According to the “internal” conception (Quong), political liberalism aims to be publicly justifiable only to people who are reasonable in a special sense specified and advocated by political liberalism itself. One advantage of the internal conception allegedly is that it enables liberalism to avoid perfectionism. The paper takes issue with this view. It argues that once the internal conception is duly pitched at its fundamental, metatheoretical level and placed in its proper discursive context, it emerges that it (...) comes at the cost of public dogma. The paper examines this problem and argues that a plausible response to this problem is to go beyond the internal conception and adopt a more inclusive, dynamic conception. But this calls for a form of perfectionism. Thus, the internal conception of political liberalism, far from showing how liberalism can be had without perfectionism, effectively calls for perfectionism as a remedy for its problems. (shrink)
Rawls in his later philosophy claims that it is sufficient to accept political conception as true or right, depending on what one's worldview allows, on the basis of whatever reasons one can muster, given one's worldview (doctrine). What political liberalism is interested in is a practical agreement on the political conception and not in our reasons for accepting it. There are deep issues (regarding deep values, purpose of life, metaphysics etc.) which cannot be resolved through invoking common reasons (this (...) is the fact of free reason itself), and trying to resolve them would involve us in interminable debates and would hamper the practical task of agreement on the political conception. Given the absolute necessity of a political society which is stable and enduring, it is thus wise to avoid these issues in founding a political society and choosing its basic principles - this is the pragmatic part of Rawls's position. In this paper I argue that this strategy leads Rawls into a paradox: (i) although the intention is to stay independent of comprehensive doctrines, the political conception is in fact totally (and precariously) dependent on comprehensive doctrines (not just on one doctrine but on each and every major doctrine in society). It is dependent on them: for its conceptualisation as an independent idea, for its justification, for the check of its reasonability in relation to the external world, for the formation of identities and value inculcation and hence for the formation of its model citizen; (ii) the very search for independence makes the political conception more dependent on comprehensive doctrines, and by extension makes it potentially more prone to intervention in and tampering with comprehensive doctrines (it is enough to show that it is a strong conceptual possibility to cast doubt on the whole strategy). Thus, for example, the political conception relies on the hope that “firmly held convictions gradually change” and that it would “in fact . . . have the capacity to shape those doctrines toward itself”. The purpose of the Rawlsian conjecture is to give these “hopes” a concrete, practical form by giving advice to proponents of the comprehensive doctrine on how they can do all this and “try to show them that, despite what they might think, they can still endorse a reasonable political conception”. I further argue that this paradox can be overcome by making the core of political liberalism more flexible. (shrink)
John Rawls’s political liberalism and its ideal of public reason are tremendously influential in contemporary political philosophy and in constitutional law as well. Many, perhaps even most, liberals are Rawlsians of one stripe or another. This is problematic, because most liberals also support the redefinition of civil marriage to include same-sex unions, and as I show, Rawls’s political liberalism actually prohibits same- sex marriage. Recently in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, however, California’s northern federal district court reinterpreted the traditional rational (...) basis review in terms of liberal neutrality akin to Rawls’s “public reason,” and overturned Proposition 8 and established same-sex marriage. (This reinterpretation was amplified in the 9th Circuit Court’s decision upholding the district court on appeal in Perry v. Brown.) But on its own grounds Perry should have drawn the opposite conclusion. This is because all the available arguments for recognizing same-sex unions as civil marriages stem from controversial comprehensive doctrines about the good, and this violates the ideal of public reason; yet there remains a publicly reasonable argument for traditional marriage, which I sketch here. In the course of my argument I develop Rawls’s politically liberal account of the family by drawing upon work by J. David Velleman and H. L. A. Hart, and discuss the implications of this account for political theory and constitutional law. (shrink)
The central question animating liberal thought is: How can people live together as free and equal? This question is being reinvigorated by the emergence of what we will call neoclassical liberalism. Neoclassical liberals, such as David Schmidtz, Gerald Gaus, Charles Griswold, Jacob Levy, Matt Zwolinski, Will Wilkinson, and we, the authors, share classical liberalism’s commitment to robust economic liberties and property rights as well as modern or “high” liberalism’s commitment to social justice. On the neoclassical liberal view, (...) part of the justification for a society’s basic structure is that it produces conditions where citizens have substantive liberty, and can thus confront each other as free and equal. The basic structure of society is evaluable on the kinds of outcomes produced for citizens. Neoclassical liberals combine a robust commitment to social justice—a commitment as robust as that of high liberals—with a commitment to more extensive set of basic liberties than that advocated by high liberals. Neoclassical liberalism thus stakes out a claim to be the morally ambitious form of liberalism. (shrink)
In recent years the concepts of individual autonomy and political liberalism have been the subjects of intense debate, but these discussions have occurred largely within separate academic disciplines. Autonomy and the Challenges to Liberalism contains for the first time new essays devoted to foundational questions regarding both the notion of the autonomous self and the nature and justification of liberalism. Written by leading figures in moral, legal and political theory, the volume covers inter alia the following topics: (...) the nature of the self and its relation to autonomy, the social dimensions of autonomy and the political dynamics of respect and recognition, and the concept of autonomy underlying the principles of liberalism. (shrink)
In this paper, I propose to look closely at certain crucial aspects of the logic of Rawls' argument in Political Liberalism and related subsequent writings. Rawls' argument builds on the notion of comprehensiveness, whereby a doctrine encompasses the full spectrum of the life of its adherents. In order to show the mutual conflict and irreconcilability of comprehensive doctrines, Rawls needs to emphasise the comprehensiveness of doctrines, as their irreconcilability to a large extent emanates from that comprehensiveness. On the other (...) hand, in order to show the possibility and plausibility of the political liberal solution he needs to emphasise that most of these doctrines are reasonable: i.e., they are willing to cede a portion of their authority to political liberalism for the right reasons. Yet, if they are willing to cede a portion of their authority to a political conception they cannot be as comprehensive as we initially thought they were. All these elements highlight the tension in the argument itself. I suggest that many of these tensions can be removed by making Rawls' account more flexible. In this context I propose certain amendments to Rawls' account, which may overcome some of the tensions mentioned above. (shrink)
This paper provides a brief overview of the relationship between libertarian political theory and the Universal Basic Income (UBI). It distinguishes between different forms of libertarianism and argues that a one form, classical liberalism, is compatible with and provides some grounds of support for UBI. A classical liberal UBI, however, is likely to be much smaller than the sort of UBI defended by those on the political left. And there are both contingent empirical reasons and principled moral reasons for (...) doubting that the classical liberal case for UBI will be ultimately successful at all. (shrink)
Could we plausibly believe in the fundamental tenets of classical liberalism and, at the same time, support the state’s raising of immigration barriers? The thesis of this paper is that if we accept the main tenets of classical liberalism as essentially correct, we should regard immigration barriers as essentially illegitimate. Considered under ideal conditions, immigration barriers constitute an unjustified infringement on individuals’ ownership rights, since it is difficult to identify a purpose that such an infringement could have that (...) would outweigh the disadvantages created by eliminating important competitive pressures on governments. Considered under nonideal conditions, the problem is, roughly, that immigration barriers cannot be seen as the choice of a lesser evil in the face of either an expected extension of the redistributive state or an expected threat on liberal institutions. On the contrary, since they relax the constraints faced by governments, immigration barriers should be seen as a major contributor in creating the conditions for the perpetuation of the sort of political arrangements that classical liberals resist. If individual sovereignty is to be protected, the sovereignty of the state over a particular territory should not include a prerogative to determine who is to inhabit it. (shrink)
A critical discussion of Toula Nicolacopoulos' 'The Radical Critique of Liberalism'. I analyse her methodology of 'critical reconstructionism' and argue that considerations about the epistemic status of the inquiring practices leading to the formulation of liberal political theory need not affect the viability and desirability of liberal political practice, especially if we adopt a historically-informed realist account of the foundations of liberalism.
This collection of essays is dedicated to the memory of the late Harvard philosopher Robert Nozick, who died in 2002. The publication of Nozick's Anarchy, State, and Utopia in 1974 revived serious interest in natural rights liberalism, which, beginning in the latter half of the eighteenth century, had been eclipsed by a succession of antithetical political theories including utilitarianism, progressivism, and various egalitarian and collectivist ideologies. Some of our contributors critique Nozick's political philosophy. Other contributors examine earlier figures in (...) the liberal tradition, most notably John Locke, whose Second Treatise of Government, published in the late seventeenth century, profoundly influenced the American founders. The remaining authors analyze natural rights liberalism's central doctrines. (shrink)
In Liberalism and Pluralism, Richard Bellamy explores the challenges posed by conflicting values, interests and identities to liberal democracy. Conventional liberal thought is no longer suited to the complex, plural societies of today. By analyzing the three major strands of liberal thought as represented by Hayek, Rawls and Walzer, the author reveals how standard liberalism has tried to circumvent unstable settlements. This book establishes a more satisfactory alternative: namely, negotiated compromise.
This is the first in-depth critical appraisal in English of the political, legal, and cultural writings of Carl Schmitt, perhaps this century's most brilliant critic of liberalism. It offers an assessment of this most sophisticated of fascist theorists without attempting either to apologise for or demonise him. Schmitt's Weimar writings confront the role of technology as it finds expression through the principles and practices of liberalism. Contemporary political conditions such as disaffection with liberalism and the rise of (...) extremist political organizations have rendered Schmitt's work both relevant and insightful. John McCormick examines why technology becomes a rallying cry for both right- and left-wing intellectuals at times when liberalism appears anachronistic, and shows the continuities between Weimar's ideological debates and those of our own age. (shrink)
Table of Contents: Politics, morality, and pluralism -- Liberal morality and political legitimacy -- Political legitimacy and social justice -- Williams's concept of the political -- Legitimacy, stability, and morality -- The politics of morality -- A moral point of view -- Manners and morality -- Morality and conflict -- Moral conflict and political theory -- The morality of politics -- Feminism and multiculturalism -- A defense of culture -- Politics and normative conflict -- The political as moral viewpoint -- (...) Morality and politics: a review -- Political unity and pluralism -- The liberal archipelago -- Loose linkage and political legitimacy -- Political unity and the body politic -- Social justice and political unity -- The bonds of civility -- Nationhood and the liberal polity -- The nature of nationhood -- Pluralism and nationalism -- Nationalism and social justice -- Deliberative democracy and the liberal polity -- Liberalism and democracy -- Democracy and deliberative discourse -- The terms of deliberative discourse -- Normative discourse and political legitimacy -- Deliberative democracy and intragroup politics -- Group autonomy and intergroup discourse -- Politics, history, and reason -- Principle and justice in the liberal polity -- Liberal institutions and liberal ideals -- Stopping history -- Rationalism and politics. (shrink)
This work brings together leading defenders of Natural Law and Liberalism for a series of frank and lively exchanges touching upon critical issues of contemporary moral and political theory. The book is an outstanding example of the fruitful engagement of traditions of thought about fundamental matters of ethics and justice.
In this paper I look at three versions of the charge that liberalism’s emphasis on individuals is detrimental to community—that it encourages a pernicious disregard of others by fostering a particular understanding of the individual and the relation she has with her society. According to that understanding, individuals are fundamentally independent entities who only enter into relations by choice and society is seen as nothing more than a venture voluntarily entered into in order to better oneself. Communitarian critics argue (...) that since liberals neglect the degree to which individuals are dependent upon their society for their self-understanding and understanding of the good, they encourage individuals to maintain a personal distance from others in their society. The detrimental effect this distancing is said to have on communities is often called “asocial individualism” or “asocialism.” I argue that all three versions of the charge fail against liberalism and that liberalism—with its insistence on the normative import of individuals—is not detrimental to communities, but can actually foster strong communities. (shrink)
Moral relativism is often regarded as both fatally flawed and incompatible with liberalism. This book aims to show why such criticism is misconceived. First, it argues that relativism provides a plausible account of moral justification. Drawing on the contemporary relatavist and universalist analyses of thinkers such as Harman, Nagel and Habermas, it develops an alternative account of coherence relativism.
Agonism is a political theory that places contestation at the heart of politics. Agonistic theorists charge liberal theory with a depoliticization of pluralism through an excessive focus on consensus. This paper examines the agonistic critiques of liberalism from a normative perspective. I argue that by itself the argument from pluralism is not sufficient to support an agonistic account of politics, but points to further normative commitments. Analyzing the work of Mouffe, Honig, Connolly, and Owen, I identify two normative currents (...) of agonistic theory: emancipatory agonism, aimed at challenging violence and exclusion, and perfectionist agonism, aimed at the cultivation of nobility. From a normative perspective the former presents an internal challenge to liberalism, while the latter constitutes an external challenge to liberalism by providing a competing account of the ends of politics. Recognition of the distinction between emancipatory and perfectionist agonism is crucial in assessing the purchase of agonistic critiques of liberalism. Furthermore, this analysis draws us beyond the simple opposition between contestation and consensus. It is not simply a question of valuing genuine pluralism and therefore criticizing consensus; rather the question comes to be: what are the ends of politics? (shrink)
There is a tendency in contemporary jurisprudence to regard political authority and, more particularly, legal intervention in human affairs as having no justification unless it can be defended by what Laing calls the principle of modern liberal autonomy (MLA). According to this principle, if consenting adults want to do something, unless it does specific harm to others here and now, the law has no business intervening. Harm to the self and general harm to society can constitute no justification for legal (...) regulation or prohibition. So pervasive is this understanding of legal intervention in human affairs, that it is common now to encounter arguments in favour of permissive laws on, for example, private drug use, pornography, sexual and reproductive choice, based on the idea that to intervene in these areas would constitute a breach of the liberal ideal. The only alternative to modern liberal autonomy is assumed to be radical oppression, in which the State intervenes in the individual’s life to impose unwarranted measures designed to further its own ends. The legacy of Stalin, Hitler and other modern tyrants has undermined conceptual appeals to the common good. So widespread is this liberal assumption in the Western, English-speaking world that critics of the outlook embodied by MLA are customarily regarded with suspicion and charged with paternalism, narrow-mindedness and intolerance. Laing highlights contradictions inherent in the modern liberal tradition. She argues that there is a certain reliance on the notion of the common good within the natural law tradition that is instructive. According to this view, the common good constitutes a mean between two extremes: on the one hand, contemporary liberalism’s over-insistence on radical individual autonomy and, on the other hand, totalitarianism’s over-emphasis on collective social benefit. There is, I will argue, substantial terrain between the conceptual excesses of modern liberalism and oppressive tyranny that needs to be acknowledged and discussed. (shrink)
This article focuses on the following three novel and original philosophical approaches to classical liberalism: Den Uyl and Rasmussen’s perfectionist argument from meta-norms, Gaus’s justificatory model, and Kukathas’s conscience-based theory of authority. None of these three approaches are utilitarian or consequentialist in character. Neither do they appeal to the notion of a rational bargain as it is typical within contractarianism. Furthermore, each of these theory rejects the idea that classical liberalism should be grounded on considerations of interpersonal justice (...) such as those that are central to the Lockean tradition. It is argued that these three theories, despite their many attractive features, fail to articulate in a convincing manner some central classical liberal concerns. (shrink)
This article examines the attempts by John Rawls in the works published after "Political Liberalism" to engage with some of the feminist responses to his work. Rawls goes a long way toward addressing some of the major feminist-liberal concerns. Yet this has the unintended consequence of pushing justice as fairness in the direction of a more comprehensive, rather than a strictly political, form of liberalism. This does not seem to be a problem peculiar to Rawls: rather, any form (...) of liberalism hospitable to feminist concerns must be, at the very least, a partly comprehensive, rather than a strictly political, doctrine. (shrink)
This paper defends a distinctly liberal approach to public health ethics and replies to possible objections. In particular, I look at a set of recent proposals aiming to revise and expand liberalism in light of public health's rationale and epidemiological findings. I argue that they fail to provide a sociologically informed version of liberalism. Instead, they rest on an implicit normative premise about the value of health, which I show to be invalid. I then make explicit the unobvious, (...) republican background of these proposals. Finally, I expand on the liberal understanding of freedom as non-interference and show its advantages over the republican alternative of freedom as non-domination within the context of public health. The views of freedom I discuss in the paper do not overlap with the classical distinction between negative and positive freedom. In addition, my account differentiates the concepts of freedom and autonomy and does not rule out substantive accounts of the latter. Nor does it confine political liberalism to an essentially procedural form. (shrink)
In this paper I defend Richard Rorty against two critics of his moral and political philosophy—Will Kymlicka and Robert Talisse—to whom Rorty himself never responded directly. I argue that Kymlicka misrepresents Rorty’s so-called “ethnocentrism” by giving it a needlessly affirmative reading, and that Talisse, by failing to appreciate the distinction between “making truth claims” and “proposing experiments” misunderstands both Rorty’s use of Darwin and his antifoundational liberalism.
Mill and Liberalism was first published in 1963. Initial reactions varied from the uncomprehending to the splenetic. In the intervening quarter-century the intellectual climate has changed as reflected by its greatest exemplar, to warrant fresh consideration. Unlike many commentators, before or subsequently, Maurice Cowling endeavours to view Mill's thought as a coherent whole with a specific proselytising purpose, geared to the emasculation of Christianity and its replacement by a libertarian public doctrine. This interpretation aroused much contemporary hostility, and in (...) a new introduction Cowling locates Mill and Liberalism within the broader intellectual history of post-war Britain, looking at the various strands of the 'new Right' and relating the academic to more specifically journalistic or political manifestations. (shrink)
Public justification-based accounts of liberal legitimacy rely on the idea that a polity’s basic structure should, in some sense, be acceptable to its citizens. In this paper I discuss the prospects of that approach through the lens of Gerald Gaus’ critique of John Rawls’ paradigmatic account of democratic public justification. I argue that Gaus does succeed in pointing out some significant problems for Rawls’ political liberalism; yet his alternative, justificatory liberalism, is not voluntaristic enough to satisfy the desiderata (...) of a genuinely democratic theory of public justification. Moreover I contend that — pace Gaus — rather than simply amending political liberalism, the claims of justificatory liberalism cast serious doubts on the sustainability of the project of grounding liberal-democratic legitimacy through the idea of public justification. (shrink)
This paper is an attempt to identify certain consonances between contemporary liberalism and classical pragmatism. I identify four of the most trenchant criticisms of classical liberalism presented by pragmatist figures such as James, Peirce, Dewey, Addams, and Hocking: that liberalism overemphasizes negative liberty, that it is overly individualistic, that its pluralism is suspect, that it is overly abstract. I then argue that these deficits of liberalism in its historical incarnations are being addressed by contemporary liberals. Contemporary (...) liberals, I show, have taken on board a surprising number of classical pragmatist insights and have responded to a surprising number of classical pragmatist criticisms. I thus argue that both contemporary pragmatism and contemporary liberalism have much to gain by joining forces. (shrink)
This essay assess the compatibility of Eva Kittay's dependency critique with Rawlsian political liberalism. I argue for the inclusion of a modified version of Kittay's revisions within Rawlsian theory in order to yield a theory that suppports a substantial subset of dependency work. Beyond these selected changes, however, I argue that Kittay's other proposed changes should not be included because they are incompatible with Rawls, and furthermore, their incorporation does not yield a theory that includes utter dependents.
Does John Rawls’s political liberalism require the institutional separation between state and religion or does it allow space for moderate forms of religious establishment? In this paper I address this question by presenting and critically evaluating Cécile Laborde’s recent claim that political liberalism is ‘inconclusive about the public place of religion’ and ‘indeterminate about the symbolic dimensions of the public place of religion’. In response to Cécile Laborde, I argue that neither moderate separation nor moderate establishment, intended as (...) regimes of religious governance that fix specific interpretations of principles of social and economic justice, are compatible with Rawls’s political liberalism. Furthermore, I claim that a state can ensure that both its religious and non-religious citizens enjoy a sense of self-respect and identification with their polity by leaving issues of symbolic establishment and separation open to democratic debate. I conclude that Rawls’s political liberalism transcends the standard distinction between moderate establishment and moderate separation and leaves the public place of religion open to the democratic contestation of ordinary legislative politics. (shrink)
Some claim that liberalism is detrimental to individuals as it encourages anomie which disallows social confirmation of beliefs, without which the individual is left with uncertainty about her judgments that is opposed to firm conviction, and thus, confidence and self-respect. All agree that self-respect is important; disagreement arises about how self-respect is best supported. Both anomie and loss of self-respect are meant to follow from liberalism’s unwillingness to endorse a conception of the Good. This is the “anomie challenge.” (...) I begin by discussing toleration and neutrality and motivating the problem. I then look at responses to the challenge by liberal pluralists and liberalism’s critics. After dismissing both, I argue that the right to choose is the good to be advocated and that it allows for supportive, but voluntary, social structures. I conclude that liberalism better supports self-respect than the alternatives. (shrink)
In the history of modern liberal thought, the work of F.A. Hayek stands out as among the most significant contributions since that of J.S. Mill. In this book, Kukathas critically examines the nature and coherence of Hayek's defense of liberal principles, attempting both to identify its weaknesses and to show why it makes an important contribution to contemporary political theory. Kukathas argues that Hayek's defense of liberalism is unsuccessful because it rests on presuppositions which are philosophically incompatible. In his (...) view, the unresolved dilemma of Hayek's political philosophy is how to mount a systematic defense of liberalism if one emphasizes the limited capacity of human reason. Hayek's social philosophy, he argues, offers a significant theory of the nature of social processes, and is therefore an important account of how this must constrain our choice of political principles. (shrink)
A liberal society seeks not to impose a single way of life, but to leave its citizens as free as possible to choose their own values and ends. It therefore must govern by principles of justice that do not presuppose any particular vision of the good life. But can any such principles be found? And if not, what are the consequences for justice as a moral and political ideal? These are the questions Michael Sandel takes up in this penetrating critique (...) of contemporary liberalism. Sandel locates modern liberalism in the tradition of Kant, and focuses on its most influential recent expression in the work of John Rawls. In the most important challenge yet to Rawls' theory of justice, Sandel traces the limits of liberalism to the conception of the person that underlies it, and argues for a deeper understanding of community than liberalism allows. (shrink)
This book advances a theory of personal, public and political justification. Drawing on current work in epistemology and cognitive psychology, the work develops a theory of personally justified belief. Building on this account, it advances an account of public justification that is more normative and less "populist" than that of "political liberals." Following the social contract theories of Hobbes, Locke and Kant, the work then argues that citizens have conclusive reason to appoint an umpire to resolve disputes arising from inconclusive (...) public justifications. The rule of law, liberal democracy and limited judicial review are defended as elements of a publicly justified umpiring procedure. (shrink)
The author of this paper compares Kant’s notion of cosmopolitan right with contemporary liberal cosmopolitanism of such theorists like James Bohman (Professor of Philosophy at Saint Louis University) and David Held (Professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science). These two theorists bring Kant’s cosmopolitan right and reshape it by taking into consideration the process of globalization and the fact of pluralism. It is necessary to investigate how far these authors have changed the insight into Kant’s cosmopolitan right (...) and its implications as well as how deeply the authors reshape the classical liberal political vocabulary. (shrink)
This is a review of Horacio Spector's book on the occassion of its publiaction in paperback form in 2007. The version of the review posted here includes a number of footnotes and references that had to be deleted in the final published version.
Jürgen Habermas has emerged as a sharp, and occasionally harsh, critic of the Bush administration’s policies since the Iraq war. Habermas has developed this critique in several of his short pieces and interviews, some of which are available in fine collections in both English and other languages. However, the occasional and journalistic character of Habermas’ political interventions often hide the theoretical basis of his critique. In this paper, I argue that Habermas’ critique of the Bush administration’s foreign policy emanates from, (...) and is founded upon, his conception of modernity, and specifically his views about the relationship between “particularity” and “generality.” The purpose of this essay is to demonstrate how Habermas’ critique can actually be read as a critique of particularism, which Habermas sees operating behind American (and British) foreign policy, and which, in his view, compromises the key achievements of modernity (especially in its Kantian version.). (shrink)
"When John Dewey died in 1952, he was memorialized as America's most famous philosopher, revered by liberal educators and deplored by conservatives, but universally acknowledged as his country's intellectual voice. Many things conspired to give Dewey an extraordinary intellectual eminence: He was immensely long-lived and immensely prolific; he died in his ninety-third year, and his intellectual productivity hardly slackened until his eighties." "Professor Alan Ryan offers new insights into Dewey's many achievements, his character, and the era in which his scholarship (...) had a remarkable impact. He investigates the question of what an American audience wanted from a public philosopher - from an intellectual figure whose credentials came from his academic standing as a philosopher, but whose audience was much wider than an academic one." "Ryan argues that Dewey's "religious" outlook illuminates his politics much more vividly than it does the politics of religion as ordinarily conceived. He examines how Dewey fit into the American radical tradition, how he was and was not like his transatlantic contemporaries, why he could for so long practice a form of philosophical inquiry that became unfashionable in England after 1914 at the latest."--BOOK JACKET. (shrink)
This book offers a distinctive treatment of Hayek's ideas as a "research program". It presents a detailed account of aspects of Hayek's intellectual development and of problems that arise within his work, and then offers some broad suggestions as to ways in which the program initiated in his work might be developed further. The book discusses how Popper and Lakatos' ideas about "research programs" might be applied within political theory. There then follows a distinctive presentation of Hayek's intellectual development up (...) to The Road to Serfdom, together with critical engagement with his later ideas. The discussion draws on a full range of his writings, makes use of some neglected earlier work on social theory and law, and also draws on archival material. This book should appeal to anyone with an interest in Hayek's work, as well as to those with a concern for twentieth century intellectual history. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to consider the following question: To what extent is it permissible for a liberal democratic state to suppress the spread of illiberal ideas (including anti-democratic ideas)? I will discuss two approaches to this question. The first can be termed the clear and imminent danger approach, and the second the preventive approach. The clear and imminent danger approach implies that it is permissible for liberal states to suppress the spread of illiberal doctrines and ideas only (...) if they pose a clear and imminent danger to security and/or the stability of liberal democratic institutions. The preventive approach, which is the one that I will propose and defend, goes further than this: it implies that it can also be permissible for a liberal state to restrict the spread of illiberal doctrines and ideas in order to prevent certain extremist illiberal groups (which I will term offensive illiberal groups) from gaining increased popular and political support, and in order to prevent such groups from becoming significant and powerful political actors. However, the evaluation and choice of liberty-limiting suppressive measures should be guided and restricted by two principles or side-constraints: the significance principle and the least restrictive means principle. (shrink)
Despite the enormous influence of Michel Foucault in gender studies, social theory, and cultural studies, his work has been relatively neglected in the study of politics. Although he never published a book on the state, in the late 1970s Foucault examined the technologies of power used to regulate society and the ingenious recasting of power and agency that he saw as both consequence and condition of their operation. These twelve essays provide a critical introduction to Foucault's work on politics, exploring (...) its relevance to past and current thinking about liberal and neo-liberal forms of government. Moving away from the great texts of liberal political philosophy, this book looks closely at the technical means with which the ideals of liberal political rationalities have been put into practice in such areas as schools, welfare, and the insurance industry. This fresh approach to one of the seminal thinkers of the twentieth century is essential reading for anyone interested in social and cultural theory, sociology, and politics. (shrink)
The utlitiarian economist and Nobel Laureate John Harsanyi and the liberal egalitarian philosopher John Rawls were two of the most eminent scholars writing on problems of social justice in the last century. The contributions to this volume, addressed to an interdisciplinary audience, pay tribute to them by investigating themes that figure prominently in their work. In some cases, the contributors explore issues considered by Harsanyi and Rawls in more depth and from novel perspectives. In others, the contributors use the work (...) of Harsanyi and Rawls as points of departure for pursuing the construction of new theories for the evaluation of social justice. (shrink)
Contemporary liberal political justification is often accused of preaching to the converted: liberal principles are acceptable only to people already committed to liberal values. Catriona McKinnon addresses this important criticism by arguing that self-respect and its social conditions should be placed at the heart of the liberal approach to justification. A commitment to self-respect delivers a commitment to the liberal values of toleration and public reason, but self-respect itself is not an exclusively liberal value.
Introduction: Beyond neoliberalism -- Friedrich A. Hayek : markets, planning, and the rule of law -- The politics of utopia and the liberal theory of totalitarianism : Karl Popper and Michael Foucault -- Pluralism and positive freedom : toward a critique of Isaiah Berlin -- From the Crick report to the Parekh report : multiculturalism, cultural difference and democracy -- Foucault, liberal education and the issue of autonomy -- Saving Martha Nussbaum from herself : help from friends she didn't know (...) she had -- Social democracy in the 21st century : Hobson, Keynes and complexity. (shrink)
Focusing on the development of justificatory discourse on global governance, Steffek examines how differing conceptions of distributive and social justice have played a role in negotiations in the domains of security, economics, and protecting the environment.
In pre-revolutionary Russia, law was criticized from many points of view: in the name of Christ or the name of Marx, in defense of anarchism or of an idealized autocracy, on behalf of the "Russian soul" or of universal progress towards socialism. Examining the rich tradition of hostility to law, Walicki presents those Russian thinkers who boldly challenged this legacy of anti-legal prejudice by developing liberal philosophies of law, vindicating the value of human rights and rule of law. He discusses (...) six leading theorists--Boris Chicherin, Vladimir Soloviev, Leon Petrazycki, Pavel Novgorodtsev, Bogdan Kistiakovsky, and Sergius Hessen--all of whom viewed law in the context of wider philosophical and social problems. (shrink)
Following a comparative study of canonical liberal philosophers Hayek and Rawls, Juliet Williams reveals a new direction for conceptualizing limited government in the twenty-first century, highlighting the central role that democratic politics--rather than philosophical principles--should play in determining the uses and limits of state power in a liberal regime. Williams draws on recent scholarship in the field of democratic theory and cultural studies in arguing for a shift in the ways liberals approach the study of politics.
Recent defenses of same-sex marriage and polygamy have invoked the liberal doctrines of neutrality and public reason. Such reasoning is generally sound but does not go far enough. This paper traces the full implications of political liberalism for marriage. I argue that the constraints of public reason, applied to marriage law, entail ‘minimal marriage’, the most extensive set of state-determined restrictions on marriage compatible with political liberalism. Minimal marriage sets no principled restrictions on the sex or number of (...) spouses and the nature and purpose of their caring relationships, nor on which marital rights are exchanged, and whether they are exchanged reciprocally or asymmetrically. Minimal marriage supports adult care networks, urban tribes, friendships, and other forms of relationships as well as ‘traditional’ marriages. I provide a publically justifiable rationale for a legal framework supporting non-dependent caring relationships between adults. The argument is that caring relationships are primary goods, and that liberal justice accordingly requires legal frameworks supporting caring relationships. Minimal marriage is one such framework. (shrink)
The critique of utilitarianism forms a crucial subplot in the complex analysis of social justice that John Rawls develops in his first book, A Theory of Justice.1 The weaknesses of utilitarianism indicate the need for an alternative theory, and at many stages of the argument the test for the adequacy of the new theory that Rawls elaborates is whether it can be demonstrated to be superior to the utilitarian rival. The account of social justice shifts in the transition to Rawls’s (...) second great book, Political Liberalism. The account of what is wrong with utilitarianism undergoes revision as well. In this essay I examine both the initial critique of utilitarianism and its transformation in Rawls’s later writings. To anticipate my conclusion: Rawls’s proposal that we should maximin rather than maximize leads to an interesting standoff. The argument for maximin is not compelling, but straight additive maximization of the utilitarian sort is revealed to be merely one possible function among many, any of which (for all we know) correct morality might instruct us to maximize. Rawls further urges that utilitarianism goes astray in taking the maximandum, the thing to be maximized, to be utility rather than primary social goods. The argument for primary social goods is not compelling, but it does not follow that utility alone is to be maximized. The espousal of the ideal of legitimacy in Political Liberalism does not affect these conclusions, and the arguments.. (shrink)
Since Rawls's Political Liberalism is by now the subject of a wide and deep philosophical literature, much of it excellent in quality, it would be foolhardy to attempt to say something about each of the major issues of the work, or to sort through debates that can easily be located elsewhere. I have therefore decided to focus on a small number of issues where there is at least some chance that a fresh approach may yield some new understanding of (...) the text: Rawls's distinction between “reasonable” and “unreasonable” comprehensive doctrines; the psychological underpinnings of political liberalism; and the possibility that political liberalism might be extended beyond the small group of modern Western societies that Rawls's historical remarks suggest as its primary focus. I also include a discussion of the much-debated issue of civility and public reason, which could hardly be avoided given its prominence in the book's reception. This paper should therefore be read not as a comprehensive account of the work but as one person's attempt to grapple, very incompletely and imperfectly, with a book that is as great as any philosophy has seen on this topic of great human urgency. (shrink)
This paper points to a lost and ignored strand of argument in the writings of liberalism's earliest defenders. These “classical” liberals recognized that market liberty was not always compatible with individual liberty. In particular, they argued that labor markets required intervention and regulation if workers were not to be wholly subjugated to the power of their employers. Functioning capitalist labor markets (along with functioning credit markets) are not “natural” outgrowths of exchange, but achievements hard won in the battle against (...) feudalism. Further, and crucially, the existence of such markets required closing off other market choices. Footnotesa I would like to thank the other contributors to this volume, and its editors, for their helpful comments on an earlier draft of this essay. (shrink)
Carl Schmitt's critique of liberalism portrays liberalism as a supple political ideology, one which moves constantly between the horns of several connected dilemmas. In particular, liberalism cannot decide whether it is based on substantive political values or is neutral or substanceless. John Rawls's 'political liberalism' is argued to exemplify-and to fall prey to-Schmitt's critique. Rawls tries to find a shallow justification for liberalism, one which claims no truth for itself and is thus neutral between many (...) different ideologies. But his justification, as he is forced to admit, presupposes the substantive commitments he wants to avoid. Hence, liberalism has to move beyond Rawls and accept its place within democracy. Key Words: Carl Schmitt democracy John Rawls liberalism neutrality. (shrink)
Liberals claim that some perceptual experiences give us immediate justification for certain perceptual beliefs. Conservatives claim that the justification that perceptual experiences give us for those perceptual beliefs is mediated by our background beliefs. In his recent paper ?Basic Justification and the Moorean Response to the Skeptic?, Nico Silins successfully argues for a non-Moorean version of Liberalism. But Silins's defence of non-Moorean Liberalism leaves us with a puzzle: why is it that a necessary condition for our perceptual experiences (...) to justify us in holding certain perceptual beliefs is that we have some independent justification for disbelieving various sceptical hypotheses? I argue that the best answer to this question involves commitment to Crispin Wright's version of Conservatism. In short, Wright's Conservatism is consistent with Silins's Liberalism, and the latter helps to give us grounds for accepting the former. (shrink)
Following hints in the writings of Isaiah Berlin, some political theorists hold that the thesis of value pluralism is true and that this truth provides support for political liberalism of a sort that prescribes wide guarantees of individual liberty.1 There are many different goods, and they are incommensurable. Hence, people should be left free to live their own lives as they choose so long as they don’t harm others in certain ways. In a free society there is a strong (...) presumption in favor of letting individuals act as they choose without interference by others. William A. Galston has developed this argument with exemplary clarity.2 He is wrong. The idea that value incommensurability is a reason for toleration of diverse ways of life and protection of the individual’s freedom to choose among diverse ways of life is a mistake. In his paper for this volume, What Value Pluralism Means for Legal Constitutional Orders, Galston undertakes to resolve a further problem, namely, whether the presumption in favor of individual liberty that value pluralism establishes can be kept within bounds. In his words, “Within the pluralist framework, how is the basis for a viable political <span class='Hi'>community</span> to be secured?”3 On one construal of these words, Galston is seeking the solution to a non-problem. Value pluralism does not establish any normative presumption in favor of liberty, so the worry “does this presumption hold without limit” or, “are there good reasons that constrain it at some point”, is otiose. On another construal, Galston is addressing a different question: if most of the members of society came to believe that given value pluralism, they ought to be left free to live according to their own conception of values, then would a “decently ordered public life” be impossible to sustain?4 On the second construal, the issue being posed is a genuine empirical question, which philosophical arguments cannot answer. (shrink)
Two dogmas of liberalism in the therapeutic setting are challenged: (1) that patients have a ready-made ability to act autonomously; and (2) that non-intervention by physicians is the best strategy for protecting the autonomy of patients. Recognition of the impact of illness upon autonomous behavior forms the basis of this challenge. It is suggested that autonomy is better conceived as a process of personal growth by which patients become better able to overcome the disruptive effects of illness. The physician (...) is assigned an active role in the achievement of this therapeutic goal. The implications of this new liberal theory are illustrated by reference to the informed consent issue. (shrink)
This essay argues that neutral paternalism (NP) is problematic for antiperfectionist liberal theories. Section 2 raises textual evidence that Rawlsian liberalism does not oppose and may even support NP. In section 3, I cast doubt on whether NP should have a place in political liberalism by defending a partially comprehensive conception of the good I call “moral capacity at each moment,” or MCEM, that is inconsistent with NP. I then explain why MCEM is a reasonable conception on Rawls's (...) account of reasonableness. In section 4, I handle concerns that showing NP fails the test of Rawlsian public justification is a nonstarter since NP does not threaten any of our basic liberties. I sketch an argument that, if this is so, the burden is on political liberalism to defend its particular account of basic liberties, since MCEM is reasonable on Rawlsian grounds. More precisely, MCEM is a conception that challenges the way Rawls characterizes basic liberties; that is, his list of basic liberties should be more inclusive by political liberalism's own structural commitments, including Rawls's “liberal principle of legitimacy.” On this revised account, political liberalism can mount a strong opposition to hard legal paternalism. (shrink)
Under free institutions the exercise of human reason leads to a plurality of reasonable, yet irreconcilable doctrines. Rawls's political liberalism is intended as a response to this fundamental feature of modern democratic life. Justifying coercive political power by appeal to any one (or sample) of these doctrines is, Rawls believes, oppressive and illiberal. If we are to achieve unity without oppression, he tells us, we must all affirm a public political conception that is supported by these diverse reasonable doctrines. (...) The first part of this essay argues that the free use of human reason leads to reasonable pluralism over most of what we call the political. Rawls's notion of the political does not avoid the problem of state oppression under conditions of reasonable pluralism. The second part tries to show how justificatory liberalism provides (1) a conception of the political that takes seriously the fact that the free use of human reason leads us to sharply disagree in the domain of the political while (2) articulating a conception of the political according to which the coercive intervention of the state must be justified by public reasons. (shrink)
This essay considers the tension between political liberalism and gender equality in the light of social construction and multiculturalism. The tension is exemplified by the work of Martha Nussbaum, who tries to reconcile a belief in the universality of certain liberal values such as gender equality with a political liberal tolerance for cultural practices that violate gender equality. The essay distinguishes between first? and second?order conceptions of autonomy, and shows that political liberals mistakenly prioritise second?order autonomy. This prioritisation leads (...) political liberals to seek to limit state interference in individuals' choices. However, the essay argues that if options, choices and the preferences which lead to them are socially influenced or constructed, it is no longer clear that state non?interference secures autonomy. Instead, it becomes a matter of justice what the content of the social or state influence is, which options are open to people, and political liberalism cannot deal with many forms of injustice. Rather than emphasising state neutrality, liberals should endorse state prohibition of practices which cause significant harm to those who choose them, if they are chosen only in response to unjust norms. (shrink)
In this paper I reconstruct and defend John Rawls' The Law of Peoples, including the distinction between liberal and decent peoples. A “decent people” is defined as a people who possesses a comprehensive doctrine and uses that doctrine as the ground of political legitimacy, while liberal peoples do not possess a comprehensive doctrine. I argue that liberal and decent peoples are bound by the same normative requirements with the qualification that decent peoples accept the same normative demands when they are (...) reasonably interpreted and from their comprehensive doctrine, not from political liberalism. Normative standards for peoples appear in a law of peoples in two places: as internal constraints carried forward from political liberalism which regulate domestic affairs and as principles derived from a second original position that provide the normative ground for a society of peoples. This first source of normative standards was unfortunately obscured in Rawls' account. I use this model to defeat the claim that Rawls has accommodated decent peoples without sufficient warrant and to argue that all reasonable citizens of both liberal and decent peoples would accept the political authority of the state as legitimate. Although my reconstruction differs from Rawls on key points, such as modifying the idea of decency and rejecting a place for decent peoples within a second original position, overall I defend the theoretical completeness of political liberalism and show how a law of peoples provides reasonable principles of international justice. (shrink)
Political parties have only recently become a subject of investigation in political theory. In this paper I analyse religious political parties in the context of John Rawls’s political liberalism. Rawlsian political liberalism, I argue, overly constrains the scope of democratic political contestation and especially for the kind of contestation channelled by parties. This restriction imposed upon political contestation risks undermining democracy and the development of the kind of democratic ethos that political liberalism cherishes. In this paper I (...) therefore aim to provide a broader and more inclusive understanding of ‘reasonable’ political contestation, able to accommodate those parties (including religious ones) that political liberalism, as customarily understood, would exclude from the democratic realm. More specifically, I first embrace Muirhead and Rosenblum’s (Perspectives on Politics 4: 99–108 2006) idea that parties are ‘bilingual’ links between state and civil society and I draw its normative implications for party politics. Subsequently, I assess whether Rawls’s political liberalism is sufficiently inclusive to allow the presence of parties conveying religious and other comprehensive values. Due to Rawls’s thick conceptions of reasonableness and public reason, I argue, political liberalism risks seriously limiting the number and kinds of comprehensive values which may be channelled by political parties into the public political realm, and this may render it particularly inhospitable to religious political parties. Nevertheless, I claim, Rawls’s theory does offer some scope for reinterpreting the concepts of reasonableness and public reason in a thinner and less restrictive sense and this may render it more inclusive towards religious partisanship. (shrink)
Nico Silins has proposed and defended a form of Liberalism about perception that, he thinks, is a good compromise between the Dogmatism of Jim Pryor and others, and the Conservatism of Roger White, Crispin Wright, and others. In particular, Silins argues that his theory can explain why having justification to believe the negation of skeptical hypotheses is a necessary condition for having justification to believe ordinary propositions, even though (contra the Conservative) the latter is not had in virtue of (...) the former. I argue that Silins's explanation is unsuccessful, and hence that we should prefer either White/Wright-style Conservatism (which can explain this necessary condition) or Pryor-style Dogmatism (which denies that this is a necessary condition). (shrink)
In 1978 and 1979, the concept of governmentality was introduced by Foucault in his lectures at the Collège de France. Foucault finds the genealogical origin of this concept in the Christian figure of the shepherd. From this starting-point, he then embarks on a eulogy of liberalism, in stark contrast to the Marxist critique of political economy. These two grand narratives of modern liberalism differ markedly in their political and philosophical presuppositions. The latter, rooted in the tradition of natural (...) law, is directed towards revolution. The former, rooted in the tradition of English radicalism, is directed towards resistance. Beyond their different reconstructions of liberalism, however, the article concludes by showing how these two narratives, can in fact be combined in a politically fruitful way. (shrink)
In Political Liberalism, Rawls emphasizes the practical character and aims of his conception of justice. Justice as fairness is to provide the basis of a reasoned, informed and willing political agreement by locating grounds for consensus in the fundamental ideas and values of the political culture. Critics urge, however, that such a politically liberal conception of justice will be designed merely to ensure the stability of political institutions by appealing to the currently-held opinions of actual citizens. In order to (...) evaluate this concern, I suggest, it is necessary to focus on the normative character of Rawls's analysis. Rawls argues that justice as fairness is the conception of justice that citizens of modern democratic cultures should choose in reflective equilibrium, after reflecting fully upon their considered judgments regarding justice. Since judgments in reflective equilibrium are grounded in considered judgment, rather than situated opinions, I argue that the criticism fails. Key Words: justification objectivity political liberalism Rawls reflective equilibrium. (shrink)
Three interlocking features appear to underpin Rawlss justification of political compliance within the context of political liberalism: namely, a specific territory; a specific society; and a specific conception of what it is to be reasonable. When any one feature is subject to critical examination, while presupposing that the other two are acceptable, Rawlss argument for political compliance may seem persuasive. But when all three features are critically examined together, his justification of political compliance within political liberalism can be (...) seen to lack cogency. Thus, political compliance fails to be justified by a free-standing political liberalism. Key Words: philosophical anarchism political duties political liberalism political obligation Rawls. (shrink)
In the few decades a new conception of liberalism has arisen—the “public reason view” — which developed out of contractualist approaches to justifying liberalism. The social contract theories of Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau all stressed that the justification of the state depended on showing that everyone would, in some way, consent to it. By relying on consent, social contract theory seemed to suppose a voluntarist conception of political justice: what is just depends on what people choose to agree (...) to — what they will. As Hume famously pointed out, such accounts seem to imply that ultimately political justice derives from promissory obligations, which the social contract theory leaves unexplained.1 Only in Kant, I think, does it become clear that consent is not fundamental to a social contract view: we have a duty to agree to act according to the idea of the “original contract.”2 Rawls’s revival of social contract theory in A Theory of Justice also made no important appeal to consent, though the apparatus of an “original agreement” of sorts persisted. The aim of the original position, Rawls announced, is to settle “the question of justification…by working out a problem of deliberation.”3 As the question of public justification takes center stage (we might say as contractualist liberalism becomes justificatory liberalism), it becomes clear that posing the problem of justification in terms of a deliberative or a bargaining problem is simply a heuristic: the real issue.. (shrink)
At the core of political liberalism is the claim that political institutions must be publicly justified or justifiable to be legitimate. What explains the significance of public justification? The main argument that defenders of political liberalism present is an argument from disagreement: the irreducible pluralism that is characteristic of democratic societies requires a mode of justification that lies in between a narrowly political solution based on actual acceptance and a traditional moral solution based on justification from the third-person (...) perspective. But why should we take disagreements seriously? This – epistemic question – has not received the attention it deserves so far. I argue that the significance of public justification can be explained through the possibility of reasonable disagreement. In a reasonable disagreement, the parties hold mutually incompatible beliefs, but each is justified to hold the belief they do. I shall use the notion of a reasonable disagreement to explain the possibility of an irreducible pluralism of moral and religious doctrines and, on that basis, why the justification of political institutions has to be public. (shrink)
My concern in this chapter is the place of autonomy within liberalism, understood as a public morality.1 To what extent is liberal morality necessarily committed to some doctrine of autonomy, and what is the nature of this doctrine? I begin (§2) by briefly explicating my understanding of liberalism, which is based the fundamental liberal principle—that all interferences with action stand in need of justification. Section 3 then defends my first core claim: given a certain compelling view of the (...) nature of moral reasons, the fundamental liberal principle presupposes a Kantian conception of morally autonomous agents. I then consider (§4) an implication of the fundamental liberal principle when applied to public morality and the law, viz. that an interference with liberty must be justified to everyone. This public justification principle, I argue, constitutes a version of Kant’s categorical imperative; thus liberalism is committed to not only autonomy of the will (§3) but a substantive morality of autonomy. By the end of section 4 I will have shown that liberal morality is committed to what may be broadly deemed a “Kantian” conception of moral autonomy. (shrink)
This paper explores the question whether perfectionism amounts to a political doctrine that is more attractive than liberalism. I try to show that an egalitarian liberalism that is open to questions of value and that holds a conception of limited neutrality can meet the perfectionist challenge. My thesis is that liberalism can be reconciled easily with perfectionism read as a moral doctrine. Perfectionism as a political doctrine equally stays within the value framework of liberalism. Finally, I (...) try to show that liberalism can give an account of civic virtue that is a sufficient basis for developing the normative guidelines of a rich and meaningful social life. (shrink)
moral foundation of liberalism can be defended in one of three ways: (1) as a conception one accepts as a result of one’s affirmation of political liberalism, (2) as a conception one must affirm as a presupposition for political liberalism, or (3) as a philosophical truth about practical reason and persons. The first option makes it impossible to distinguish a moral consensus from a modus vivendi . The second renders the moral foundation of liberalism dogmatic because (...) it affirms a moral foundation for which no justification is provided. Since there are good reasons for rejecting (1) and (2), that leaves option (3). I argue that (3) should be the preferred option for liberals who advance liberalism as a political doctrine with a moral foundation. (shrink)
One prominent criticism of John Rawlss The Law of Peoples is that it treats certain non-liberal societies, what Rawls calls decent hierarchical societies, as equal participants in a just international system. Rawls claims that these non-liberal societies should be respected as equals by liberal democratic societies, even though they do not grant their citizens the basic rights of democratic citizenship. This is presented by Rawls as a consequence of liberalisms commitment to the principle of toleration. A number of critics (...) have claimed that Rawlss treatment of these non-liberal societies is symptomatic of a more general problem with political liberalism, namely, its reliance on toleration as its fundamental principle. Against this view, I argue that the principle of toleration should not be understood as political liberalisms fundamental principle. This is revealed through a consideration of the normative basis of what Rawls calls the Liberal Principle of Legitimacy. A correct understanding of political liberalisms fundamental principle, which I claim is a principle of equal civic respect for citizens, shows that Rawlss toleration of non-liberal societies is in fact a misapplication of political liberalism to the global domain. Moreover, I explain that political liberalism must assert that the principle of equal civic respect for citizens is the correct principle to govern the public political relations of citizens in all pluralist societies, and that most decent hierarchical societies are pluralist in nature. Identifying political liberalisms fundamental principle as that of equal civic respect for citizens helps to render political liberalism, in both the domestic and international domains, a more coherent and compelling approach to thinking about fundamental political issues. Key Words: civic respect international relations justice political liberalism Rawls toleration. (shrink)
The later Rawls attempts to offer a non-comprehensive, but nonetheless moral justification in political philosophy. Many critics of political liberalism doubt that this is successful, but Rawlsians often complain that such criticisms rely on the unwarranted assumption that one cannot offer a moral justification other than by taking a philosophically comprehensive route. In this article, I internally criticize the justification strategy employed by the later Rawls. I show that he cannot offer us good grounds for the rational hope that (...) citizens will assign political values priority over non-political values in cases of conflict about political matters. I also suggest an alternative approach to justification in political philosophy (that is, a weak realist, Williams-inspired account) that better respects the later Rawls’s concern with non-comprehensiveness and pluralism than either his own view or more comprehensive approaches. Thus, if we take reasonable pluralism seriously, then we should adopt what Shklar aptly called ‘liberalism of fear’. (shrink)
Isaiah Berlin repeatedly attempted to derive liberalism from value pluralism. It is generally agreed that Berlin's arguments fail; however, neo-Berlinians have taken up the project of securing the entailment. This paper begins with an account of why the Berlinian project seems attractive to contemporary theorists. I then examine Berlin's argument. With this background in place, I argue that recent attempts by William Galston and George Crowder to rescue the Berlinian project do not succeed.
Are liberalism and perfectionism compatible? In this study Steven Wall presents and defends a perfectionist account of political morality that takes issue with many currently fashionable liberal ideas but retains the strong liberal commitment to the ideal of personal autonomy. He begins by critically discussing the most influential version of anti-perfectionist liberalism, examining the main arguments that have been offered in its defense. He then clarifies the ideal of personal autonomy, presents an account of its value and shows (...) that a strong commitment to personal autonomy is fully compatible with an endorsement of perfectionist political action designed to promote valuable pursuits and discourage base ones. His study is a timely and original contribution to one of the most important contemporary debates in political philosophy. (shrink)