This major new Handbook provides a definitive state-of-the-art review to political theory, past and present. It offers a complete guide to all the main areas and fields of political and philosophical inquiry today by the world's leading theorists. The Handbook is divided into five parts which together serve to illustrate: - the diversity of political theorizing - the substantive theories that provide an over-aching analysis of the nature/or justification of the state and political life - the political theories that have been either formulated or resurgent in recent years - the current state of the central debates within contemporary political theory - the history of western political thought and its interpretations - traditions in political thought outside a western perspective. The Handbook of Political Theory marks a benchmark publication at the cutting edge of its field. It is essential reading for all students and academics of political theory and political philosophy around the world.
Chapter 7: Liberalism, Political and Comprehensive
Liberalism, Political and Comprehensive
The Background Difficulty
The modern distinction between ‘political’ and ‘comprehensive’ versions of liberalism arises in connection with a serious problem about the basis of justification for liberal principles in a pluralistic society. The problem arises as follows.
Liberals envisage a tolerant, inclusive society, populated by people adhering to a variety of belief systems. Many modern societies in which liberalism flourishes as a political ideal already have this character: they are religiously pluralist and multicultural societies, in which heritages and ideals of all sorts rub shoulders with one another and compete for adherents, and in which communities of faith and tradition share quarters with groups committed to radical exploration of new ways of living, thinking, and being [see further Chapter 19]. ...