Does Ethical Subjectivism Pose a Challenge to Classical Liberalism?

Reason Papers, Vol. 27, pp. 69-86, 2004

19 Pages Posted: 23 Oct 2009

See all articles by Niclas Berggren

Niclas Berggren

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN); Prague University of Economics and Business

Date Written: 2004

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: ethics, metaethics, subjectivism, liberalism, philosophy

JEL Classification: Z00

Suggested Citation

Berggren, Niclas, Does Ethical Subjectivism Pose a Challenge to Classical Liberalism? (2004). Reason Papers, Vol. 27, pp. 69-86, 2004, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1491489

Niclas Berggren (Contact Author)

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) ( email )

Box 55665
Grevgatan 34, 2nd floor
Stockholm, SE-102 15
Sweden

HOME PAGE: http://www.ifn.se/nb

Prague University of Economics and Business ( email )

Czech Republic

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