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Read e-book online Civic Virtues: Rights, Citizenship, and Republican PDF

By Richard Dagger

ISBN-10: 0195106342

ISBN-13: 9780195106343

Possible there is not any political debate which doesn't devolve into an issue over rights. for hundreds of years a cornerstone of liberal thought, rights claims became so over-used as to blur circumstances of genuine abuse. during this unique and provocative learn, Dagger argues for a republican liberalism that, whereas celebrating the liberal historical past of autonomy and rights, solidly areas those inside social kin and responsibilities, which whereas ubiquitous, are frequently obscured and forgotten.

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Additional resources for Civic Virtues: Rights, Citizenship, and Republican Liberalism

Example text

In this respect, additions to our range of choice exhibit some of the features of diminishing marginal utility. This is why the floor or ceiling schemes may well provide a satisfactory method for resolving conflicting claims with respect to individual autonomy. 16 In this case the intent is to promote the autonomy of the least autonomous people, even if this comes at the expense of those who enjoy greater autonomy. Following this approach, the ideal is to insist on providing everyone with as nearly equal a range of choice as possible unless there is reason to believe that an unequal distribution will somehow extend the range of choice for the least A Fundamental Right 35 autonomous beyond what they would be likely to achieve with an equal distribution.

The connection is probably clearest in the works of Rousseau, who inspired Immanuel Kant, the philosopher most often identified with the distinction between autonomy and heteronomy. In Emile, Rousseau draws a distinction between two sorts of dependence: dependence on things, which is from nature; and dependence on men, which is from society. Dependence on things, since it has no morality, is in no way detrimental to freedom and engenders no vices. Dependence on men, since it is without order, engenders all the vices, and by it, master and slave are mutually corrupted.

Personal Autonomy and Civic Virtue The autonomous person adopts the principles by which he or she will live, which implies some degree of critical reflection on the principles available. With civic virtue, however, the emphasis is on acting, perhaps without reflection, to promote the common good. 10 It is easy enough to see, then, how autonomy and civic virtue can seem to be at odds with each other, for it is certainly possible for someone 16 Rights and Obligations to exhibit civic virtue without being autonomous, just as it is possible for an autonomous person to act in a thoroughly selfish manner.

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Civic Virtues: Rights, Citizenship, and Republican Liberalism by Richard Dagger


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