On becoming, freedom and aspiration – two philosophical accounts

Rafeeq Hasan, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Amherst College, discusses his work on freedom. He begins by situating his view within the republican tradition of political thought. Within this tradition, whether someone is free is not simply a matter of her being able to make certain choices but has to do also with the wider social conditions in which she makes these choices.

You can watch it HERE.

Agnes Callard, Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Chicago, discusses her recent book, The Agency of Becoming, which gives an account of aspiration–an account of what it is and how it is possible to become a better person in some specific respect (e.g. parenting, tennis-playing, music-appreciating). Callard begins with a paradox that any account of aspiration seems to face: the reasons someone has to become better in some specific respect are ones that are not available to her from the outset – they are only graspable once she has become what she has aspired to be – so, how can someone even aspire to be better in the first place?

You can watch it HERE.

These films are part of Into the Coast

a series of interviews with academic philosophers. We think of philosophy as a living discipline. Its questions and problems shift and develop over time and get much of their shape from the specific people posing and working through them. What we aim to do with this series is capture some of the state of play in contemporary philosophy by sitting down with the people in the thick of it. We hope that, by doing this in an informal setting, we can give viewers a sense, not just of what excites these people, but also of what it’s like to be in conversation with them.

This project was inspired by past philosophical series, such as Michael Chanan’s excellent Logic Lane. The introduction to our series and its title in fact come from an episode of Logic Lane featuring Gareth Evans and P.F. Strawson. You can learn more about Logic Lane at Michael Chanan’s website.

This series is the work of Octavian Busuioc, Katie Howe, and Tuomo Tiisala.

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