Republican Aims: Causes and Policies

Philip Pettit

in Republicanism

Published in print September 1999 | ISBN: 9780198296423
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600081 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Political Theory

 Republican Aims: Causes and Policies

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Looking at what the republican state should do, the first thing to notice is that republicanism offers the state a pluralistic language in which to formulate the grievances it should seek to rectify: a language of freedom in which it is possible to make sense of a variety of claims that are made on the state. The significant features of the ideal on the policy front are as follows: one, that the ideal is politically less sceptical than the ideal of freedom as non‐interference, since it recognizes the possibility of non‐dominating government; and two, that it is socially more radical, since it requires not just the absence of arbitrary interference but also the absence of capacities for arbitrary interference. In five large areas of policy‐making—external defence, internal protection, personal independence, economic prosperity, and public life—it is possible to discern the broad and often distinctive outlines of what a republican philosophy of government would require; but the requirements can only be detailed in the light of empirical information: republicanism is a research programme for policy‐making, not a once‐for‐always blueprint.

Keywords: feminism; government; multiculturalism; pluralism; policy; policy‐making; reflective equilibrium; republicanism; socialism

Chapter.  19227 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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