Liberalism, Scepticism, and Democracy


in Ethics in the Public Domain

Published in print August 1995 | ISBN: 9780198260691
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191682148 | DOI:
Liberalism, Scepticism, and Democracy

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This chapter considers liberalism, scepticism, and democracy. It starts by criticizing the view that moral scepticism or moral fallibility provides an important moral foundation for respecting individual liberty. It then criticizes a certain conception of democracy which has some intellectual affinities with the previously considered views. It concludes with a brief summary of an alternative view of defending liberty as a positive value, as an element in the moral ideal of the free person. It notes that the value of freedom of the individual depends on the freedom of others because the value of political freedom lies in providing the conditions for personal autonomy and because personal autonomy can be realized only in a society which maintains an appropriate public culture.

Keywords: scepticism; neutrality; Dworkin; political independence; liberalism; autonomy; individual freedom

Chapter.  14356 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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