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  • Gerald Gaus (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 January 2010

Justificatory liberalism is liberal in an abstract and foundational sense: it respects each as free and equal, and so insists that coercive laws must be justified to all members of the public. In this essay I consider how this fundamental liberal principle relates to disputes within the liberal tradition on “the extent of the state.” It is widely thought today that this core liberal principle of respect requires that the state regulates the distribution of resources or well-being to conform to principles of fairness, that all citizens be assured of employment and health care, that no one be burdened by mere brute bad luck, and that citizens' economic activities must be regulated to insure that they do not endanger the “fair value” of rights to determine political outcomes. I argue in this essay: (1) a large family of liberal views are consistent with the justificatory liberals project, from classical to egalitarian formulations (but not socialist ones); (2) overall, the justificatory project tilts in the direction of classical formulations.

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Eric Mack and Gerald Gaus , “Classical Liberalism and Libertarianism: The Liberty Tradition,” in Gerald F. Gaus and Chandran Kukathas , eds., Handbook of Political Theory (London: Sage Publications, 2004), 115–30

Samuel Freeman , “Illiberal Libertarians: Why Libertarianism Is Not a Liberal View,” Philosophy and Public Affairs 30 (2001): 105–51

Gerald F. Gaus , “On Justifying the Moral Rights of the Moderns: A Case of Old Wine in New Bottles,” Social Philosophy and Policy 24, no. 1 (2007): 84119

Richard Dagger , “Neo-Republicanism and the Civic Economy,” Politics, Philosophy, and Economics 5 (2006): 151–73

Stanley Benn , A Theory of Freedom (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988), 87

Are Property Rights Problematic?The Monist 73 (October, 1990): 483503

Hillel Steiner , “Kant, Property, and the General Will,” in Norman Geras and Robert Walker , eds., The Enlightenment and Modernity (New York: St. Martin's, 2000), 71ff

Property, Rights, and Freedom,” Social Philosophy and Policy 11, no. 2 (1994): 209–40

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Social Philosophy and Policy
  • ISSN: 0265-0525
  • EISSN: 1471-6437
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