On Universalism: Communitarians, Rorty, and (“Objectivist”) “Liberal Metaphysicians”

Southern Journal of Philosophy 38 (1):39-75 (2000)
It is often claimed that liberalism is falsely and perniciously universalist. I take this charge seriously, exploring three positions: the communitarians’, Rorty’s, and that of “comprehensive” liberalism. After explaining why universalism is thought impossible, I examine the communitarian view that value is determined within communities and argue that it results in a form of relativism that is unacceptable. I next discuss Richard Rorty’s liberal acceptance of “conventionalism” and explain how, despite his rejection of universalism, Rorty remains a liberal. I then present a defense of universalism, based in part on arguments that parallel Thomas Nagel’s arguments in defense of a “view from nowhere” and Jean Hampton’s objectivist arguments against Rawls’s moves to a “merely political” theory. That defense requires that we can distance ourselves from our ends to make moral judgments shorn of all partialities.
Keywords universalism  relativism  liberalism  Rorty  communitarianism  liberalisn
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/j.2041-6962.2000.tb00890.x
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 24,479
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

View all 43 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Michael Bacon (2003). Liberal Universalism: On Brian Barry and Richard Rorty. Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 6 (2):41-62.
Michele Marsonet (1996). Richard Rorty's Ironic Liberalism. Journal of Philosophical Research 21:391-403.
Christian Miller (2002). Rorty and Moral Relativism. European Journal of Philosophy 10 (3):354–374.
Janusz Grygienc (2012). Between Individual and Community. Collingwood and British Idealism Studies 17 (1):63-89.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

60 ( #81,401 of 1,925,764 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

12 ( #66,753 of 1,925,764 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.