The Current State of Libertarian Political Philosophy

Convener: Andreas Wolkenstein (University of Tübingen/Hamburg)

Currently, a lot is going on in libertarian political and economic thinking. Libertarian politicians offer alternative views on what to do against the fiscal crisis or government surveillance by Western states. In addition, there is a lively debate among libertarians about its connections to, among others, the idea of social justice, long thought to be in opposition to libertarianism, and about the proper understanding of libertarianism. As an example, consider the debates about and within so-called Bleeding Heart Libertarianism. At the same time, the current political atmosphere does not really appear to be open to libertarian ideas. The economic crisis, globally as well as within the EU, has created massive opposition that calls for more collectivist solutions as opposed to the libertarian economic ideas (e.g. from the Austrian School).

All this provides good reason to take a closer look at what is currently going on within libertarian political philosophy. But while the examples mentioned focus more or less on the economic implications of libertarianism, it is worthwhile to emphasize that there is much more to discover within libertarian political philosophy. The workshop will thus address a series of issues that connect with current political discussions, but that also take into account some broader issues within libertarian thinking. There are roughly three main themes around which the workshop will be organized: (1) libertarianism as political philosophy and its economic implications; (2) libertarianism and political decision-making; (3) libertarian solutions for current political problems (“applied libertarianism”).

(1) The first theme is based on the apparent focus of libertarianism on economic matters. In this regard, possible issues could include, but are not limited to: libertarianism and social justice, Bleeding Heart Libertarianism, libertarianism and business ethics, libertarianism and its relation to conservatism;

(2) This theme explores the libertarian contribution to political decision-making. It could include: political decision-making processes, design of political institutions, anarcho-capitalism and political/social order; democracy and libertarianism;

(3) Finally, to gain more knowledge about what libertarianism amounts to and what it implies, a look at “applied libertarianism” should be taken. This theme focuses on issues that either appear to be underrepresented in libertarian theorizing, or to have the potential to be an up-and-coming issue for libertarian political philosophy. It is here that issues, among others, such as security/surveillance (national security, international relations), internet governance (cyber-libertarianism) or water governance could be addressed and are welcomed.

We specifically welcome papers that argue from a libertarian point of view, but also encourage critical engagement with libertarian political philosophy. The leading question should be what the current state of libertarian philosophy is.


Submission Details

Those interested in submitting a paper are invited to send it to Both extended abstracts and full papers (suitable for a 25-30 minutes presentation) can be submitted. The final papers will be circulated in advance among the participants of the workshop.

The deadline for the abstracts/papers is May 31, 2014 (decision about acceptance by June 15, 2014), the final papers must be sent to the workshop convener no later than August 8, 2014.

Please include author information (name, affiliation, contact address) in your submission. If your paper is selected, please do not simply read your paper, but rather present its ideas and arguments, perhaps “enhanced”, if you like, by using PowerPoint or other means.

For further inquiries, please refer to the workshop convener Andreas Wolkenstein ( For further information about MANCEPT 2014, please go to

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