David Gordon writes:
“In The Ethics of Liberty, Murray Rothbard proposed a natural law foundation for libertarianism. In doing so, he rejected as not fully adequate the distinctive brand of utilitarian ethics defended by his teacher Ludwig von Mises. Was he correct in his criticisms of Mises? If you are attracted to both views, must you choose between them?
Both Mises and Rothbard’s positions have aroused a great deal of discussion. Hans Hoppe decisively intervened in this discussion with his proposal, a libertarian version of argumentation ethics. Hoppe’s approach accepts Rothbard’s conclusions but establishes them on a rather different basis. Rothbard argued from an Aristotelian –Thomist basis: Hoppe, like his teacher Jürgen Habermas, owes much to Kant. In his argument, Hoppe claims that to deny that you own yourself involves a performative contradiction. Is he right?
These are among the topics that Danny Sanchez and I propose to examine. Students who take this course will acquire a good grounding in these three major theories and be in a position to form their own opinion about them.
Further, looking at these three theories offers an excellent way to study the foundations of ethics. Are ethical judgments objectively true? Is ethics merely a social institution, or is it more than this?
In an introductory lecture on October 27, I’ll describe the three positions and explain how they raise the foundational issues just mentioned. Daniel Sanchez, whose penetrating posts have shown him to be a foremost expositor and defender of Mises’s ethics, will give three lectures on that subject. I’ll give two more lectures, one each on Rothbard and Hoppe. We look forward to seeing you in the course.”
The video lectures are online. Lectures will be Thursday evenings, 7:00-8:30 pm EDT. They will be recorded and made available for enrolled students to download.
All readings for the course will be free and available online.
Grades and Certificates
The final grade will depend on quizzes. Taking the course for a grade is optional. The Mises Academy is currently not accredited, but this course is worth 3 credits in our own internal system. Feel free to ask your school to accept Mises Academy credits. You will receive a digital Certificate of Completion for this course if you take it for a grade, and a Certificate of Participation if you take it on a paid-audit basis.
If you drop the course during its first week (7 calendar days), you will receive a full refund, minus a $25 processing fee. If you drop the course during its second week, you will receive a half refund. No refunds will be granted following the second week.