What is its guiding spirit? Larmore identifies two such problem:. One can call this ideal neutrality, if one bears in mind two facts: 1 that the neutrality in question is neutrality with respect to controversial views of the good life , not to morality as such; 2 that such neutrality ought to be justified without appeal to controversial to conceptions of the good. Neutrality is not skepticism—the primary motivation is not epistemological but moral. This raises the question: how should neutrality be justified? This strategy Larmore terms individualism and he attributes it to Kant and Mill.
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Charles Larmore together with John Rawls is among the pioneers of the idea of political liberalism for a summary of his earlier view, see here. What emerges out the wake of this process of collapse —in the 16 th and 17 th century —was a new problem for justifying political authority: namely, the fact that reasonable people disagree about the good.
Political liberalism opts for the second path. Or, perhaps, when peers disagree, people ought to backtrack and recant their original views. Larmore thinks these ways of tackling reasonable disagreement are confused. One must, in some way, decide. The key, though, is the issue of justification. Reasonable views are justified views; they need not all be true.
Lamore then puts forward a contextualist-pragmatist view of justification. Framing the issue this way allows us to see that responding to reasonable disagreement in the way that political liberalism does requires a moral justification. The problem, though, is not just that people reasonably disagree. On many matters, we may simply agree to disagree. But this raises the question under what condition is coercion legitimate? But what justifies this claim?
For, although the person might accept the principle under threat of coercion, she would not be able to be moved by the reason for imposing the rule. Thus, Larmore thinks, the principle of respect provides the basis for a liberal principle of legitimacy: political principles must be as justifiable to others from their perspective as they are to us. More precisely:. The fundamental principles of political society, being coercive in nature, ought to be such that all who are to be subject to them must be able from their perspective to see reason to endorse them on the assumption —perhaps counterfactual [sic.
The underlying principle here respect for persons is, of course, not likely to be endorsed by everyone. First, it is not the goal of political liberalism to show that all people can generally endorse its defining principles.
It does not have a merely political validity; it must be seen as independently binding although Larmore does not say, explicitly, how this norm is to be grounded. Third, the principle of respect defines the nature of the consensus we seek. The idea of respect is what requires a search for common ground.
It thus sets limits on consensus, and suggests that its nature is hypothetical: the norms citizens would accept, were they reasonable and committed to the norm of respect.
Fourth, it will not do to object to political liberalism that it too is a subject of reasonable disagreement. The point is that political principles must be acceptable to parties who endorse the norm of respect for persons.
Fifth, the idea of respect applies only to fundamental principles of justice. Not all issues are settled, and policy decision may still be a matter of disagreement.
It may, in a way, counterfactually include What of the prospect of this idea? The future for political liberalism, Larmore notes, is uncertain and, just as earlier forms of classical liberalism could not meet the challenges of their times, perhaps political liberalism cannot meet its challenges. But, that assumption is perhaps no longer justified, given the increasing globalization of international capitalism. You are commenting using your WordPress.
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The Problem Part 2: Coercion The problem, though, is not just that people reasonably disagree. More precisely: The fundamental principles of political society, being coercive in nature, ought to be such that all who are to be subject to them must be able from their perspective to see reason to endorse them on the assumption —perhaps counterfactual [sic.
Implications Having outlined this view, Larmore sketches some of its implications. Prospects What of the prospect of this idea? Share this: Twitter Facebook. Like this: Like Loading Tagged classical liberalism coercion Larmore legitimacy Liberalism nation-state Political liberalism Political Philosophy.
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What Is Political Philosophy?
Shaun P. One such individual was Charles Larmore. Of those theorists who have joined Rawls in his effort to develop and promote the concept of political liberalism, none has been more dedicated to the endeavour than Larmore. Beginning most notably with his Patterns of Moral Complexity and continuing through to his article entitled "The Moral Basis of Political Liberalism," Larmore has sought to articulate a feasible conception of political liberalism and in the course of so doing explain the benefits and necessity of its adoption. While both Larmore and Rawls readily acknowledge the similarities between their conceptions, Larmore also, understandably, believes that there are important differences between the two.
Neutrality and Political Liberalism
Charles Larmore. Many of our ebooks are available through library electronic resources including these platforms:. What is political philosophy? What are its fundamental problems? And how should it be distinguished from moral philosophy? In this book, Charles Larmore redefines the distinctive aims of political philosophy, reformulating in this light the basis of a liberal understanding of politics. Because political life is characterized by deep and enduring conflict between rival interests and differing moral ideals, the core problems of political philosophy are the regulation of conflict and the conditions under which the members of society may thus be made subject to political authority.
Political Neutrality pp Cite as. Is neutrality on the good in some sense an ideal that a just society must embrace? A flagrantly non-neutral policy such as a state establishment of religion would surely merit condemnation. Such a policy would be non-neutral on the good, but would also run afoul of other principles of right that might have independent appeal for many of us, whatever our views on state neutrality.