Autonomy and the Foundations of Contemporary Liberalism

Meira Levinson

in The Demands of Liberal Education

Published in print January 2002 | ISBN: 9780199250448
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599750 | DOI:
 Autonomy and the Foundations of Contemporary Liberalism

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Discusses contemporary liberalism's meaning, character, and justification. Section 1.1 argues that three constitutive commitments define contemporary liberalism and distinguish it from other theories. Section 1.2 demonstrates that, contrary to political liberalism's claims, these three commitments are best linked by the value of autonomy. Hence, contemporary liberalism is best understood as displaying weak perfectionism. Section 1.3 analyses autonomy more carefully, developing it as a substantive notion of higher‐order preference formation within a context of cultural coherence, plural constitutive personal values and beliefs, openness to other's evaluations of oneself, and a sufficiently developed moral, spiritual or aesthetic, intellectual, and emotional personality.

Keywords: autonomy; cultural coherence; liberalism; personality; political liberalism; preference formation; weak perfectionism

Chapter.  12954 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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