Open Access Senior Thesis
Philosophy, Politics and Economics
© 2014 Madison R. Williams
Liberalism is a political philosophy that is “committed in the strongest possible way to individual rights, and, almost as a deduction from this, to a rigorously neutral state” (Walzer 99). It takes its “constitutive morality” to be a “theory of equality that requires official neutrality amongst theories of what is valuable in life” (Dworkin 203). For this reason, some theorists say Liberalism and the idea of environmental sustainability are not in conflict with one another. According to Mike Mills, because the commitment to neutrality means there is “no given set of policies associated” with Liberalism, any outcome is plausible (168). However, through this paper, I will show that the frameworks of Liberal political theory are not neutral because they cannot give due consideration to claims for environmental sustainability. Given these procedural incapacities, true neutral consideration would involve a counterintuitive commitment to fully supporting sustainability, further justification for which could come from a reexamination of the underlying Liberal theory of human nature.
Williams, Madison R., "Structural Limits of Liberal Neutrality: Understanding Problems for Sustainabiity" (2014). Scripps Senior Theses. 421.