Liberal Values vs. Liberal Social Philosophy

Philosophy and Theology 4 (3):283-296 (1990)
Abstract
This paper is a contribution toward the clarification of the meaning and evolution of liberalism. Liberal values are distinguished from liberal social philosophy. Liberal values, specifically individuality, government by consent of the governed, and private property in a capitalist economy are modern despite their clear classical and medieval origins. Liberal social philosophy consists of ontological realism, epistemological individualism, and axiological teleology. Liberal social philosophy is classical, and it reflects an attempt to rationalize modern values with a classical philosophy. I argue that liberal social philosophy is seriously flawed, and when it is modified for modern contexts it is inimical to liberal values. Liberal values are better understood and more defensible, as well as more compatible with nonliberal values, when divorced from liberal social philosophy
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