Author Archives: Robert Taylor

New Book — Exit Left: Markets and Mobility in Republican Thought

Robert S. Taylor, Exit Left: Markets and Mobility in Republican Thought (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017), xiv + 130 pp.

https://global.oup.com/academic/product/exit-left-9780198798736

How can citizens best protect themselves from the arbitrary power of abusive spouses, tyrannical bosses, and corrupt politicians? Taylor’s new book, Exit Left, makes the case that in each of these three spheres the answer is the same: exit. By promoting open and competitive markets and providing the information and financial resources necessary to enable exit, we can empower people’s voices and offer them an escape from abuse and exploitation. This will advance a conception of freedom, viz. freedom as non-domination (FND), that is central to contemporary republican thought. Neorepublicans have typically promoted FND through constitutional means (separation of powers, judicial review, the rule of law, and federalism) and participatory ones (democratic elections and oversight), but Exit Left focuses on economic means, ones that have been neglected by contemporary republicans but were commonly invoked in the older, commercial-republican tradition of Alexander Hamilton, Immanuel Kant, and Adam Smith. This book’s revival and revision of commercial republicanism will enlarge republican practice by encouraging greater use of market mechanisms, even as it hews closely to existing republican theory.

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New Book — Reconstructing Rawls: The Kantian Foundations of Justice as Fairness

Reconstructing RawlsHi folks,

Just wanted to make a shameless plug for my new book, which may be of interest to some of you. Here’s a link to the book’s PSUP website (which has further links to Amazon, etc.) and a synopsis.

With the publication of A Theory of Justice in 1971, John Rawls not only rejuvenated contemporary political philosophy but also defended a Kantian form of Enlightenment liberalism called “justice as fairness.”  Enlightenment liberalism stresses the development and exercise of our capacity for autonomy, while Reformation liberalism emphasizes diversity and the toleration that encourages it. These two strands of liberalism are often mutually supporting, but they conflict in a surprising number of cases, whether over the accommodation of group difference, the design of civic education, or the promotion of liberal values internationally.  During the 1980’s, however, Rawls began to jettison key Kantian characteristics of his theory, a process culminating in the 1993 release of Political Liberalism and completing the transformation of justice as fairness into a Reformation liberalism.

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