Critical Review 4 (1-2):86-105 (1990)
THE LIBERTARIAN IDEA by Joseph Raz Oxford: Clarendon, 1986. 435 pp., $59.00 Joseph Raz's The Morality of Freedom offers a subtle and arrestingly original reconstruction of liberal theory. Raz argues that standard liberal linchpins such as neutrality, rights, equality, anti?perfectionism, subjective preference, and individualism fail adequately to ground a liberal order. Rather, he enshrines autonomy as the core value of a justifiable liberalism. Many of Raz's subsidiary arguments are insightful, yet his liberal structure ultimately founders. In large measure that is because Raz oscillates uneasily between two opposed rationalesfor the centrality of autonomy. The result is a major contribution to political theory, but also a book that is less than the sum of its parts.
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