Applications for this Colloquium are now closed

Co-sponsored by Liberty Fund, Inc., this is an intellectually demanding and stimulating weekend colloquium that explores the foundations of liberty in a series of graduate-level, text-based, guided Socratic discussions.

  • This colloquium is for Acton alumni who are currently enrolled in or have recently completed graduate level work. 
  • This colloquium will consist of 2 Lectures and 6 guided Socratic discussion sessions.
  • Readings will be provided to all accepted participants. The discussion sessions are text-based and so selected participants are required to prepare appropriately and participate fully in all sessions.

Evaluating the Idea of Social Justice

This conference examines the writings of Hayek and Rawls alongside other writers to explore the various conceptions of what constitutes “social justice,” and to evaluate those conceptions against the understanding the term evokes in contemporary debates about justice and political order. The all-encompassing claims made on behalf of “social justice” in many contemporary debates seems to call for a reduction of personal liberty and a concomitant increase in state power to distribute material goods and the resources of private enterprise in common. Is social justice a set of conditions that enable human beings in the age of modern commerce to achieve their fullest potential? If so, what make up those conditions? Can contemporary references to “social justice” be reconciled with such conditions? Why or why not? Would pursuit of these conditions be consistent with the pursuit of equality?