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By David Estlund

Democracy brings jointly essentially the most subtle pondering on democratic thought in a single concise quantity. Written through specialists within the box, those modern readings are distinctively philosophical, yet will attract scholars in historic, empirical, criminal, or coverage- orientated disciplines which care for democratic idea.

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The meaning of this conflict can be interpreted in two ways, one philosophical, the other more cultural and historical (which shows that the real difficulty in liberal thought is not where the communitarians see it, for example, in the lack of historical content, but in the hidden illiberal use of this history). — level, this conflict might be understood, in Platonic terms, as the conflict between appearances and sense, and it does not come as a surprise that, in the—compulsory—teaching of philosophy in school, the central feature is always the Pla- 35 36 THE MEANING OF LIBERALISM tonic Myth of the Cave and of the conversion of the human soul to truth.

The great liberal debate, started during the Cold War but not directly related to it, about the minimal state or about the extent of the responsibility of a liberal democratic society for the welfare of its members (the communitarian challenge) has on the whole taken place without Eastern participation. It is not easy to arouse the interest of the liberals in the former communist region in this debate because, among other things, the Eastern liberal camp can no more be viewed as a homogenous body than its Western counterpart.

1971. A Theory of Justice. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. 1993. Political Liberalism. New York: Columbia University Press. Ricoeur, Paul. 1992. Oneself as Another. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Sandel, Michael. 1982. Liberalism and the Limits of Justice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Weber, Max. 1968. The Theory of Social and Economic Organization. New York: The Free Press. Notes 1 J. 4 (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1993), p. 75. 2 See Blandine Kriegel, L'identite' francaise (Paris: Editions Tierce, 1985), p.

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