Varieties of Liberalism: Contemporary Challenges
The contemporary world is complex and is characterized by new normative challenges with regards to living conditions and political organization, both within the borders of sovereign states and globally. Such challenges require interdisciplinary analyses of a number of intertwined subjects. Varieties of Liberalism: Contemporary Challenges presents an important contribution to this pressing task. Relying on the cooperation of UiT The Arctic University of Norway research group Pluralism, Democracy and Justice, and the Civic Constellation project from Spain’s National Research Fund, the book is the outgrowth of the conference “Themes in Contemporary Ethics and Political Philosophy”, held in Tromsø in August 2012. An international array of scholars from universities in Brazil, France, Norway and Spain are brought together here, and combine normative reflections, conceptual analysis, case-studies and historical accounts.
Philosophical liberalism provides the dominant perspective in contemporary political and social philosophy, and the majority of the authors take one version or another as their starting point, bringing together various different critical perspectives. Since it is crucial to sort out what an embracing of liberalism means and what a criticism of liberalism is directed at, the introduction of the book situates the chapters in relation to the disparate uses of ‘liberalism’. The sixteen chapters are distributed into three parts, namely, Free Speech and Deliberation, Citizenship and Democracy, and Justice, Borders and International Law. Of interest to a wide, interdisciplinary readership, Varieties of Liberalism responds to questions such as: Do contemporary democracies live up to their own ideals? How do these democracies cope with the issues of free speech, religious diversity, migration, indigenous communities, and the scientific and technological development? How ought civic education to be regulated in pluralist democracies? Who are the rightful owners of common goods? As is evident from this representative list, the book addresses both the intellectual and the practical challenges of contemporary liberalism.
Jan Harald Alnes is Associate Professor at UiT The Arctic University of Norway. His main field of research is philosophical logic and the early history of analytic philosophy, but lately his attention has turned towards political philosophy. Here, he focuses on liberalism, the writings of John Stuart Mill and John Rawls in particular. At present, he is working on liberalism and education, which is reflected in his contribution in this book.
Manuel Toscano is Associate Professor of Moral and Political Philosophy at the University of Malaga, Spain. He has published on liberalism, tolerance and pluralism, paying special attention to normative issues about linguistic diversity and language rights. In recent years, his research has focused on the theory of rights, the philosophical debates about human rights, and the concept of human dignity.
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