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This chapter seeks to steer past familiar criticisms of political liberalism to seek a different source of difficulty located in the notion of identity rather than community. Via a discussion of a form of argument that the chapter establishes to be common to both John Stuart Mill and John Rawls, it locates a tension between what it calls liberal and identitarian ‘mentalities’ which, it argues, cannot be overcome simply by redefining liberalism to be a more capacious doctrine. Rawls is read as providing a contractualist version of Mill’s meta-inductive argument for liberty and this common structure of argument in each is shown to fall afoul—in the case of Mill—of any credible epistemology and—in the case of Rawls—of any credible moral psychology of practical rationality.


Institute for Social Justice

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