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The Moral Order of Classical Liberalism

Masala, Antonio The Moral Order of Classical Liberalism. In: Re-Inventing Western Civilisation: Transnational Reconstructions of Liberalism in Europe in the Twentieth Century. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Cambridge. (In Press) (2014)

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Abstract

In the years following the Second World War an intense debate developed among political philosophers concerning what was thought to be a profound crisis of political theory. This lively debate contained a number of interesting criticisms of liberalism, which was considered partly responsible for not only the crisis of political theory but also the state of decline in Western civilisation, as witnessed by war and totalitarianism. Beyond the extent to which they seem relevant or convincing today, these criticisms formed an important part of contemporary political philosophy and identify a number of unresolved issues within the liberal tradition. They therefore represent an interesting starting point in investigating how a revival of liberalism occurred in the post-war years; and more generally when trying to better understand liberalism, that is, a tradition of thought as rich as it is diverse – and for this reason often contradictory. The purpose of this chapter is to radically challenge the thesis of liberalism’s responsibility for the “ethical crisis” of Western civilisation and to argue that the classical liberalism of the twentieth century is a political philosophy that confronts these issues by giving them a new vision and definition, thus opening a new important page in the philosophy of politics. Here I attempt to analyse how classical liberal theory, far from being a relativist position, is an effort to elaborate on a political philosophy which offers a response to the classic questions of that discipline.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
J Political Science > JC Political theory
J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
Research Area: Economics and Institutional Change
Depositing User: Antonio Masala
Date Deposited: 26 Feb 2014 12:44
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2014 12:36
URI: http://eprints.imtlucca.it/id/eprint/2135

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