Abstract

This review of Norms of Liberty by Douglas Rasmussen and Douglas Den Uyl seeks to outline the authors' attempts to provide a foundation for liberalism. Their solution emerges from a synthesis of the liberty implied in acts of deliberative choice and norms rooted in knowledge of human nature. This synthesis, however, proves to be unstable. Deliberative choice must be conditioned and determined by knowledge of human nature, but free choice must be unconditioned and autonomous. The attempt to square this circle through the notion of individualistic perfectionism conceals rather than solves the difficulty.

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