Liberalistinen yhteiskuntateoria tienhaarassa. Politiikkaa, retoriikkaa vai metafysiikkaa?

Liberal social theory at a crossroads – metaphysics, rhetoric or politics?

The article discusses why the very methodological premises that originally gave liberal theory its strength and adaptability now turn out to be the cause of its failure to cure prevalent social evils. When political liberalism (particularly as presented in John Rawls' Theory of Justice 1971 and Political Liberalism 1993) attempts to leave teleology and metaphysics aside, it invalidates the very foundations of the contractarian social theory. A political liberalism that combines a prescriptive and a descriptive theory of a just society without reference to any wider metaphysical background is a form of ideological Darwinism, which easily leads to ethical nihilism and circular reasoning. Instead of offering us a convincing normative model, political liberalism justifies current social and ideological development and thus legitimises the actual material and political inequality of human beings. To avoid this, the liberal contractarian tradition should make it explicit which of its implicit perfectionist assumptions of the good life and human potential are to be actualised in order to reach moral and political autonomy.

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