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Shared Values, Social Unity, and Liberty

Public Affairs Quarterly, Vol. 19, No. 1, pp. 25-49, 2005

Posted: 14 Dec 2007  

Margaret P. Gilbert

University of California, Irvine


May social unity - the unity of a society or social group - be a matter of sharing values? Political philosophers disagree on this topic. Kymlicka answers: No. Devlin and Rawls answer: Yes. It is argued that given one common 'summative' account of sharing values a negative answer is correct. A positive answer is correct, however, given the plural subject account of sharing values. Given this account, those who share values are unified in a substantial way by their participation in a joint commitment. Some consequences of such sharing of values for the liberty of the people involved are noted.

Keywords: Commitment, Liberty, Political Philosophy, Share, Unity, Value

Suggested Citation

Gilbert, Margaret P., Shared Values, Social Unity, and Liberty. Available at SSRN:

Margaret P. Gilbert (Contact Author)

University of California, Irvine ( email )

Humanities Office Building
Irvine, CA 92697-4555
United States


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