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Does Belief in Ethical Subjectivism Pose a Challenge to Classical Liberalism?

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  • Berggren, Niclas

    ()
    (The Ratio Institute)

Abstract

Classical liberalism stresses the desirability of free markets, limited government and the rule of law. As such, it builds on some moral judgments. According to ethical objectivism, such judgments (in themselves always personal and subjective) can be true or false since objective moral facts exist against which the judgments can be assessed. Ethical subjectivism denies the existence of objective moral facts. This paper asks: Does it matter whether people believe that objective moral facts exist – in general and for a defense of classical liberalism? It is argued that the answer is in the negative. The implication for classical liberal strategy is that attempts to argue that a certain metaethical foundation is needed should be abandoned.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The Ratio Institute in its series Ratio Working Papers with number 27.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: 19 Dec 2003
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Reason Papers, 2004, pages 69-86.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:ratioi:0027

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Postal: The Ratio Institute, P.O. Box 5095, SE-102 42 Stockholm, Sweden
Phone: 08-441 59 00
Fax: 08-441 59 29
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Web page: http://www.ratio.se/
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Keywords: metaethics; liberalism; values;

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Cited by:
  1. Berggren, Niclas, 2008. "Choosing One’s Own Informal Institutions: On Hayek’s Critique of Keynes’s Immoralism," Ratio Working Papers 118, The Ratio Institute.
  2. Niclas Berggren, 2006. "Legal positivism and property rights: a critique of Hayek and Peczenik," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 17(3), pages 217-235, September.

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