By David McCabe

A critical job in modern political philosophy is to spot rules governing political lifestyles the place electorate disagree deeply on very important questions of price and, extra mostly, in regards to the right ends of existence. The distinctively liberal reaction to this problem insists that the country may still so far as attainable keep away from counting on such contested concerns in its easy constitution and deliberations. David McCabe severely surveys influential defenses of the liberal answer and advocates modus vivendi liberalism as a substitute protection of the liberal kingdom. Acknowledging that the modus vivendi procedure doesn't give you the deep ethical consensus that many liberals call for, he defends the liberal nation as a suitable compromise between voters who will proceed to determine it as lower than perfect. His publication will curiosity quite a lot of readers in political philosophy and political concept.

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Lawrence Haworth has argued powerfully that respect for another’s choices is appropriate only when those choices have been shaped autonomously. See his “Autonomy and Utility,” in The Inner Citadel: Essays on Individual Autonomy, ed. John Christman (New York: Oxford University Press, ), –. Two clarifications are in order here. First, learning that one erred in one’s original assessment of the value of a goal does not entail that one no longer has reason to continue in it: that one has already invested effort in that pursuit, and that others may now be depending on one’s continuing in it, are just two reasons against abandoning it.

Collectively, these reasons make highly dubious the attempt to ground liberal autonomy on the endorsement constraint.   “I do not see that the absence of choice diminishes the value of human relations or the display of excellence in technical skills, physical ability, spirit and enterprise, leadership, creativity, or imaginativeness … it is a mistake to think that what is chosen is more likely to attract our dedication and involvement than what is not” (Raz, “Facing Up: A Reply,” Southern California Law Review  (), –).

The most promising reply to this worry appeals to a point Mill makes in On Liberty concerning the connection between knowledge and exposure to diverse viewpoints. There Mill argues that to fully understand one’s own view one must clearly understand the rejected alternatives. If one fully understands the value of one’s goals only through comparison with a wide variety of options, and if a deeper understanding of the value of one’s goals engenders stronger commitment, we have grounds for thinking that enhancing autonomy strengthens commitment.

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