Close this search box.
Symposium I - Freedom and Domination
Cécile Laborde (Oxford) and Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen (Aarhus)

2024 Joint Session of the Aristotelian Society and the Mind Association

University of Birmingham

12 - 14 July 2024

Symposium I – Freedom and domination


Cécile Laborde

University of Oxford

Picture 1

Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen

Aarhus University

Being Free, Feeling Free. Race, Gender and Republican Domination.



Members of racial and sexual minorities often live in the fear of arbitrary interference from others – rogue police officers or sexual harassers. Are they unfree, by dint of believing they are unfree? I draw on the republican theory of freedom – according to which we are unfree if we are subjected to a risk of arbitrary interference – to offer a qualified positive answer. I clarify the role of probabilistic judgements about risk in republican political theory. I argue that under specific circumstances, diagnoses of republican freedom can be indexed to a certain belief about probability – what it is warranted for someone to believe, in light of their distinctive epistemic perspective.

Laborde contrasts Default Republicanism with Labordian Republicanism. The latter view ‘answers’ the Probabilistic and the Anti-Psychology Objections to Default Republicanism. The former objection holds that the mere possibility of unconstrained intervention does not matter for unfreedom, whereas the latter contends that it is by virtue of the experience-independent fact of servitude that one is unfree. I argue that people sympathetic to these objections should have reservations about Labordian Republicanism. In any case, republicans should reject the Anti-Psychology Objection. More generally, Pluralist Republicanism might be preferable to Labordian Republicanism.


Cécile Laborde is Professor of Political Theory at Oxford University and holds the Nuffield Chair of Political Theory. She holds a DPhil from Oxford and has taught at Exeter, King’s College London and University College London. She is a Fellow of the British Academy, as well as of the Académie Royale de Belgique, and has held visiting positions in Paris and Princeton. She is the author of Pluralist Thought and the State (2000), Critical Republicanism (2008) and Liberalism’s Religion (2017), which was published by Harvard University Press and won the 2018 Spitz Prize. Her work on republicanism, non-domination, secularism, and religion has appeared in Journal of Political Philosophy, Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy, Journal of Applied Philosophy, Law and Philosophy, Legal Theory, among others. She is the co-editor of the Cambridge Elements in Political Philosophy.

Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen (D.Phil., Oxford) is a professor in political theory at, and director of, the Centre for the Experimental-Philosophical Study of Discrimination, Aarhus University, Denmark. He has published widely on equality, discrimination, and standing to blame and praise. Recently, he has developed an interest in x-phi studies of discrimination. His most recent book is The Beam and the Mote (New York: Oxford University Press, 2023). 

About the Joint Session

the postgraduate session

Student Subsidies

The Supplementary Volume