Liberalism and the Limits of Justice
|Liberalism and the Limits of Justice|
The 1998 Cambridge University Press edition
|Publisher||Cambridge University Press|
Liberalism and the Limits of Justice is a book by Michael Sandel, first published in 1982, with a second edition in 1998. His best-known work, it helped start the liberalism-communitarianism debate that dominated Anglo-American political philosophy in the 1980s.
Sandel criticizes the social democratic liberals John Rawls and Ronald Dworkin, arguing that their views rest on anti-liberal collectivist foundations and are incompatible with the elements of liberal individualism they espouse. He offers a communitarian critique of liberalism, arguing that individuals are constituted by their communities and the obligations that follow from being part of them. Partly inspired by Robert Nozick's Anarchy, State, and Utopia, Sandel argues that Rawls bases his political philosophy on an untenable metaphysics of the self. Though others have made the same criticism, Sandel has been credited with developing it most fully.
In Sandel's view, Rawls's philosophy shares the metaphysical assumptions of Kantian ethics, in which a purely noumenal self that is detached from all empirical constraints somehow retains motives that enable it to make choices.
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