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Is Political Liberalism Self-Defeating?

Political scientist Maurits de Jongh (Leiden University/Sciences Po) argues that political liberalism is self-defeating as a framework of justification for liberal conceptions of justice. He explores how the framework's self-imposed criterion of acceptability in the eyes of all reasonable citizens leads to a regressive logic in the substantive content of the overlapping consensus on political justice. Moreover, De Jongh argues that the search for consensus is intrinsically controversial, since it draws its inspiration from Hegel’s contentious project of rational reconciliation. Via comparative readings of Nussbaum, Rawls and Oakeshott, De Jongh concludes that political liberalism is undermined at the outset by its self-imposed imperative to remain free from controversial commitments.

Maurits de Jongh
23 July 2018
Revue Française de Science Politique (68) (2018)

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