Philosophy and Social Criticism 30 (3):303-313 (2004)
|Abstract||In this paper I outline and criticize Judith Shklars and Richard Rortys liberalism of fear. Both political thinkers believe liberalism to be characterized by a fundamental opposition to cruelty , which they regard as the least liberal of the features that may distinguish any given human community. In order to demonstrate the limits of the ShklarRorty thesis, I make use, in the first place, of John Kekess critique of liberalism as to show that liberalism allows for cruelty in so far as it grants wider margins of agency to the members of the community. In the second place, I make use of Cesare Beccarias reflections on the cruelty implied by liberalism assuch, in so far as this political doctrine endorses the institutions of penal justice and private property. Key Words: Cesare Beccaria cruelty ethics fear justice John Kekes liberalism politics property punishment Richard Rorty Judith Shklar.|
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