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The Unromantic Rousseauian: Scanlon on Justice, Value Coherence and Freedom *

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Scanlon differs from many liberals – Isaiah Berlin, for example – in that he rejects deep value pluralism. He thinks that the requirements of social justice actually cohere with the requirements of other political values. But like many other liberals, Scanlon does not think that value coherence has any implications for the kind of freedom that we should care about in assessing social and political institutions. In this paper, I take issue with Scanlon’s view of the relation between value coherence and freedom. Following Rousseau, I argue that value coherence does in fact contribute to our freedom, and that we should structure our basic institutions so as to increase value coherence and thereby enhance our freedom overall.

Affiliations: 1: Assistant Professor, University of Pennsylvania,


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