Dworkin's Perfectionism

21 Pages Posted: 1 Nov 2015

See all articles by James E. Fleming

James E. Fleming

Boston University - School of Law

Linda C. McClain

Boston University - School of Law

Date Written: October 29, 2015

Abstract

In this essay, we shall interpret Dworkin's constitutional theory in light of three varieties of perfectionism: (1) the idea that government should undertake a formative project of inculcating civic virtues and encouraging responsibility in the exercise of rights; (2) the idea that we should interpret the American Constitution so as to make it the best it can be; and (3) the idea that we should defend a Constitution-perfecting theory that would secure not only procedural liberties essential for democratic self-government but also substantive liberties essential for personal self-government. We shall identify three gaps left by Dworkin's work and sketch how we have sought to fill those gaps in the spirit of his work through developing a mild form of constitutional perfectionism.

Keywords: Ronald Dworkin, moral reading of the American Constiution, Constitutional perfectionism, Interpretive perfectionism, Constitution-perfecting theory, Comprehensive liberalism, Governmental moralizng

JEL Classification: K19, K39

Suggested Citation

Fleming, James E. and McClain, Linda C., Dworkin's Perfectionism (October 29, 2015). Boston Univ. School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 15-45. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2683454 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2683454

James E. Fleming (Contact Author)

Boston University - School of Law ( email )

765 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
United States
617-353-2942 (Phone)
617-353-3077 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.bu.edu/law/faculty/profiles/bios/full-time/fleming_j.html

Linda C. McClain

Boston University - School of Law ( email )

765 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
United States

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