Chapter

Reworking Sandel's Republicanism

Philip Pettit

in Debating Democracy's Discontent

Published in print October 1998 | ISBN: 9780198294962
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598708 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198294964.003.0004
 Reworking Sandel's Republicanism

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Sandel’s claims are indeterminate about the precise nature of America’s lost republican ideals, about what those ideals would require of us as citizens, and about where they would lead governmental policy; reworking Sandel’s narrative around another account of republicanism removes the indeterminacies. Republican freedom–freedom as nondomination, which grows out of a neo-Roman tradition–is distinct both from liberty as noninterference and from liberty as democratic participation. The relationship between people’s freedom and the institutions that would support that freedom in the ideal republic is constitutive: if freedom is nondomination, then it is just the protected and empowered status enjoyed in the presence of the institutions. The price of liberty is eternal vigilance, in particular vigilance in looking at those in power and in challenging, where necessary, their claims and initiatives–and the foundation of this vigilance is civic virtue. While this reworking would make for changes in some central claims about republican freedom, republican virtue, and republican policy, it would sustain most of the themes that the book puts on parade.

Keywords: constitutive; liberty; Nondomination; republican; reworking; Roman; status; vigilance; virtue

Chapter.  10043 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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