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The Egalitarian Constitution

On 18 september 2018, Jonathan Price defended his doctoral thesis 'The Egalitarian Constitution'. The doctoral research was supervised by Prof. dr. A.A.M. Kinneging.

Jonathan Price
18 September 2018
Leiden Repository

This book presents a conception of modern personal identity in terms of consent, equality, and autonomy. For modern persons, these concepts function as moral values, evaluations, and virtues. Taken together they form a cultural identity that I refer to simply as ‘modern’. This cultural identity bridges the personal life of individual human persons and the institutional life of corporate persons.

The shared sense of ‘modern’, with consent, equality, and autonomy as core moral values and chief virtues, forms and informs the (moral) governance and government of modern selves, modern corporations, and modern societies. One can be a ‘modern woman’ or a ‘modern man’, but one can also be a member of a ‘modern state’. There are ‘modern corporations’; and one can join a ‘modern church’ or a ‘modern party’ (cf. Nowoczesna in Poland); one might be subject to ‘modern law’; and one could participate in ‘modern marriage’. Each example shares the same sense of ‘modern’. In this way, modern cultural identity is a ‘constitution’ of a particular kind. I call it ‘the egalitarian constitution’. It is the contemporary instance of the soul-state analogy, an idea originally popularized by Plato.

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