JSI Seminar: The stability of bad things – Law School: Events JSI Seminar: The stability of bad things – Law School: Events

JSI Seminar: The stability of bad things

JSI Seminar: The stability of bad things

In-person event


Political philosophers have long been concerned with how best to ensure the stability of social orders. Stability is assumed to be a good, whether because whatever is good is better for being stably so, or because stability enables cooperation in the pursuit of whatever other goods we have.

But is stability always a good? What of the stability of systems of unfreedom, of forms of oppression and domination? Such systems are stable in the face of constant efforts to shift them. Why is this? Call this the question of the stability of bad things: why bad things are stable despite the fact that they are bad.

In this talk, I examine one central way in which systems of unfreedom are self-stabilizing: through shaping the moral psychology of agents within those systems. Unfreedom is not just a matter of having limited options for choice, but of the ways in which social systems foster in us particular ways of thinking, feeling, and acting. I argue that there are two ways in which this moral psychological shaping stabilizes systems of unfreedom. First, it generates support for those systems, by which I mean not just voluntary upholding of the system but a range of attitudes from consent to resigned participation. Second, it disrupts possibilities of collective resistance to those systems. Understanding these mechanisms of stability might better help us to first resist, and then transform, the systems of unfreedom to which we are all subject.

About the speaker:

Yarran Hominh

Yarran Hominh is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Bard College. His research sits at the intersection of social and political philosophy with moral psychology. He draws liberally from a variety of traditions of thought and practice, including the pragmatist tradition, the Black radical tradition, Buddhist modernism, and anti-racist, anti-colonial, and anti-imperial praxis from around the globe. He is working on a book entitled The Problem of Unfreedom and has papers recently published or forthcoming in Philosophers’ Imprint, The Pluralist, the Journal of Legal Philosophy, Comparative Philosophy and the Journal of Confucian Philosophy and Culture. He is also the Associate Editor of the APA Studies on Asian and Asian American Philosophers and Philosophies and is on the editorial board of The Philosopher.


Thursday 13 July 2023, 6-7.30pm AEST

Venue: Level 4, Common Room, New Law Building (F10), Eastern Avenue, Camperdown campus

CPD Points: 1.5


This event is proudly presented by the Julius Stone Institute of Jurisprudence at The University of Sydney Law School. 

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Jul 13 2023


6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

More Info



Common Room, Level 4, Sydney Law School
New Law Building (F10), Eastern Avenue, The University of Sydney (Camperdown Campus)


Professional Learning & Community Engagement
02 9351 0248

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