The Philosophy Department is pleased to announce that Hans Pedersen (IUP) will give a talk titled “Guns and Freedom” on Friday, October 21, at 3:30 p.m. in the Humanities and Social Sciences Building, room 206.
This paper is an attempt to
develop a charitable understanding of the importance of gun ownership.
Particularly, I am going to focus on the oft-mentioned connection between guns
Supporters of gun rights frequently claim that an important reason
to own guns and to keep access to guns fairly open is that guns protect and
enhance freedom. Recently, Firmin DeBrabander has explored this connection
between guns and freedom from a philosophical perspective in his Do Guns Make Us Free?
There is much to
admire about DeBrabander’s work. However, DeBrabander fails to provide any
clear, precise definition of freedom, and I think he is overly dismissive of
the possible contributions of guns to a certain sort of freedom.
Here, I will
suggest that we think of political freedom along the lines of Phillip Pettit’s
concept of freedom as non-domination. When we start with this definition of
freedom, we will see that there are legitimate ways in which guns can
contribute to freedom. This is not to say that I will argue for extremely lax
gun regulation. Instead, I think that once we acknowledge and clarify the
legitimate role that guns can play in enhancing freedom, we will be better
situated to come up with philosophically principled limits on gun ownership.