Toward an Aristotelian liberalism
My dissertation develops and defends a contemporary Aristotelian form of political liberalism. I articulate an Aristotelian interpretation of individual autonomy as excellence in deliberating about ends, and develop a decision-theoretic model for representing this type of deliberation. I then provide a precise characterization of individual freedom, building on Amartya Sen’s neo-Aristotelian theory of freedom as capability. I argue that we should understand individual liberty, the guiding value of political liberalism, as a compound of autonomy and freedom as I have articulated these notions. I then argue that liberty in this sense is the proper focus of a liberal theory of distributive justice. I provide a teleological justification of the state’s authority to pursue a liberty-based program of distributive justice, and argue for a liberty-based interpretation of the harm principle as the appropriate limitation on state action.