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The Demands of Liberal Education$
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Meira Levinson

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199250448

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0199250448.001.0001

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Autonomy and the Foundations of Contemporary Liberalism

Autonomy and the Foundations of Contemporary Liberalism

Chapter:
(p.9) 1 Autonomy and the Foundations of Contemporary Liberalism
Source:
The Demands of Liberal Education
Author(s):

Meira Levinson (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0199250448.003.0002

Discusses contemporary liberalism's meaning, character, and justification. Section 1.1 argues that three constitutive commitments define contemporary liberalism and distinguish it from other theories. Section 1.2 demonstrates that, contrary to political liberalism's claims, these three commitments are best linked by the value of autonomy. Hence, contemporary liberalism is best understood as displaying weak perfectionism. Section 1.3 analyses autonomy more carefully, developing it as a substantive notion of higher‐order preference formation within a context of cultural coherence, plural constitutive personal values and beliefs, openness to other's evaluations of oneself, and a sufficiently developed moral, spiritual or aesthetic, intellectual, and emotional personality.

Keywords:   autonomy, cultural coherence, liberalism, personality, political liberalism, preference formation, weak perfectionism

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