Toward a reconciliation of virtue and freedom in contemporary political philosophy
Okumuş, Ahmet (2010) Toward a reconciliation of virtue and freedom in contemporary political philosophy. [Thesis]
Official URL: http://192.168.1.20/record=b1304403 (Table of Contents)
Ever since the Enlightenment, modernity presented itself as a story of human emancipation and as a culture of freedom. In the history of the modern thought, freedom has been the master principle of morality and the foundational premise of politics for varying philosophical approaches. Philosophically, this theme has been most emphatically developed during the Enlightenment, and most clearly spelled out by Kant. Politically, however, the idea of freedom culminated in the great Western revolutions, and acquired its formal manifestation in the declarations or bills of rights. On the other hand, there is the older, classical tradition of virtue. Some scholars argue that the most fundamental difference between the ancients and the moderns lies in their respective focus on virtue and freedom. However, recently, in the midst of Western modernity, there has been a revival of the classical virtue tradition. The opposition, then, is not only between historical epochs (e.g. between the ancients and the moderns), but is a conflict inside the contemporary political philosophy. This dissertation aims to provide insight into this tension by concentrating on a number of major political thinkers advocating the primacy of freedom, such as Rawls, or the primacy of virtue, such as MacIntyre. After a critical evaluation of 'aretaic minimalism', 'liberal virtue' theories, and Aristotelian communitarianism in contemporary political philosophy, it is argued that the 'ethics of the good' articulated by Taylor offers a stronger reconciliatory standpoint open to an aretaic or ethical understanding of freedom.
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