Liberalism and Individually Scripted Ideas of the Good: Meeting the Challenge of Dependent Agency
Social Theory and Practice, Vol. 33, No. 2, pp. 311-334, 2007
24 Pages Posted: 4 Dec 2009
Date Written: December 2, 2009
A core commitment of much liberal theory is the idea of individuals as the judges of their good. Models of agents as self-originating sources of their good, however, falter at the challenge of dependent agents who cannot on their own formulate their accounts of their good. The result has been that such agents have been assigned dependent moral status for purposes such as the selection of principles of justice. This paper diagnoses a deep confusion in this account of agents as judges of their good: individually-tailored, subjectively-anchored conceptions of individual good need not be arrived at independently. It then develops and defends a practice for dependent agents to work with surrogates to develop individually scripted accounts of their good.
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