Neither Perfectionism nor Political Liberalism

JAPA PALLIKKATHAYIL

PHILOSOPHY & PUBLIC AFFAIRS, Volume 44, Issue 3

Abstract: Political liberalism involves a commitment to a certain kind of constraint on the justification of political institutions and laws.Very roughly, the idea is that the justification for political institutions and laws must in some sense be acceptable to reasonable citizens. Political liberalism’s main rival in contemporary discourse is perfectionism. Perfectionists attempt to justify political institutions and laws via claims about how such institutions and laws enable people to live good lives. Political liberals object to this form of justification as relying on comprehensive doctrines about which reasonable citizens may disagree. In this article, the author investigates the viability of views that are neither perfectionist nor politically liberal.