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Debating Democracy's DiscontentEssays on American Politics, Law, and Public Philosophy$
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Anita L. Allen and Milton C. Regan

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780198294962

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198294964.001.0001

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Sandel's Liberal Politics

Sandel's Liberal Politics

(p.159) 12 Sandel's Liberal Politics
Debating Democracy's Discontent

Bruce Frohnen

Oxford University Press

Sandel retains the primal liberal attachment to individual flourishing as the proper end of life. On Sandel’s view, Rawls’s largely Kantian theory of justice rests on an emptying out of human nature. Attachments, for Locke and for Sandel, are necessary because they are the natural means by which we become capable of meaningful choice. Precisely because he refuses to question the self’s centrality, Sandel remains safely within liberal confines, unwilling or unable to question the validity of liberal suppositions. Sandel’s vision of the individual and of political life does not seem conducive to the institutions, beliefs, and practices on which any substantive community must rely.

Keywords:   attachments, centrality, end, flourishing, individual, Immanuel Kant, John Locke, nature, John Rawls, self

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