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date: 28 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The central question animating liberal thought is: How can people live together as free and equal? This question is being reinvigorated by the emergence of what is called neoclassical liberalism. On the neoclassical liberal view, part of the justification for a society's basic structure is that it produces conditions whereby citizens have substantive liberty and can thus confront each other as free and equal. Neoclassical liberals combine a robust commitment to social justice with a commitment to a more extensive set of basic liberties than that advocated by high liberals. Neoclassical liberalism thus stakes out a claim to be the morally ambitious form of liberalism. This article attempts to locate the distinct conceptual space being carved out by neoclassical liberals. It first distinguishes classical liberalism (and libertarianism) from high liberalism, and then explains how neoclassical liberalism emerges in distinction from these other views.

Keywords: neoclassical liberalism, liberal thought, social justice, free and equal, high liberals

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