Anti-Perfectionism and Autonomy

Robert P. George

in Making Men Moral

Published in print April 1995 | ISBN: 9780198260240
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191682063 | DOI:

Series: Clarendon Paperbacks

Anti-Perfectionism and Autonomy

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This chapter discusses the liberal argument against the enforcement of moral laws. There are two major arguments against the enforcement of moral laws. The first is the anti-perfectionist argument, which states that the enforcement of moral laws restricting the rights of citizens to make them morally upright is unjust, for it violates a person's right to individual autonomy. The second is the perfectionist argument, which treats autonomy as a good that the government should protect and provide for its citizens; it should as much as possible avoid the use of coercion in directing people's choices. The chapter focuses on the inherent inconsistencies in the anti-perfectionist arguments, particularly those espoused by well known anti-perfectionist thinker John Rawls and his follower D. A. J. Richards.

Keywords: moral laws; perfectionist argument; John Rawls; Richards; coercion; individual autonomy

Chapter.  12506 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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