Philosophy Colloquium
Cindy Phillips
University of Maryland
The Coerciveness of the State and Presumption of Liberty

Does our government have a right to demand that you file your taxes by April 15th and a right to punish you if you don’t file your taxes on time? A dominant belief in political philosophy is that states must be entitled to authorize the use of coercion in order to be justified in coercing its subjects. Anarchists believe, however, that states invariably engage in unjustified uses of coercion. They argue that it is morally wrong to restrict any liberty-rights without sufficient justification.
In this essay, I argue that it is morally problematic only if a state restricts a special class of liberty-rights without a compelling moral justification. An implication of my account is that states can engage in justified uses of coercion without having an entitlement to tell you what to do.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015
3:30pm

KEY 0103