Beyond Political Liberalism: Toward a Post-Secular Ethics of Public Life

Beyond Political Liberalism: Toward a Post-Secular Ethics of Public Life Book Reviews / International Journal of Public Th eology 3 (2009) 391–412 405 Troy Dostert, Beyond Political Liberalism: Toward a Post-Secular Ethics of Public Life (Notre Dame: Notre Dame Press, 2006), pp. ix + 256, £28.95, ISBN 0-268-02600-9 (pbk). As Troy Dostert explains in his new book, political liberals seek a middle way between two competing conceptions of liberalism. On one side there are the perfectionists, who found liberal political principles on an ideal of autonomy. On the other side there are the modus vivendi liberals, concerned above all to secure peaceful co-existence even at the expense of a more substantive conception of justice which includes, for example, egalitarian distributive principles. Political liberals, of whom John Rawls is the best known, attempt to off er a more substantive conception, but without appealing to controversial perfectionist foundations. Th ey do this by building a ‘political concep- tion’ of justice which is ‘freestanding’—independent of any particular moral out- look—and yet the focus of an ‘overlapping consensus’, wherein adherents of the various reasonable but opposed moral outlooks present in a pluralistic society fi nd resources within their own views to uphold the political conception. Dostert’s purpose in Beyond Political Liberalism is http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Public Theology Brill

Beyond Political Liberalism: Toward a Post-Secular Ethics of Public Life

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© 2009 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1872-5171
eISSN
1569-7320
D.O.I.
10.1163/156973209X438382
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Book Reviews / International Journal of Public Th eology 3 (2009) 391–412 405 Troy Dostert, Beyond Political Liberalism: Toward a Post-Secular Ethics of Public Life (Notre Dame: Notre Dame Press, 2006), pp. ix + 256, £28.95, ISBN 0-268-02600-9 (pbk). As Troy Dostert explains in his new book, political liberals seek a middle way between two competing conceptions of liberalism. On one side there are the perfectionists, who found liberal political principles on an ideal of autonomy. On the other side there are the modus vivendi liberals, concerned above all to secure peaceful co-existence even at the expense of a more substantive conception of justice which includes, for example, egalitarian distributive principles. Political liberals, of whom John Rawls is the best known, attempt to off er a more substantive conception, but without appealing to controversial perfectionist foundations. Th ey do this by building a ‘political concep- tion’ of justice which is ‘freestanding’—independent of any particular moral out- look—and yet the focus of an ‘overlapping consensus’, wherein adherents of the various reasonable but opposed moral outlooks present in a pluralistic society fi nd resources within their own views to uphold the political conception. Dostert’s purpose in Beyond Political Liberalism is

Journal

International Journal of Public TheologyBrill

Published: Jan 1, 2009

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