Liberty and welfare goods: Reflections on clashing liberalisms [Book Review]

The Journal of Ethics 4 (1-2):99-113 (2000)


Among the numerous moral commodities that political orders can produceand protect, classical liberalism assigns primacy to liberty, understoodas noninterference. As the nineteenth century advanced into its secondhalf, this primacy was increasingly seen as myopic. A more defensibleliberalism will devote itself to a wider range of basic human interests:this critique gained virtually unanimous acceptance within the newliberalism. Yet, surprisingly, during the past two decades classicalliberalism seems to have enjoyed a resurrection. This essay arguesthat it is well merited, that the superficial plausibility of the newliberal critique shielded a confusion between the questions of whichgoods matter and how they are properly to be afforded politicalrecognition.

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Loren Lomasky
University of Virginia

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