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The meaning of liberalism, conveyed immediately by the term itself, involves a political philosophy centrally devoted to liberty. As with any grand political philosophy, however, the meaning of liberalism is deeply contested, so much so that it is perhaps easier to speak of varieties of liberalism rather than liberalism as such: classical and modern liberalism, comprehensive and political liberalism, neoliberalism, libertarianism, welfare liberalism, and so on. John Locke, Adam Smith, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Stuart Mill, John Dewey, Isaiah Berlin, John Rawls, and Jürgen Habermas all are exponents of liberalism, but in their work can be found different interpretations of liberty, yielding different understandings of the boundary between the public and the private domains, the role and nature of education, the appropriate scope of ...

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