chapter  VIII
LIBERALISM AND THE AUTONOMY OF MORALITY
Pages 70

Liberal moral and political theory has turned towards Kant for philosophical foundations for a liberalism in which notions of justice, fairness and individual rights play a central role. This is part of a major change in moral, political and legal philosophy which H.L.A.Hart has described as a ‘transition from a once widely accepted old faith that some form of utilitarianism, if only we could discover the right form, must capture the essence of political morality’, to a ‘doctrine of basic human rights, protecting specific basic liberties and interests of individuals, if only we could find some sufficiently firm foundations for such rights’.1 But this shift has assumed the very autonomy of morality and the fragmented conception of the person upon which Kant’s moral theory is built. It is a liberalism that has been built upon shaky foundations because it has ignored the tensions and contradictions in Kant’s less formalistic later writings.