Postliberal Theory

Beggs, Donald
June 2009
Ethical Theory & Moral Practice;Jun2009, Vol. 12 Issue 3, p219
Academic Journal
This paper begins with a critical part and concludes with a constructive part. First, with reference to a definition of liberalism and using immanent critique, I show deficiencies in the claims of four selfprofessed postliberals to have articulated non-liberal positions. Then, I argue that postliberal political theory consists in acknowledging that in political contexts some voluntary groups as such can be moral, not merely political, agents. Analysis of what moral autonomy is for persons as empirical (not noumenal) agents reveals that that account can be transposed to some groups. A key common element among the four rejected positions is their emphasis on the normative authority of some practices as over against principles. My proposal congeals that normative emphasis on the social into group-moral authority. Recognition of some voluntary groups' episodic moral authority over their members is non-liberal but not anti-liberal.


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