Tuesday November 30, 2021
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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