I present a diversity of theories of freedom which I compare and contrast. I begin with a brief summary of my own recently published theory, which I show to be superior to the other theories considered. I find that there are various weaknesses or errors in the other theories and that my own theory is the only one that gives an adequate explanation of why freedom, or a free society, is desirable.
Efficiency requires legislative political institutions. There are many ways efficiency can be promoted, and so an ongoing legislative institution is necessary to resolve this choice in a politically sustainable and economically flexible way. This poses serious problems for classical liberal proposals to constitutionally protect markets from government intervention, as seen in the work of Ilya Somin, Guido Pincione & Fernando Tesón and others. The argument for the political nature of efficiency is set out in terms of both Pareto optimality and (...) aggregate welfare maximisation, and similar arguments can be generalised to other social values. (shrink)
We explain libertarian thought about family and children, including controversial issues in need of serious attention. To begin our discussion of marriage, we distinguish between procedural and substantive contractarian approaches to marriage, each endorsed by various libertarians. Advocates of both approaches agree that it is a contract that makes a marriage, not a license, but disagree about whether there are moral limits to the substance of the contract with only advocates of the substantive approach accepting such. Either approach, though, offers (...) advantages over the current licensing system, so we discuss paths from that to a contractarian system. We also discuss the concept of marriage itself, the ages of consent for marriage, sexual activity, and reproduction, as well as how marriages can be dissolved, and coercion that sometimes occurs in marriage. We then turn to children. We first discuss reproductive freedom and then discuss the moral relationship between children and parents, especially considering stewardship, propertarian, and best interests approaches (we also touch on anti-natalism). One of the biggest issues facing parents is how to properly raise and educate children; we discuss this in depth and consider the sort of schooling that should be offered in a free society. Since children lack the requisite ability to consent, they cannot choose their education; how to respond to this is of the utmost importance for libertarians. As we note, the same issue of consent looms large for many forms medical treatment of children. (shrink)
This handbook is the first definitive reference on libertarianism that offers an in-depth survey of the central ideas from across philosophy, politics and economics, including applications to contemporary policy issues.
Liberalism has a complicated and sometimes uneasy relationship with truth. On one hand, liberalism requires that truth be widely valued and widely shared. It demands that governments be truthful and that citizens have ready access to numerous truths. Some liberals even take facilitating the discovery and dissemination of truth to be part of the raison d’être of liberal institutions. On the other hand, liberalism is averse to proclaiming or enforcing truth. It detaches truth from political legitimacy and deems certain truths (...) unfit to serve as bases of government. Some liberals have even suggested that liberal theory must work “without the concept of truth.” How has liberalism come to both demand truth and eschew it? This introductory section provides the beginnings of an answer by surveying some of the origins and core elements of liberal thought. (shrink)
This article presents a reinterpretation of John Locke's contribution to debates about the interest rate in the seventeenth century. It suggests that his argument that England should maintain the ‘natural’ rate, rather than impose a lower rate, was motivated by his theological, moral, and social conceptions of credit and its dependence on trust. In order to solve the endemic shortage of metal coin limiting the growth of monetary exchange in England, Locke stressed that the higher, ‘natural’ rate of interest would (...) facilitate interpersonal borrowing and lending among neighbours, allowing currency to flow more freely around the country. By contrast, while he acknowledged that institutional creditors such as goldsmith-bankers could quicken the circulation of money by issuing debt instruments like bills of exchange, he saw institutional credit as a threat to the moral community. Not only did he question how people could rationally trust financiers without any epistemic apprehension of their personal probity, but he moreover doubted whether individuals accumulating so much money were likely to act trustworthily. Finally, using an otherwise unstudied dialogue about the Bank of England, this article argues Locke extended his criticisms about the threats posed by private banks to the country's nascent system of public credit. (shrink)
Mill thinks our attitudes should be held in a way that’s active and ‘alive’. He believes attitudes that lack these qualities—those held dogmatically, or in unreflective conformity—are inimical to our well-being. This claim then serves as a premiss in his argument for overarching principles of liberty. He argues that attitudinal vitality, in the relevant sense, relies upon people experiencing attitudinal conflict, and that this necessitates a prioritization of personal liberties. I argue that, pace Mill, contestation isn’t required for attitudinal vitality. (...) I describe one species of attitudinal vitality that isn’t reliant upon conflict. (shrink)
Study on the "philosophy of history" of three mexican intellectuals in the 19th century./ Estudio sobre la "filosofía de la historia" positivista y liberal en tres intelectuales mexicanos del siglo XIX,.
This paper concerns the growing political polarization in the U.S. and the challenges faced by political activists in their effort to mobilize around struggles and demands for policy changes. We argue that basic income can serve as a key policy around which social movements and political activists of different beliefs systems – feminist activists, racial justice activists, liberal egalitarians, Marxists-socialists, and libertarians – could form an overlapping consensus. This would allow them to have a common political goal without having to (...) reach agreement over fundamental values, thus gaining more political visibility and increasing their ability to promote socio-political change. (shrink)
Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom has been interpreted as a general warning against state intervention in the economy.1 We review this argument in conjunction with Hayek’s later work and discern an institutional thesis about which forms of state intervention and economic institutions could threaten personal and political freedom. Economic institutions pose a threat if they allow for coercive interventions, as described by Hayek in The Constitution of Liberty: by giving someone the power to force others to serve one’s will by (...) threatening to inflict harm, in the absence of general rules of conduct. According to the logic of the argument, welfare-state provisions are not coercive insofar as they do not allow the identification and discriminatory treatment of individuals. By contrast, we claim that a structure of coercion is likely to emerge from the command-and-control nature of protectionist institutions and immigration restrictions currently advocated by the radical right. (shrink)
Americans today don't trust each other and their institutions as much as they once did, fueling destructive ideological conflicts and hardened partisanship. In Trust in a Polarized Age, political philosopher Kevin Vallier argues that to build social trust and reduce polarization, we must strengthen liberal democratic institutions--high-quality governance, procedural fairness, markets, social welfare programs, freedom of association, and democracy. These institutions not only create trust, they do so justly, by recognizing and respecting our basic rights.
Edmundson has written an admirably concise yet powerful book. It blends a critical account of Rawls’ work with an original case for democratic socialism hewn from Rawlsian stone. In my opinion, this case has some flaws but it remains a timely contribution to the enduring quest for justice and social stability.
The modern concept of ideology was established by the liberal politician and philosopher Destutt de Tracy, with the objective of creating an all-embracing and general science of ideas, which followed the sensualist and empiricist trend initiated by Locke that culminated in the positivism of Comte. Natural selection and immunity are two key concepts in the history of biology that were strongly based on the Malthusian concept of struggle for existence. This concept wrongly assumed that population grew faster than the means (...) of existence. This “natural” law contained implicitly the idea that the poor and least gifted would not survive. This idea led to the progressive development of the concept of natural selection, whose definitive version was given by Darwin. Mechnikov took the concepts of struggle for existence and natural selection and conceived infectious diseases as a struggle between a host and its invader, the so-called phagocytosis theory. This theory created the necessity to possess mechanisms to discriminate between the own and the foreign, and led to the conception of the immune self. These concepts were not developed from ideas coming from perceptions or sensations, but from ideas coming from their values: individual interest, inevitable inequality, property, utility and profit. Values are ideals that constitute an ideological matrix which exerts a numinous activity and influence the development of our future actions. In consequence, science and its practice cannot avoid and ignore the values that drive them and impulse them towards certain directions. (shrink)
Can John Stuart Mill’s radicalism achieve liberal egalitarian ends? Joseph Persky’s The Political Economy of Progress is a provocative and compelling discussion of Mill’s economic thought. It is also a defense of radical political economy. Providing valuable historical context, Persky traces Mill’s intellectual journey as an outspoken proponent of laissez-faire to a cautious supporter of co-operative socialism. I propose two problems with Persky’s optimistic take on radical social reform. First, demands for substantive equality have led past radicals to endorse exclusionary (...) nationalist and eugenics policies. It pushes some contemporary radicals towards illiberal interventions into intimate social life. Second, the radical critique of capitalism relies on an account of profit that neglects the epistemic function of private-property markets. Once this is acknowledged, capitalism retains some progressive credentials against radical alternatives. (shrink)
Settler colonialism is structured in part according to the principle of civilizational progress yet the roots of this doctrine are not well understood. Disparate ideas of progress and practices related to colonial dispossession and domination can be traced back to the Enlightenment, and as far back as ancient Greece, but there remain unexplored logics and continuities. I argue that civilizational progress and settler colonialism are structured according to the opposition between politics governed by reason or faith and the figure of (...) the child as sinful or bestial. Thus, it is not contingent, but rather necessary that justificatory frameworks of European empire and colonialism depict Indigenous peoples as children. To illustrate how the theoretical link between Indigenous peoples and children emerges not as a simple analogy, but rather, as the source of the premodern/modern and savage/civilized binaries, I trace the various historical iterations of the political/childhood opposition through the classical, medieval, enlightenment, and modern eras. I show how the model of civilizational progress from a premodern and savage state of childhood continues to serve as the model for settler colonial exclusion and domination of Indigenous peoples. (shrink)
La pregunta si Wittgenstein fue un filósofo liberal ha recibido menos atención que la de si fue un filósofo conservador, pero, como Robert Greenleaf Brice ha defendido recientemente, hay muchos indicios de liberalismo en algumas de sus observaciones, y algunos filósofos, como Richard Eldridge, han sostenido que hay un cierto tipo de liberalismo que se sigue de la filosofía de su última etapa. Richard Rorty ha sacado también conclusiones liberales a partir de la perspectiva filosófica que se basa en la (...) obra de Wittgenstein y Alice Crary ha sugerido que las lecciones aprendidas de su propria interpretación de Wittgenstein "reflejan en formas de vida social que incorporan los ideales de la democracia liberal". (shrink)
Debates on the practical relevance of ideal theory revolve around Sen's metaphor of navigating a mountainous landscape. In *The Tyranny of the Ideal*, Gerald Gaus presents the most thorough articulation of this metaphor to date. His detailed exploration yields new insight on central issues in existing debates, as well as a fruitful medium for exploring important limitations on our ability to map the space of social possibilities. Yet Gaus's heavy reliance on the navigation metaphor obscures questions about the reasoning by (...) which ideal theories are justified. As a result, Gaus fails to notice the ways in which his theory of the Open Society resembles the ideal theories he aims to dismiss. Ironically, Gaus winds up neglecting the ways in which the Open Society might tyrannize our efforts to realize greater justice. (This article is part of a symposium on Gaus's *The Tyranny of the Ideal*.). (shrink)
This collection seeks to excavate the tradition of radical liberal class analysis, which predated and inspired Marx's reflections on class. Liberal class theory is distinctive because it regards relationship with the state as constitutive rather than just indicative of social class membership. Along with an introduction that frames the discussion historically and conceptually, Social Class and State Power provides readers with easy access to provocative texts from the early modern period to the present.
This article examines the flaw in the libertarian conception of the right to property. It argues that libertarians fail to recognize that, in a settled society, the right to amass property must be qualified and limited by the right of all people - including those without property - to have access to sufficient property for a satisfactory life.
ABSTRACT The question of whether Wittgenstein was a liberal philosopher has received less attention than the question of whether he was a conservative philosopher but, as Robert Greenleaf Brice has recently argued, there are hints of liberalism in some of his remarks, and some philosophers, like Richard Eldridge, have argued that a kind of liberalism follows from Wittgenstein’s later philosophy. Richard Rorty has also drawn liberal conclusions from a philosophical viewpoint which draws on Wittgenstein’s work and Alice Crary has suggested (...) that the lessons learned from her own interpretation of Wittgenstein are “reflected in forms of social life that embody the ideals of liberal democracy”. Here I will argue both that Wittgenstein was not a liberal and that his philosophy does not imply a liberal viewpoint. The authors discussed here do not demonstrate that any broad ideological conclusions fol-low from Wittgenstein’s philosophical remarks. -/- RESUMEN La pregunta si Wittgenstein fue un filósofo liberal ha recibido menos atención que la de si fue un filósofo conservador, pero, como Robert Greenleaf Brice ha defendido recientemente, hay muchos indicios de liberalismo en algunas de sus observaciones, y algunos filó-sofos, como Richard Eldridge, han sostenido que hay un cierto tipo de liberalismo que se sigue de la filosofía de su última etapa. Richard Rorty ha sacado también conclusiones libera-les a partir de la perspectiva filosófica que se basa en la obra de Wittgenstein y Alice Crary ha sugerido que las lecciones aprendidas de su propia interpretación de Wittgenstein se “reflejan en formas de vida social que incorporan los ideales de la democracia liberal”. En este artículo, voy a defender tanto que Wittgenstein no era un liberal como que su filosofía no implica una perspectiva liberal. Los autores de que se discuten aquí no prueban que de las observaciones filosóficas de Wittgenstein se desprendan amplias conclusiones ideológicas de ningún tipo. (shrink)
Mark Pennington argues political systems should be decentralized in order to facilitate experimental learning about distributive justice. Pointing out the problems with Pennington's Hayekian formulation, I reframe his argument as an extension of the Millian idea of 'experiments in living.' However, the experimental case for decentralization is limited in several ways. Even if decentralization improves our knowledge about justice, it impedes the actual implementation of all conceptions of justice other than libertarianism. I conclude by arguing for the compatibility of egalitarian (...) redistribution with the epistemic virtues of markets pointed out by Hayek. (shrink)
Latin American religious political thought includes colonial Spanish and Portuguese ideologies that preceded independence but have survived into the post-independence era, authoritarian ideologies supportive of military governments in the twentieth century, and progressive liberation theologies. In this article, I present a distinct tradition: a version of classical liberal thought. This tradition is skeptical of big government, opposed to caste systems, supportive of a high degree of federalism, uneasy with militarism, and supportive of democratic institutions while affirming religious social norms. This (...) ideology was developed in northeastern Brazil in the early nineteenth century by a Carmelite activist named Frei Caneca (Brother Mug), who published a newspaper titled the Typhis Pernambucano (Tiphys of the State of Pernambuco). (shrink)
Libertarian Quandaries is a slim volume of tight reasoning that makes a resolute case for libertarianism. Libertarianism is “the social philosophy that identifies individual liberty as the most fundamental social value, and by extension treats moral cooperation as the only morally permissible form of social interaction.” More specifically, the book is a compendium of concise rebuttals to commonplace counterarguments advanced against libertarianism. It attempts to show that libertarianism withstands wide-ranging criticisms in principle, but also that it can be implemented in (...) practice. It does an admirable job in this regard. The book is not, however, aimed at lightweight lovers of liberty. The content—conveyed in carefully crafted phrases—makes non-trivial intellectual demands on the reader. (shrink)
This book is a collection and reworking of research done by Pascal Salin since around 1990. Salin is an economist in the tradition of the Austrian school of economics. He emphasizes the centrality of individual choice in an uncertain world in which individual actions interact to produce spontaneous orders. But he is no mere conduit of established ideas. He also offers his own highly original insights honed after a lifetime as an economist, one who has earned the respect in which (...) he is now held by his peers worldwide. The book makes delightful reading. Salin covers a lot of ground in this book, mostly within the topics indicated by the title, though in the final two chapters he goes beyond these and into the foundations of economic science. The book is divided into five parts: (1) firms, markets and competition, (2) globalization and international economic problems, (3) monetary integration, (4) money, finance and economic policies, and (5) foundations of economic theory. (shrink)
When scholars look for anticipations of libertarian ideas in early Chinese thought, attention usually focuses not on the Confucians, but on the Taoists. But in their account of spontaneously evolving social norms, their understanding of the price system, their penchant for public-choice analysis, their enthusiasm for entrepreneurship, their preference for noncoercive interpersonal relations, their call for a laissez-faire economic policy, and their rejection of Taoist primitivism, the Confucians show themselves to be the true precursors of modern libertarianism.
This essay offers a standard by which to assess the feasibility of market anarchism. In anarchist thought, the concept of feasibility concerns both the ability and the willingness of private defense agencies to liberate their clients from state oppression. I argue that the emergence of a single stateless pocket of effective, privately-provided defense for a “reasonable” length of time is sufficient to affirm feasibility. I then consider the failure of private defense agencies to achieve even this standard. Furthermore, I identify (...) five possible explanations for the conspicuous absence of private defense agencies. These explanations are entrepreneurial, technological, or economic in nature, or result from a lack of consumer demand or a lack of incentive for violence specialists to refrain from aggression. Of these, only an economic deficiency renders anarchism intrinsically unworkable. (shrink)
In contemporary positive law there are legal institutions, such as conscientious objection in the context of military service or “conscience clauses” in medical law, which for the sake of respect for judgments of conscience aim at restricting legal obligations. Such restrictions are postulated to protect human freedom in general. On the basis of Thomas Aquinas’ philosophy, it shall be argued that human dignity, understood as the existential perfection of a human being based on special unity, provides a foundation for imposing (...) limitations on the scope of legal obligations in general. Human freedom plays a crucial role in understanding dignity as perfection based on the special individuality of a personal being, which in turn is based on the free choice to pursue a unique way of life. Therefore, Aquinas’ argumentation is, at its core, liberal – the perfection rather than the imperfection of a human being underlies the requirement to limit legal obligations. Dignity understood as the special unity of a person also provides the basis for limiting obligations in the case of conscientious objection; however, in that case, such limitations aim at safeguarding internal integrity rather than the individualisation of a given way of life. _This project was financed with funds from the National Science Centre allocated on the basis of the decision number DEC-2013/09/B/HS5/04232._. (shrink)
In this article I try to prove that John Rawls, in his lectures published in _Political Liberalism_ and later works, recommended the independence of one’s world-view and politics, and that at the same time he allowed the existence of non-conflicting factual truths in politics. His reflections on the problem of truth in the political realm are closely related to his reflections on reason, not only the public one. Thus, the aim of this article is to present and analyze Rawls’ understanding (...) of reason and the place and function of truth in politics. (shrink)
Robert Nozick and Eric Mack have tried to show that a minimal state could be just. A minimal state, they claim, could help to protect people’s moral rights without violating moral rights itself. In this article, I will discuss two challenges for defenders of a minimal state. The first challenge is to show that the just minimal state does not violate moral rights when taxing people and when maintaining a monopoly on the use of force. I argue that this challenge (...) can be met. The second challenge is to show that the just min-imal state has political authority including, most importantly, the moral power to im-pose duties on citizens. I argue that both Nozick and Mack lack the resources to meet that challenge, and that political authority cannot be deflated. This is an important prob-lem because a lack of political authority also undermines a state’s justness. (shrink)
The paper is a part of the project of retrieving C.B. Macpherson’s thesis of possessive individualism and his contribution to investigations about democratic theory and the “Western political ontology” valuable especially in today’s context of expansion, crisis and – arguably – subsequent, experienced today, revival of the project of “neoliberal democracy”. The aim of my paper is to present theory of possessive individualism as the missing center of critical theory of democracy. The task is conducted through a brief reconstruction of (...) Macpherson’s investigations into the history of liberal doctrine and argumentation about the continuing validity and firmness of this approach despite its alleged “definitive refutation” in contemporary historiography of modern social and political thought. (shrink)
Perhaps the topic of acceptable risk never had a sexier and more succinct introduction than the one Edward Norton, playing an automobile company executive, gave it in Fight Club: “Take the number of vehicles in the field (A), multiply it by the probable rate of failure (B), and multiply the result by the average out of court settlement (C). A*B*C=X. If X is less than the cost of the recall, we don’t do one.” Of course, this dystopic scene also gets (...) to the heart of the issue in another way: acceptable risk deals with mathematical calculations about the value of life, injury, and emotional wreckage, making calculation a difficult matter ethically, politically, and economically. This entry will explore the history of this idea, focusing on its development alongside statistics into its wide importance today. (shrink)
The pluralist liberal defends a conception of liberal politics grounded in the thesis of value pluralism. Since he argues from a particular metaphysical thesis – value pluralism – to a particular understanding of politics – liberalism – his account will feature two separable, but interrelated, components: a distinctive justification of liberalism, and a conception of politics with distinctive content. The particular flavor of liberalism to which the pluralist is led is a species of what I term “accommodationism” – an understanding (...) that sees as a polity’s central task the accommodation of many divergent conceptions of the good life. I argue that the pluralist liberal’s case is hampered by four difficulties. Two of these difficulties challenge the justification of liberalism in terms of value pluralism, and two of them plague the particular accommodationist understanding of liberalism to which the pluralist is led. I conclude by arguing that classical liberalism is a view that is immune to these latter two criticisms. In fact, I suggest a more general claim: that classical liberalism provides the most promising resources for the articulation and defense of a conception of politics dedicated to accommodating the diverse and heterogeneous versions of human flourishing countenanced by value pluralism. (shrink)
I discuss first Adam Smith’s ethical theory and the peculiar function played by the quadrangle of sympathy, the social function of sympathy with the rich and powerful and the unavoidable corruption of moral sentiments it carries. Secondly, I examine human nature in Smith’s work, and show how diverging tendencies are carried by different social roles. Thirdly I discuss the modest normative claims advanced by his ethical theory and show how these are not from utilitarian ones, how ethical pluralism is mirrored (...) in Smith’s triad of private virtues, prudence, justice, benevolence and of public virtues, liberty, justice, equality, how these are far from being utilitarian virtues, being rather the result of overlapping between several reasonable normative ethics. Fourthly I discuss Smith’s attitude to merchants and master-manufacturers, showing how, far being the theorist of ‘bourgeois virtues’, he was a radical critic of both the aristocratic establishment and the new emerging class in the name of oppressed. My conclusion is that ‘The Wealth of Nations’ is not an argument for self-regulating markets but instead an argument for a less authoritarian society where political authority, under pressure from a newly formed public opinion made by people in the middling ranks of life, would cease favouring the most powerful pressure group and leave ‘civil society’ in a condition where an adjustment in the distribution of wealth, revenue, knowledge and power could take place through a quasi-spontaneous process. (shrink)
Extends the conception of "libertarianism" from the narrow politico-legal sphere to the ethical sphere, by adding two ethical principles which are the logical extension of the politico-legal principle, distinguishing between modesty and humility and providing a definition of the latter, relating the ethical principles to this understanding of humility, and giving two additional (libertarian) grounds for the acceptance of the ethical principles.
In a time when conservatives believe that the traditional family is under increasing fire, some think an appeal to Darwinian science may be the answer. I argue that these conservatives are wrong to maintain that Darwinian theory can serve as the intellectual foundation for the traditional conception of the family. Contra Larry Arnhart and James Q. Wilson, a Darwinian philosophy of nature simply lacks the stability the traditional family requires; it cannot support the traditional conception of human nature and the (...) normativity it was thought to contain. If conservatives are to maintain these traditional ideas, the theoretical foundation must lie elsewhere. (shrink)
What is freedom? Can we measure it? Does it affect policy? This book develops an original measure of freedom called 'Autonomy Freedom', consistent with J. S. Mill's view of autonomy, and applies it to issues in policy and political design. The work pursues three aims. First, it extends classical liberalism beyond exclusive reliance on negative freedom so as to take autonomous behavior explicitly into account. Second, it grounds on firm conceptual foundations a new standard in the measurement of freedom that (...) can be fruitfully coupled with existing gauges. Third, it shows empirically that individual preferences for redistribution and cross-country differences in welfare spending in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries are driven by the degree of 'autonomy freedom' that individuals enjoy. By means of an interdisciplinary approach and a sophisticated econometric methodology, the book takes an explicit stand in defense of freedom and sets the basis for a liberalism based upon people's actions and institutions. (shrink)
Many social scientists think of exchange in terms far broader than philosophers. I defend the broader use of the term as well as the claim that meaningful human relationships are usefully understood as constituted by exchanges. I argue, though, that we must recognize that a great number of non-monetary and non-material goods are part of our daily lives and exchanges. Particularly important are emotional goods. I defend my view against the important objection that it demeans intimate relationships. As an addendum, (...) I also defend it against claims that economics cannot study such exchanges. (shrink)
Where exactly should we place Adam Smith in the cannon of classical liberalism? Smith's advocacy of free market economics and defence of religious liberty in The Wealth of Nations suffice for including him somewhere in that tradition.1 The nature and extent of Smith's liberalism, however, remain up for debate. One recent trend has been to characterise Smith as a proponent of social liberalism. This includes those like Stephen Darwall, Samuel Fleischacker and Charles Griswold, who have drawn attention to a kind (...) of descriptive moral egalitarianism in Smith.2 Humans, Smith seems to hold, are naturally disposed to valuing one another under a conception of equality. But that is not all these scholars suggest. They have also hinted at something more contentious ? the idea that, according to Smith, we value one another in a way resonant with contemporary notions of human dignity, conceived as the inherent value of persons grounding certain rights to, or restrictions on, treatment by others.3 In saying so, these scholars have hit upon something remarkable. However, I also think their arguments in this respect are both indirect and incomplete. Consequently, the full import of Smith's view remains obscure. This essay aims to bring some clarity. 1I intend this historically. I grant there are good reasons to be sceptical about the ultimate fate of liberty in capitalist society (e.g. Marxist reasons and reasons based on various postmodern critiques of enlightenment ideology). Also, the designation ?free market? should be understood loosely, as most scholars now agree it is a mistake to identify Smith with thoroughgoing laissez-faire economics. 2Darwall, S., ?Sympathetic Liberalism: Recent Work on Adam Smith?, Philosophy Fleischacker, S., A Third Concept of Liberty (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999) and On Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004); and Griswold, C., Adam Smith and the Virtues of Enlightenment (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999). Other major commentators holding some version of this view might include Raphael, D. D. The Impartial Spectator (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007) and Vivienne Brown, Adam Smith's Discourse: Canonicity, Commerce and Conscience (London: Routledge, 1994). 3See e.g. Fleischacker (2004), 205; Darwall at 142, 156 and Griswold at 235?239. However, one must read Fleischacker carefully, for he also uses the adjectival ?dignified? to express Smith's concern with what is ?honourable? or ?respectable? about persons, which use does not obviously match up with the notion of inherent value (see e.g. p. 207). Darwall's argument includes by far the most explicit discussion of ?dignity? as I've defined it. But as Darwall's article is ostensibly a book review (albeit a substantive one that addresses three books at once, including Griswold's), it cannot be called a direct inquiry. Griswold never explicitly puts his interpretation in terms of ?dignity?, but that is clearly what he is after. Thus Darwall also reads him that way. (shrink)
. The author has compared the world-view attitudes of oligarchy and capitalism on the basis of analysis of Ludwig von Mises’ writings. The results of such comparison allow us to maintain that there is neither market economy nor competition, and so nor capitalism in Ukraine. The world-view basis of capitalism is the philosophy of liberalism, which has such principles as equality, freedom, inviolability of private property, cooperation in favor of profits of the whole society. On the contrary, oligarchy based on (...) the strong desire of infinitive enrichment and exploitation hasn’t any philosophical basis. (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)
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)