EIGHT. Liberalism. IN THIS ESSAY I shall propose a theory about what liberalism is. But I face an immediate problem. My project supposes that there is such a. Leading liberal theorist Ronald Dworkin builds a case against paternalism, Philosophy Institute conference "Problems of Liberalism," and benefited from. Dworkin did not adopt the theoretical standpoint afforded by the great classical and medieval traditions of natural law philosophy. Nevertheless, Dworkin.


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There are ronald dworkin liberalism of the principle of equal concern and respect that may not produce the results that Dworkin might claim. On the other hand, the principle goes further than a mere exhortation that every ronald dworkin liberalism should count. The concept of equal concern and respect is erected by Dworkin as the absolute metric.

It permeates his theory of resources, forms the basis of his rights theory and is the substance of his jurisprudence. It emerges because of his adoption of liberal philosophy and because he sees equality as "the nerve of liberalism" [37] Once the concept is erected as an absolute, its application is on the basis of the relative.

So that in an imprecise manner of speaking the State will protect my right to vocally or verbally express myself but only in so far as that expression has that concern and respect, that others might equally expect for themselves.

Ronald's Dworkin liberalism and its relationshop to his Jurisprudence

Note that the expression is not just equal reciprocity "like an eye for an eye". It is reciprocity on an equality basis of concern and respect. But it is still a relative basis, my interest balanced off relative to the remainder of the community. Because of this relativity, the question arises whether the concept does the work in the political domain that Dworkin claims for it.

It was indicated earlier in this essay [38] that rights emerged when external preferences ronald dworkin liberalism put aside and personal preferences of the majority united to resolve on a right. The issue was raised at that stage whether, and how, personal preferences were distinguished, from external preferences and further when personal preferences were distinguished how much of those preferences were attributable to equal concern ronald dworkin liberalism respect.

"Liberal Community" by Ronald Dworkin

It was indicated that those preferences might find their source in a variety of cultural, religious, emotional psychological or humanitarian matters to name just a few. There is too, the question of the construction of a suitable structure for the determination of what constitutes a personal and external preference in reality.

Dworkin criticises advocates of a theory ronald dworkin liberalism equality of welfare because he says they cannot construct a satisfactory theoretical ronald dworkin liberalism of satisfactory distribution [39].

Yet, he does not produce a satisfactory practical structure where external and personal preferences can be determined and take effect. Dworkin himself says that no practical test for necessary preferences will be able to discriminate the personal and external elements in any individual overall preference.


It is upon rights that the actions of citizens in any society must be ultimately justified. A theory of rights that does ronald dworkin liberalism work in the real world has no credibility just as a theory of jurisprudence that did not work in the real world would lack credibility.

A rights theory that will not sustain rights in practice is hardly of benefit. But there is a further and perhaps more important matter: Even if the personal preferences might be sourced to equal concern and respect so that some right might be crystallised, the ronald dworkin liberalism of the right would rest in the majority endorsing it, not in equal concern and respect as such.


Having endorsed the right it might become part of some overall scheme such as a Bill of Rights to place it ronald dworkin liberalism a more secure position. However, that is just the beginning. The degree of maintenance of the right will depend on the way "the tune" of that right is played ronald dworkin liberalism the political structure.

Equal concern and respect, whilst it may have a role in the manner that right is orchestrated, may not have a decisive role. Culture for example, may have a more decisive role. Culture until ronald dworkin liberalism played a role so far as ronald dworkin liberalism preference was concerned for homosexuals.

It was not that many years ago that homosexuality was a criminal offence. There was no talk then of equal concern and respect so far as homosexuals were concerned. Yet the concept of equal concern and respect would have been well received as a determinant of rights at that time.