This book concerns the foundations and implications of a particular form of liberal political theory. Colburn argues that one should see liberalism as a political theory committed to the value of autonomy, understood as consisting in an agent deciding for oneself what is valuable and living life in accordance with that decision. Understanding liberalism this way offers solutions to various problems that beset liberal political theory, on various levels. On the theoretical level, Colburn claims that this position is the only defensible theory of liberalism in current circulation, arguing that other more dominant theories are either self-contradictory or unattractive on closer inspection. And on the practical level, Colburn draws out the substantive commitments of this position in educational, economic, and social policy. Hence, the study provides a blueprint for a radical liberal political agenda which will be of interest to philosophers and to politicians alike.

chapter |3 pages

Introduction: What is Liberalism?

chapter 1|17 pages

Three Conceptions of Autonomy

chapter 2|22 pages

A Theory of Autonomy

chapter 3|26 pages

Autonomy and Anti-Perfectionism

chapter 4|35 pages

Autonomy-Minded Liberalism

chapter 5|25 pages

Multicultural Liberalism