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No 27:
Does Belief in Ethical Subjectivism Pose a Challenge to Classical Liberalism?

Niclas Berggren ()

Abstract: Classical liberalism stresses the desirability of free markets, limited government and the rule of law. As such, it builds on some moral judgments. According to ethical objectivism, such judgments (in themselves always personal and subjective) can be true or false since objective moral facts exist against which the judgments can be assessed. Ethical subjectivism denies the existence of objective moral facts. This paper asks: Does it matter whether people believe that objective moral facts exist in general and for a defense of classical liberalism? It is argued that the answer is in the negative. The implication for classical liberal strategy is that attempts to argue that a certain metaethical foundation is needed should be abandoned.

Keywords: metaethics; liberalism; values; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: A13; (follow links to similar papers)

27 pages, December 19, 2003

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This paper is published as:
Berggren, Niclas, (2004), 'Does Belief in Ethical Subjectivism Pose a Challenge to Classical Liberalism?', Reason Papers, Vol. 27, pages 69-86



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