Anti-perfectionisms and autonomy

Analysis 70 (2):247-256 (2010)
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Abstract
I provide support for a liberal political philosophy that is fully committed to the state promotion of autonomy, and which also counts Anti-perfectionism amongst its other commitments. I do so by defending it against the serious charge that it is prima facie self-contradictory. After all, Anti-perfectionism appears to demand that the state refrain from promoting any value – it looks as though that must preclude the promotion of autonomy, if the latter is conceived of as a value. I argue that this self-contradiction is a mirage, whose plausibility depends on an equivocation in the statement given above of Anti-perfectionism. As it stands, the statement fails to distinguish between two types of values, and hence between two different types of Anti-perfectionism that one might endorse. When this is clarified, we can see that on the best understanding of Anti-perfectionism, it is consistent with the promotion of autonomy.
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Archival date: 2017-10-18
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