Philosophical tensions in the liberal tradition, constraints on the good life

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Bradley, Stephanie
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Liberal thought is embroiled in an endless philosophical debate. This debate is precipitated by inherent tensions in liberalism that appears to be irreconcilable with its end of individual freedom. The two main contenders in the debate are the "classic" and "progressive" liberals. The point of philosophical tension between the two groups is in regards to the proper parameters of government. The "classic" liberals argue that the government in a liberal state must be limited, while the "progressive" liberals assert the need for government intervention in the economy as a means of creating an even playing field for all individuals. The underpinnings of the debate are present in the initial liberal discourse and writing and have grown in scope in the twentieth century, culminating in a wealth of literature and the birth of liberal criticism. Liberal critics have had a significant impact on the interpretation and accept nce of liberalism as a useful political theory. They argue that liberalism is unable to meet its end of individual freedom, in either its "classic" or "progressive" forms. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)